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Designer Katie Stout is showcasing her ironic takes on furniture at Nina Johnson gallery this December.

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Miami's Art World Insiders

By Riki Altman-Yee & Luis R. Rigual

Photo by Sofia Colvin

11.27.17

Art Week brings out the best of Miami’s creative spirit, which likes to reveal itself in unexpected ways. From forward-thinking artists to a newcomer you need to know, here’s a curated sampling of those seven days and the culture season ahead.

MADE IN AMERICA
Furniture less ordinary is Katie Stout’s calling card.

Stuffed organza chairs... lamps resembling awkwardly positioned ladies... rugs with evil eyes—Katie Stout’s creations more than just poke fun at domesticity. “Furniture has so many preconceptions that need to be broken,” she says. “Unlike a painting, I like that furniture invites a person to touch and use it and make their own marks in it. Usable objects that invite people to touch them are an avenue of subconscious change.” America first encountered this RISD grad’s talent when, as a 25-year-old Brooklynite, she won HGTV’s Ellen’s Design Challenge in 2015. Her $100,000 winnings helped forge a career now being celebrated at Stout’s first solo show, Narcissus, for Nina Johnson (the designer’s first Art Week appearance). Gallery-goers can expect to encounter a commentary on female duality illustrated with large ceramic lamps, carved wooden stools and a table, embroidered wall hangings, chairs, a mirror, wall divider and a chandelier, all made of wood, ceramic, muslin, silk, metal or paper pulp. Let the decor irony begin. Dec. 4-Jan. 6, Nina Johnson gallery, 6315 NW Second Ave., Miami, 305.571.2288

California transplant Erik Skoldberg with one of the colorful surfboards that make up his vast artistic oeuvre

NEWCOMER APPEAL
Erik Skoldberg brings West Coast surf culture to Miami’s art scene.

South Florida is not a top surfing destination in anyone’s book, yet Californian Erik Skoldberg recently decided this is where he needed to be. Raised by a mother who taught art for 30 years and an “action sports guy” father, Skoldberg infuses both passions into a profession that reflects his lifestyle. Unlike some fellow artists, Skoldberg says he embraces commissions, converting requests into inspiring new directions. His Icon collection, for example, started when a celebrity client insisted on “having an Elvis.” Soon an Audrey, a Jimi and a Brigitte emerged, along with a Warhol, Basquiat and Picasso. While mesmerizing 10- to 15-layer acrylics on canvas in shades inspired by nature are his signature, Skoldberg also paints motorcycles and surfboards, some of which will be on display at his Wynwood Arcade pop-up this month, his second Art Week contribution. If anyone sees a good-looking guy wandering around town with a surfboard, trust it’s probably the artist at work—not some Benny looking for the line-up. Dec. 6-10, 50 NW 24th St., Miami, 858.405.5587 

Photo by Jose Coli

Derrick Adams brings his point of view to Primary Projects.

TALKING TACTICS 

Derrick Adams is ready to start a conversation about cultural identity, society and politics at Primary Projects.

Both an exhibition and retrospective, Derrick Adams’ Black White and Brown is destined to cause stimulating—and perhaps polarizing—conversations. “People get various layers of information based on their own level of understanding or interest,” he explains. “But what I’m always interested in is the viewer’s relationship to race as a normal complexity of human structure and human anatomy.” Primary Projects made an extra special effort to envelop the exhibition (a collection of items from a puppet to photo collages from Adams’ past performances and shows) in an entirely immersive black-and-white Op Art world to create a dialogue on race, cultural identity and politics. Look for the multidisciplinary New York-based artist and YoungArts master teacher to be around and open for a chat, but trust that seeking his opinion is an exercise in futility. “At openings I’m engaging with gallery-goers, but I try not to direct the viewers,” he explains. “A lot of my work deals with certain levels of humor... and some things are not so funny.” Dec. 5-Jan. 27, 15 NE 39th St., Miami, 954.296.1675

Photo by Ray Llanos/courtesy of Primary Projects