2020 FLORIDA BIENNIAL:
NOW is the time / The time is NOW
Fri., Nov. 6, 2020 – Sun., Feb. 21, 2021
Associate Curator for Collections and Exhibitions
at the Orlando Museum of Art
NOW is the time / the time is NOW:
The 2020 Florida Biennial at Art and Culture Center/ Hollywood.
2020 is a year full of signs. Chock-full of unprecedented moments in history, somehow this year has been set apart, and certainly for good reason. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, in the midst of a civil rights crisis and a global pandemic, we have seen people rise and make their voices heard in many different ways. With modes of expression and information rushing at us from all directions it can be hard to step back and reflect on the myriads of signs, voices, narratives, and make sense of it all. The 2020 Florida Biennial exhibition provides a space for contemplation, packed with meaningful information and reflections about the signs of our times. Through a plethora of mediums – from site-responsive installations, video, painting, sculpture, photography, to conceptual art – the 32 artists in the exhibition address themes that are often directly, or sometimes more loosely connected to this unusual year and current events, as well as general themes that define the recent developments and significant changes of our era.
Through reflections mostly inspired by their lived experience many artists are focusing on racial identity and interpretations of Blackness, Queer identity, masculinity and femininity, and interpersonal relationships. Informed by heritage and personal memories, and delivered in poignant and powerful narratives, the works explore social issues, culture, the history of the Black community, the family, and gender identity. Several artists also address power dynamics, by looking at the tension, struggle and fight for domination and control, social justice advocacy and the powers at play.
Biennial Select artist Noelle Mason focuses on the carceral landscape. Her site-specific installation work titled “Who are you that draws your veil across the stars?” – a line taken from Langston Hughes’s poem “Let America be America Again” – has at its aim to offer to the gaze a contemplative “dark space” as a way to consider the concepts of both resistance and perseverance in the face of criminal institutional brutality. The accompanying sound work is a collage of recordings that weave together a new vision of an “America with a shared history of struggle for those honorable ideals which have yet to be fulfilled.”
Biennial Select artist Paul Shortt offers a display of seemingly meaningless signs that are yet emblematic of the post-information age. They appear to mimic – not without humor – the language of street signs, often dealing with time, immediacy and danger. Despite their deceivingly bright, cheerful and candy-colored appearance, they are nevertheless signs of a warning whose function is to alert the viewer of an impending emergency. Through the use of fragments, truncated phrases, and the elusive syntactic-semantic nature of the information given, the only message seems to be essentially the actual sign itself, devoid of further meaning. Ferdinand de Saussure in his development of semiotics could well have described Paul Shortt’s “Time and Emergency Signs” as a series of “signifiers” without a “signified,” but far from being empty of meaning, their emergency and overall authority seem to suddenly become even more poignant and meaningful in so far as they invite the viewer to derive a multiplicity of messages, readings and narratives.
Another major theme in the exhibition is environmental awareness. Many artists explore our connection to the natural world, in all its complexity and its fleetingness. Several works celebrate nature’s awe-inspiring presence in Romantic representations of the landscape, by representing the wilderness of a bygone area, and conveying a call to protect and worship a vulnerable nature. Many works also allude to our society’s deep impact on the environment, its changing “nature” and its fragility; actively recording the experience and the signs of a world in decline in dystopic landscapes. Some artists also explore the landscape as a sense of place and belonging, and its role in the construction of identity in relation to the process of migration, in poetic iterations that evoke the nostalgia of leaving beloved places behind.
Many other themes are approached, such as the relationship between the discarded object and the internet; addressing the production and consumption of objects in a post-consumerist society; asemic (i.e. “wordless”) writing as spiritual healing – visual haikus as vignettes of uncertainty, raising doubts about the media and its current use of propaganda – all quenching our thirst for meaning and sense-making in 2020.
In the aftermath of a crazy year, in a bizarre world in which still some dare to dream, and some are shining even brighter despite their brokenness, the tenth Florida Biennial is a testimony to art’s transformative and healing power. NOW is the Time to chart these unprecedented moments, then, these signs of our time, indeed.
Text by Coralie Claeysen-Gleyzon, Associate Curator for Collections and Exhibitions at the Orlando Museum of Art.
Art and Culture Center/Hollywood Announces
2020 Florida Biennial Artists
Paul Shortt and Noelle Mason awarded Artist Select solo exhibitions during Biennial
The Center is pleased to announce that 32 artists have been selected to exhibit in the upcoming 2020 Florida Biennial. This tenth edition of the Center’s Biennial was juried by Coralie Claeysen-Gleyzon, Associate Curator for Collections and Exhibitions at the Orlando Museum of Art. The 2020 Florida Biennial will open on November 6 and be exhibited along with the two Artist Select shows through February 21, 2021.
The Center received submissions from 239 artists based in 67 Florida cities, encompassing 22 counties throughout the state. Juror/guest curator Claeysen-Gleyzon reviewed nearly 680 artworks for the Biennial exhibition in the Main Gallery, and 123 proposals for the site-specific Artist Select solo exhibitions.
Paul Shortt (Gainesville) and Noelle Mason (Tampa) were awarded Artist Select exhibitions in the Middle and Interactive galleries. Proposals for the Biennial were accepted from individuals who live, work, study or maintain a studio in Florida.
The following artists have been selected for the 2020 Florida Biennial:
ABOUT THE JUROR/GUEST CURATOR
Born in France, Coralie Claeysen-Gleyzon was raised in the heart of the Sahara Desert in Niger, Africa, which has had a deep influence on her understanding of art, culture, color, and light. She has worked in museums and art galleries across the globe, including four years for Folly Gallery in the Lake District, UK; three years as a Creative Project Manager and Exhibitions Officer for the contemporary urban art museum URBIS in Manchester, UK; three years in the Middle East, as Gallery Director of The Third Line Gallery in Doha, Qatar, and as an Independent Art Consultant in Beirut, Lebanon. In Orlando, she worked as Associate Curator for Snap! Orlando from 2011-2013; and as Gallery Director of Jai Gallery from 2013-2017. Coralie joined the Orlando Museum of Art (OMA) in January 2018, where she has co-curated the Florida Prize in
Contemporary Art in 2018 and 2019, and curated The Figurative Continuum and Edward Steichen: In Exaltation of Flowers. She is the former Arts & Culture Editor for the luxury fashion and culture magazine: LAPALME. She has been an active member of the Orange County Public Arts Review Board since September 2015, helping develop public art commissions in and around Orlando. Coralie is also a member of the OMA’s Acquisition Trust, a collecting circle whose mission is to grow the museum’s permanent collection with new acquisitions in contemporary art.
Coralie Claeysen-Gleyzon received her MA in Visual Culture in 2003 and BA with Honors in Culture, Media and Communication (2001) both from Lancaster University, UK. She also holds a DEUG (Diplôme d’Etudes Universitaires Générales, a French BA-equivalent) in Language Sciences and Cultural Mediation (1999) from Université Paul Valéry, Aix-en-Provence, France.
Credit for the photo of Coralie Claeysen-Gleyzon is © Lechon Kirb. Credit for the artwork in the background is Nate Young, Untitled (detail), 2016, Graphite on paper, oak and walnut, Collection of Dr. Robert B. Feldman.
Above Exhibition views from the 2018 Florida Biennial, Art and Culture Center/Hollywood, Photo credit: Leo Sarmiento, 2018
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The Art and Culture Center/Hollywood is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supported in part by its members, admissions, private entities, the City of Hollywood; the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council; the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture; the David and Francie Horvitz Family Foundation; and the Josephine S. Leiser Foundation. We welcome donations from all members of the community who wish to support our work.