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Shop the Show: Galerie Lelong’s Miami Pop-Up Shows a Shifting Set of Global Artists


Every month, hundreds of galleries showcase new exhibitions on the Midnight Publishing Group Gallery Network—and every week, we shine a spotlight on the exhibitions we think you should see. Check out what we have in store, and inquire more with one simple click.

What You Need to Know: Galerie Lelong, a longtime Art Basel Miami Beach exhibitor, has opened a winter outpost in the Miami Design District through January 2022. There, the gallery is presenting “Common Borders,” a rotating group exhibition of gallery artists including Etel Adnan, Petah Coyne, Leonardo Drew, Ficre Ghebreyesus, Alfredo Jaar, Samuel Levi Jones, Ana Mendieta, Hélio Oiticica, Jaume Plensa, Zilia Sánchez, Tariku Shiferaw, Nancy Spero, Michelle Stuart, Antoni Tápies, and Juan Uslé.

Why We Like It: “Common Borders” brings together historical and contemporary works that expand upon the gallery’s longstanding commitment to artists from Latin America and the Global South. The works in the exhibition are meant to reflect on the shared experiences between individuals through ancestry, language, cultural traditions, and spiritual practices. Taking an almost ecumenical approach to identity, the exhibition attempts to transcend the concept of physical borders that so often inform our understanding of identity. The Lelong gallery outpost has some good neighbors, too: Goodman Gallery and Mitchell-Innes and Nash also have locations in Paradise Plaza, and all three galleries are collaborating on public programming. 

What the Gallery Says: “Within the U.S., Miami has been and continues to grow as a diverse community, coalescing stories and traditions from around the world. The selection of works by the international and multi-generational artists in the program invites the Miami community to reflect and discuss themes of identity and borders that continue to speak to our social histories,” wrote Mary Sabbatino, vice president of Galerie Lelong.

Browse works from the exhibition below.

 

Ana Mendieta
Untitled (Facial Hair Transplants) (1972–79)
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Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Facial Hair Transplants) (1972–1979). Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

Ana Mendieta, Untitled (Facial Hair Transplants) (1972–1979). Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Leonardo Drew
Number 312 (2021)
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Leonardo Drew, Number 312 (2021). Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

Leonardo Drew, Number 312 (2021). Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Alfredo Jaar
A Logo for America (1987-2014)
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Alfredo Jaar, A Logo for America (1987-2014) (2016). Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

Alfredo Jaar, A Logo for America (1987-2014) (2016). Courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

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Here’s the Real-Life Story Behind ‘Reefa,’ a New HBO Max Film About the Life and Death of a Miami Street Artist


This weekend, a new biopic of sorts will arrive on HBO Max, telling the story of Israel Hernandez-Llach, a real-life Miami street artist who was killed by police in August 2013.

Hernandez-Llach, 18 at the time, was spray-painting an abandoned McDonald’s when a local police unit approached. The artist fled; the officers chased and ultimately stopped the high-schooler with a taser. Hernandez-Llach later died in their custody. 

After dropping their target, the officers exchanged high-fives, according to the young artist’s friends who witnessed the incident. 

Dramatized versions of those moments form the climax of Reefa, the film written and directed by Miami-based filmmaker Jessica Kavana Dornbusch and named after Hernandez-Llach’s graffiti name.  

The rest of the movie, meanwhile, lays out the stakes for the titular subject in the summer leading up to that fateful night, often with a heavy dose of creative license.

Hernandez-Llach is depicted as a voraciously creative, constantly skateboarding, and skirting choleric cops through neon-lit streets, or butting heads with his father, a Colombian immigrant anxiously awaiting the arrival of green cards for his family. He wants to move to New York for art school.

The film opens with the street artist plotting his “magnum opus”: a statement mural on a derelict Miami hotel (a stand-in for the McDonald’s) that will introduce him to the city’s art world.

“I wanted to focus on Israel’s life in the last couple of weeks before he passed away,” Dornbusch told CBSMiami in April. “He had just gotten an art scholarship. He was about to go to New York. He had found love for the first time. He was spending time painting and time with his family and friends, and then the tragic ending.”

Originally meant for the 2020 Miami Film Festival (which was canceled because of the pandemic), Reefa debuted this spring on video-on-demand and in a few theaters. The movie will likely command its biggest audience yet when it hits HBO this weekend.

“Sadly, we could not plan a more timely moment in history to release this film,” Dornbusch said. “I think it will resonate. It puts a name and a face to the statistics.” 

Dornbusch worked on Reefa for more than six years, she explained in a recent blog post. Getting the project off the ground was a grind involved multiple fundraising efforts and a run-in with the Miami Beach police that resulted in the production temporarily being shut down. 

Tyler Dean Flores, the Harlem-born, Puerto Rican actor who plays Hernandez-Llach in the film, told CBS that he hopes “it raises a ton of awareness on his case and plenty of other cases that involve police brutality.” 

“I also hope that people feel very inspired by Israel’s family’s creativity and pursuit of whatever their passions are,” Flores added. “No matter what situations you’re in, if you want to create, create. If you want to express yourself, express yourself.”

A still from "Reefa" (2020). Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment.

A still from Reefa (2020). Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment.

Following their son’s death, Hernandez-Llach’s parents held a press conference in which they called for an independent investigation. Roughly two years later, in 2015, a Miami-Dade attorney announced that no criminal charges would be filed against the officers involved in the incident, saying that medical examiners had determined the death to be accidental.

In 2017, the City of Miami Beach reportedly paid $100,000 to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the victim’s family. They admitted no wrongdoing. 

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Sotheby’s Is Suing a Miami Couple for Consigning Millions of Dollars Worth of Allegedly Fake Diego Giacometti Works


Sotheby’s is suing two Florida consignors and an auction house they own for nearly $7 million after several pieces of furniture and decorative art purported to be by Diego Giacometti allegedly turned out to be fake.

The seven works were sold in separate sales over the course of 2016 and 2017. A handwriting expert determined that the provenance documents the consignors submitted with the lots were forged, according to the lawsuit.

Having canceled the sales and refunded the money to the respective buyers, Sotheby’s now wants the consignors—Frederic Thut, his wife Bettina Von Marnitz Thut, and their business, Fine Art Auctions of Miami (FAAM) —to return their proceeds as well.

The Thuts could not be immediately reached for comment and emails to the Miami auction house did not receive a reply.

As part of a “brazen fraudulent scheme,” according to Sotheby’s, Frederic Thut claimed to have purchased a large trove of works, supposedly by Diego Giacometti, brother of the world-renowned sculptor Alberto Giacometti.

Thut then consigned the works to his own auction houses “with no disclosure concerning his own ownership interest in the works.” The lots were then purchased by Thut’s wife, who soon thereafter consigned them to Sotheby’s at far higher estimates than their sales prices at FAAM, according to the complaint.

Sotheby’s said it discovered the works were counterfeit in 2018 after one of the buyers enlisted an expert, Denis Vincenot, who works closely with the artist’s estate and deemed the purported Giacometti works inauthentic. The auction house claims that Von Marnitz Thut was required to return any proceeds paid to her in connection with the sale once it was canceled.

By its own admission, Sotheby’s initially pushed back on the findings, citing the “strength” of the provenance documents the Thuts had provided. Those included letters from the legendary New York dealer Pierre Matisse and from Serge Matta, brother of Surrealist painter Roberto Matta, as well as a certificate of authenticity by James Lord, author of a book about Alberto Giacometti.

But Sotheby’s employees changed their minds after hiring a handwriting expert. The consultant concluded that the documents purportedly written by Matisse were inconsistent with samples sourced from his archives in the Morgan Library. It was also found that the Matisse, Matta, and Lord documents were all written by the same hand. Finally, the presence of counterfeit protection system coding in the letterhead was introduced to all printers in the 1990s, and therefore could not have appeared in 1982, when the letters were dated.

“Sotheby’s had engaged the handwriting expert to convince Vincenot of the authenticity of defendants’ consignments,” reads the complaint, “only to learn that the documents supposedly proving the provenance were themselves forgeries.”

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