Temporary Contemporary

Friends of the Bass Museum, Inc. d/b/a Bass Museum of Art

Funding Received: 2012
Miami Beach, FL
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
October 1, 2013

On one side of the Bass Museum of Art, we’ve installed a large photographic banner as part of our tc: temporary contemporary program. The banner is a work by artist Ken Gonzalez-Day, and it portrays two portrait busts looking at each other in profile. The work comes from a series by the artist, who performed research at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles by photographing every portrait bust in the J. Paul Getty Museum and Getty Villa in Malibu. One of his main focuses was to examine how race becomes emphasized or diminished in marble portrait busts.

While this body of his work is certainly fascinating, I think it’s also really interesting in the way his photograph is presented. Instead of existing as a typical framed print inside the museum, the photograph has been installed as a massive banner on the outside of the museum. Here, the work takes the form of a billboard, one that is bordered by the sky and trees on either side. This is not the first time artists have used billboards as media for their own work: Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s notable "Untitled" (1991) was a photograph of a recently slept-in bed that was installed as a billboard in New York City. While this is certainly not the first use of a billboard as medium, the fact that Gonzalez-Day’s work is installed outside—in public space—has the opportunity to transform the community that inhabits or travels through this neighborhood. Being able to shape or activate public space is one of the main explorations of our tc: temporary contemporary project.