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13 Sep 2008

Dark Continents at Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami

Paulina Olowska, Zofia Stryjenska, 2008, Gouache on canvas, 90.55 x 157.48 in. Courtesy the artist and Metro Pictures, New York

Dark Continents


Exhibition on view:
September 26 - November 9, 2008
Opening reception:
September 25, 7 - 9 pm
Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 11 am - 5 pm; Sunday Noon - 5 pm


770 NE 125th Street
North Miami, FL 33161

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Dark Continents revisits the modernist fascination with tropical locales and indigenous people prevalent during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Artists in the exhibition examine ideas and aesthetics that were popular during this time period and relate them to current views by challenging stereotypical relationships that associate femininity with nature. The exhibition also confronts the elements that impacted 'primitivist' and 'exotic' tendencies in art history, such as colonialist perspectives, industrialization, and the popularization of psychoanalysis.

The exhibition features works by a group of international artists that includes Ida Ekblad, Hadassah Emmerich, Naomi Fisher, Elke Krystufek, Marlene McCarty, Claudia and Julia Müller, and Paulina Olowska. Many of the artists are creating new works for this exhibition that include site-specific wall murals and installations in media such as painting, drawing, sculpture, collage and video.

Oslo-based Ida Ekblad's new work stems from her ongoing series of sculptures and drawings that uses appropriated mass-media images depicting non-Western cultures. Dutch artist Hadassah Emmerich's site-specific installation investigates the relationship between feminized aesthetics and tropical themes. Miami artist Naomi Fisher's new installation, featuring painting, photography and video, reflects her interest in the merging of the 'savage' and 'goddess' myths. Claudia and Julia Müller, sisters from Switzerland, employ anthropological techniques to create artworks dealing with cultural perceptions, history, fictions and the display of ethnological information. Premiering in the U.S., Love on Easter Island (2006) and A Film Called Wood (2007), are two films by Austrian artist Elke Krystufek in which she uses Bas Jan Ader, the Dutch artist who disappeared in 1975 trying to sail across the Atlantic, as her male alter ego in a self-reflexive exploration through the South Pacific, India, and Austria. New York-based Marlene McCarty takes true stories about primates and people trying to live together as the basis for her large-scale ballpoint pen drawings, in which humans and apes are entwined in intricate embraces. Polish artist Paulina Olowska's new work pays tribute to Zofia Stryjenska, who was once considered the 'Princess of Polish Painting,' but fell to obscurity after World War II after she refused to join the new Communist government's union of artists.

Dark Continents is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami and is curated by Ruba Katrib, MOCA Assistant Curator.

The exhibition is sponsored in part by Francie Bishop Good and David Horvitz. Additional support provided by the Mondriaan Foundation and Office for Contemporary Art Norway.

Related Programming

Film Screenings

Saturday, October 4 at 2 pm
Madame X: An Absolute Ruler , 1977

The first feature film directed by German filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger, has been described as a 'feminist pirate movie' in which Madame X, the cruel uncrowned ruler of the China Sea, launches an appeal to all women to exchange their comfortable lives for a world of danger and adventure. Free with museum admission.

Saturday, November 1 at 2 pm
Louise Bourgeois, the Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine, 2008
A journey inside the life and imagination of one of the icons of modern art, directed by Amei Wallach. Free with museum admission.

WORKSHOP: Forum on topics relating to MOCA exhibitions
Sunday, September 28 at 2 pm

Panel discussion with selected artists in the exhibition. Free with museum admission.

Sunday, October 19 at 2 pm

Jenni Sorkin, PhD Candidate in History of Art at Yale University on feminism, primitivism, and colonialism. Free with museum admission.

Sunday, November 9 at 2 pm

Miami artists Bhakti Baxter and GisMo respond to the exhibition. Free with museum admission.

Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami

The mission of the Museum of Contemporary Art is to make contemporary art accessible to diverse audiences--especially under-served populations--by exploring the art of our time and its relationship to a broader cultural context. The museum is particularly interested in providing a forum for young and emerging artists and in presenting and collecting the works by local as well as internationally recognized artists. The Museum carries out this mission through exhibitions and acquiring works for its permanent collection as well as related symposia, publications, films, lectures, performances, and educational outreach activities, thereby providing a forum for dialogue about contemporary art in the community.

Exhibitions and programs at MOCA are made possible through grants from the City of North Miami, the Florida Arts Council, the Department of State, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Cultural Affairs Council, the Mayor and Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners. The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami is accredited by the American Association of Museums.