Benchwarming: Artist Tweaks Park Staple for Miami Crowd

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Down in Miami, the art and design fun wasn’t all concentrated in the buzzing fairs, humming tattoo parlors, and thumping parties. Art Basel, in collaboration with Roc-Off Productions and the City of Miami Beach, installed public works from nine artists throughout Miami Beach as part of its “Art Projects” series. On the lawn near the convention center was a giant light sculpture of the word “Scarface” created by Claude Leveque as an homage to the Brian de Palma film (which was shot in Miami), and Turkish artist Haluk Akakce carpeted a stretch of Miami’s Watson Island with flickering lightbulbs and illuminated aluminum towers in a work he called “Searching for the Gravity’s Rainbow (in the garden of light).” But our favorite of the projects was German artist Jeppe Hein‘s “Modified Social Benches,” many of which served to puzzle weary fairgoers eager to sit a spell.

hein bench 2.jpgMost of Hein’s benches (scattered about the city for maximum subterfuge) could still be sat upon, if not in the conventional way. One was missing a leg, another had a few planks detached, and yet another was transformed into a perfect circle with no point of entry. Then there were the really sneaky ones. They looked normal–only those who tried to sit upon them revealed their loose joints or false bottoms. We especially liked this one, which appeared simply to be taking a nap:
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UPDATE: Linda Lee, editor-in-chief of MA2DWeek, informs us that the planned Akakce installation never came to fruition. Although included in Art Basel’s “Art Projects” listing, “the piece itself proved too difficult to put up in time, according to the Island Gardens developer Mehmet Bayraktar,” Lee tells us.