“Art Basel is to the art world what Fashion Week is to the fashion world,” says Melissa Starke, advisor for the FIT Fine Arts club Urban Studio. This year Urban Studio was selected to participate in Art Basel Miami Beach, a contemporary art exhibition held every December since 2002. Art Basel is referred to as the “Olympics of the art world.”
Urban Studio created and installed a 16-foot sculpture, partially submerged in a pool of water, for ArtNow/Red Dot Art Fair, an exhibition site at Art Basel.
The installation is ingeniously held by sand bags attached to the bottom of the sculpture and strung by cable at the top to adjacent roof tops. Its concept comes from “Schopenhauer’s Porcupine,” a book by Deborah Anna Luepnitz, which explores the “push-pull of intimacy and its dilemmas,” says Starke. The porcupine, with its “protective spikes,” is the metaphor for the contradictions of human intimacy.
Students Brittany Gray and Eric Gottshall, along with sculpture technician Pansum Cheng, lift the sculpture into the water.
“It’s an extraordinary experience for the students to have this ‘hands-on’ opportunity to work on an endeavor of such enormous prestige. It helps them see the connection between their studio practice and what actually happens in the art world,” says Starke.
Urban studio participant Eric Gottshall got the connection. “It proved to be the moment where our education met the real world playing field,” said Gottshall. “I’ve never been part of a collective where the universal strive for creating something new and different was more of the essence. Because of it, this experience will always stand out in my life.”
photos provided by Melissa Starke