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2023 “Art On The Plaza”: MOCA North Miami Announces Four New Public Art Installations

March 23, 2023

The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA) is excited to announce the artists selected for this season's “Art On The Plaza'' Series: Edison Peñafiel, LIZN'BOW (Liz Ferrer and Bow Ty), Sterling Rook and Chris Friday. Beginning in March 2023, site-specific works from a different artist will be highlighted for three months at a time, engaging and connecting the community with their unique and inspiring works of art.

The Season will kick off mid-March with Edison Peñafiel's Installation, “Run, Run, Run like the Wind.” This colorful display of nine banners will hang from the highest point of the palm trees throughout MOCA's Plaza, showcasing characters on the run and accompanied by text taken from Latin American protest songs. Peñafiel's work will highlight the act of escape during political turmoil, speaking to themes of human migration, displacement and social justice.

Following Peñafiel’s Installation, LIZN'BOW (Liz Ferrer and Bow Ty)'s “El Mundo Es Magico,” Sterling Rook's “Almost Home” and Chris Friday's “Narcissist” will each offer their own captivating experience for visitors when they go on view throughout the season.

“We're thrilled to present these four public art installations to the community as part of MOCA's ‘Art On The Plaza’ Series," said Adeze Wilford, Curator at MOCA North Miami. “Each artist has been selected for their unique style and thought-provoking approach and we can't wait for the community to see their inspiring Installations.”

Chana Sheldon, MOCA North Miami's Executive Director, underscored the importance of the “Art On The Plaza” Series as a means to engage with the community. “The ‘Art On The Plaza’ Series is an exciting opportunity for visitors and passersby to have access to experience art outside of the MOCA’s walls. Programs like this one, as well as ‘Welcome to Paradise,’ our new commissioning Public Art Program in MOCA’s Paradise Courtyard and Exhibitions like the ‘South Florida Cultural Consortium’ that MOCA will host later this Spring, reaffirm MOCA’s longtime commitment to creating space and highlighting the talented Local Artists from South Florida.”

• Edison Peñafiel's “Run, Run, Run like the Wind” goes on view from mid-March to late May 2023
• LIZN'BOW (Liz Ferrer and Bow Ty)'s “El Mundo Es Magico” June to late August 2023
• Sterling Rook's “Almost Home,” September to November 2023
• Chris Friday's “Narcissist” from late November 2023 to late February 2024.

The Artists

Edison Peñafiel a Miami based Artist who bears witness to the experiences of those on the underside of the world’s major conflicts: the migrant, the laborer, the surveilled. His work combines sculpture, photography, animation and video to create immersive installations. These spaces reflect the realities we participate in and witness every day. Peñafiel's uses his camera to capture groups of characters that move through physical and digital worlds, often trapped in looping video scenes that underscore the cycles of history. Because the characters are brought to life using motifs from German Expressionism and magical realism, they are able to transcend any specific time, location or group of people. They stand in as universal communicators of human struggle.

Liz Ferrer and Bow Ty’s work spans film making, digital media and sculpture, music, video and performance art. Through a queer and comedic lens, their work together has been building a reputation for critiquing American and Latin Pop. Their most recent projects together are Feminist Reggaeton Band Niña and New Media Collaborative LIZN’BOW.

Liz and Bow’s work has been featured at Mana Contemporary, Squeaky Wheel, Borscht Film Festival, ICA Miami, The Bass Museum, The Miami Herald, Young At Art Museum, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Cunsthaus, Cincinnati Art Museum, The Koubek Center, The Satellite Show Art Fair, MOCA Miami, Davey Fest, Museum Of Modern Art Santo Domingo, Index Performance Art Festival Santo Domingo, Albright Knox Center Buffalo, Burchfield Penney Art Center and The Art Institute of Chicago.

Liz and Bow are Recipients of a Creative Capital Wild Futures Award, Knights Art Challenge Award from the Knight Foundation, Franklin Furnace Grant, Locust Projects WaveMaker Grant, Oolite Arts Ellies Award 2019 and 2022, LMCC Creative Engagement, En Residencia Grant and Borscht Festival No Bro Zone Short Film Commission.

Liz and Bow have attended Atlantic Center For The Arts, Knight Sundance Short Film Miami Intensive, Caldera Arts Residency, Squeaky Wheel, Mana Contemporary Studio Residency, En Residencia, Tempus Projects, Acre, La Sierra de Santa Marta Residency in Colombia and Cannonball.

Sterling Rook is a Miami native with Masters in Fine Art from Florida International University. He works out of his studio at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Miami, Florida.

Rook’s work uses his skills in metalwork and fabric to further expand the language of sculpture and fiber-art. Trained in a variety of fiber-art techniques as well as metalwork, Rook is adept at discovering novel ways to combine very different practices. Forged and welded steel, painted palm fronds and handmade rope from used clothing, all factor in for Rook in as avenues expanding this visual vocabulary.

His practice is enriched through working within a family legacy of fiber-crafts: On the maternal/Peruvian side of his family, his grandmother was a re-weaver, and his grandfather was a tailor. His paternal/British grandfather’s last name was “Stringer,” which is a British historical-occupational name for one who made rope or string. Rook uses these markers as a compass, bridging gaps within disparate cultural heritages, connecting past to present. These pasts unfold paths to explore art-making as a regenerative process where inhabiting genealogy is possible by making.

My work explores themes of rest, privacy and supplementing the archive as a way of advocating and claiming space for Black bodies that are historically excluded from it. Utilizing the internet as an infinite source of archival samples, I compile memories and anecdotes from the shared experiences of people of color to then construct and preserve alternative and imagined historical and personal narratives. Often incorporating a black-and-white “Chalkboard” aesthetic, which plays on concepts of learning and teaching, I identify problematic perspectives and their origins, question their legitimacy and offer possible solutions in my work Recent large-scale drawings depict Black bodies in leisure, at play and in repose, as a means of “opting out” of stereotypically portraying Black bodies in various scenes of perpetual trauma or hyper/over-sexualization. Accompanied by comic-style graphic illustrations that provide an imagined environment and context, I give my subjects the rest and privacy they are entitled to, even while on display; reflecting the desire to achieve this for myself, my family and community in everyday life.

Since 2021, MOCA’s “Art On The Plaza” Series, presented with major support from the North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency (NMCRA), provides an opportunity for artists to create and showcase temporary public art installations on MOCA’s Plaza. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has also provided additional support for this series.

Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA)
770 Northeast 125th Street, Miami, Florida 33161

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