Art of a scribe and the building of a community

Arts / Article

In the front yard of a house sprawled along a waterway in Miami Beach, artist Michael Genovese was talking about his art, and encouraging those in attendance to leave their mark, literally, on one of his pieces. Genovese covers his works with inscriptions and his own hieroglyphics, and often invites the public to add their own engravings to a favorite material, nickel-plated aluminum plates. The results are tableaux, snap-shots and documents from today’s world; they are also incredibly distinctive and handsome pieces of art.

Which is why a work of his was the first purchase of the MAM Young Collectors Council last September, and why he was talking about it with the members on this recent evening. This new group has been formed by the museum to involve the community in the building of its contemporary collection. It works like this: Each young collectors’ council vote share requires an entry fee of $500, to be used for the purpose of purchasing art by South Florida-based artists for the MAM collection. The group functions under the direction of a MAM curator — in this case Rene Morales — and members have direct participation in the selection of proposed acquisitions. Throughout the year, participants receive firsthand access to artists, curators and art dealers through special events, such as this one.

So members listened to Genovese, who shows with the O WOW gallery, and soaked up what his compositions are about. There is an urban flavor to the Chicago-born artist’s work — he and others are tagging these plates after all — but there is also an elegance, thanks in part to the simple silver, black and white color schemes. Outside of his gallery, Genovese has popped up here and there in group shows, and had one of the best pieces in last summer’s local “New Work” MAM show. Excellent choice for the first acquisition of this council. And keep your eye out for this scribe.

For more info on the Young Collectors Council, contact Brooke Minto at [email protected] or 305.375.2617.