Hew Locke in Miami Fringe: “Reversal of Fortune”


Artist Hew Locke has announced his new commission installation for Miami Fringe, which takes place from September 8, 2017, to January 31, 2018. Locke’s “Reversal of Fortune” will be installed in an empty jewelry store in the historic Alfred I. duPont Building (located at 169 East Flagler Street) in Miami, Florida.

According to the artist, part of the installation is designed to be viewable from SE 2nd Ave, 24 hours a day during all of the Miami Fringe. At certain times “Reversal of Fortune” will be activated, and the public will be able to go inside, see the rest of the installation and collect a souvenir. These times include 6:30-9:00pm on Saturday, September 9, for the Opening Reception (access via the main duPont Building entrance).

“Reversal of Fortune” will also be activated during the DWNTWN Art Days (access off the central axis of the building):
Friday, September 8, 12:00 noon-4:00pm and 8:00-10:00pm
Saturday, September 9, 10:30am-5:00pm
Sunday, September 10, 10:30am-5:00pm

There will also be an activation period during Art Basel Miami (to be announced).

Description: Since the financial crash of 2008 Hew Locke has been buying original antique share certificates from old companies, and painting directly on them. In ‘Reversal of Fortune,’ 15 have been selected and printed up to create an installation on the facade, and inside the vault, of an empty shop. He has chosen these defunct shares sometimes for their interesting history and sometimes for their beauty. He highlights historical and economic cycles. Commerce has its’ ups and downs, yet it is human nature to be optimistic, to continue to trade.

New-born companies garland their shares with confident typography and classical motifs implying stability and worth. Figures representative of the local population in the areas in which the companies operated are sometimes seen breaking-through. These are silent witnesses, those who paid the most to create the wealth without receiving the benefit.

Locke’s series of shares is also a wry acknowledgement of the commodity value of contemporary art.

[Image above: Hew Locke’s “The Empressa Ferro Carril de Guantanamo Company,” 2009, acrylic ink painted on antique certificate, 28.2 x 26cms. The artist explains: “This company was part of the sugar rail network set up by Spanish colonisers. By 1898 Spain had been defeated in The Spanish War of Independence, and by 1903 America had been granted a perpetual lease over Guantanamo Bay. The figure, which is half-modern soldier and half-devil from Michelangelo’s ‘Last Judgement,’ is paired up with a bronze sculpture of a mythical beast found in the Helmand River, Afghanistan, and brought to the British Museum many years ago.]

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