Features. Literature, Visual Arts, Dance, Film & Other Vices
O, Miami: Poetry Will Find You
Since 2011, every April in Miami-Dade County has brought findings of poems sown in thrift-store clothing and on windshields via fake parking tickets. Poems have been painted on the roofs of buildings in order to be read from airplanes and written in the sky for those looking up from the ground. They have been sneakily placed in Google searches and in the humble wrappings of pastelitos.
The packaging for recordings is a rich but peculiar art form. It’s a very visible piece of art, but the creators are mostly anonymous. It’s creative but also utilitarian, a piece of advertising. Ideally, it represents the artist and the music inside, but it’s also a corporate branding tool for a label. […] All that seemed destined to become a quaint memory with the advent of CDs in the 1980s. (Of course, CDs along with all other physical music delivery platforms seem now well on their way to becoming quaint artifacts themselves, but that’s a discussion for another day.)
Still, some artists found ways to create original, distinctive work, work that both represented the music and gave it a fighting chance in a desperately crowded marketplace. Consider Stephen Byram.
Mexican singer, actress, and performance artist Astrid Hadad takes the absurd seriously. Her surreal brand of cabaret lampoons the marketing of Mexico’s cultural icons and reframes received historical truths. Her costumes, often marvels of movable set design, unfold, billow and blink. At one moment, she’s a living Diego Rivera calla lilies painting, and the next, a walking Aztec pyramid. She can turn herself into an altar, a revolver-shooting mama and a Frida Kahlo trinket.