Inside Casa Lin's Quirky Art Jungle
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In the lull before the onslaught of Art Basel Miami Beach, collector Lin Lougheed—of Casa Lin in Wynwood—surveys his newly expanded property, a long aesthetic leap from the original little bungalow: “When I came here in 2003 and saw chickens wandering around, I knew this was the right kind of neighborhood for an art space.”
During 2004’s Art Basel, The Yard@CasaLin debuted, with Raymond Saá painting the building itself in a jungle motif as an installation, and artists Joshua Levine, Adam Brent and Michael Loveland also joining the party. Since then, The Yard has become a Basel ritual, with an opening brunch held on Wynwood Arts District Morning. From that point on, the space remains open to the public throughout ABMB.
In the last few years, The Yard has focused on the work of New World School of the Arts students, faculty and alumni, and this year New World professor and gallerist Fredric Snitzer is curating an exhibition. It’s open to NWS students, faculty and graduates (many of whom, such as Hernan Bas, have a way of winding up at his gallery).
To Snitzer, who is exhibiting in the far more elaborate Miami Beach Convention Center during ABMB, The Yard—which now has both a Florida-butterfly garden and a pine-rockland habitat—is a chance to recapture the “raw, naïve days of the early Art Basel, when kids were showing their work in U-Haul trucks parked in Wynwood.
“The Yard,” he continues, “works best with art that really responds to the site. I remember one NWS student, built like a lumberjack, doing a performance that consisted of him digging a hole in an intense way. That really followed the spirit of the place.”
Over the years, all kinds of artists have put their mark on The Yard. The 2005 and 2006 editions featured pieces by Karen Rifas, Wendy Wischer and Michael Loveland; for 2007, artist and FIU art professor Mette Tommerup stepped in as curator. Her show, “Top Soil,” featured a piece by Whitney Biennial artist Adler Guerrier, an abstraction of signs for a protest rally.
Daniel Arsham and Bhakti Baxter also contributed, and Tommerup’s own installation, incorporating Spanish moss, tied in with the lush surroundings. And as usual, her husband, artist Robert Chambers, put some engineering chops into his work, a Calder-esque mobile with lava-rock boulders. (The following year, his installation consisted of the front ends of two John Deere tractors, locked in mortal combat.) For Tommerup, The Yard@CasaLin presents an opportunity to do “grassroots shows in a natural setting. It’s the perfect counterforce to the increasing glitz of Basel.”
The Yard@CasaLin, open throughout Art Basel Miami Beach. 55 NW 30th St., Miami; casalin.org
photographs by benjamin thacker
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.