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While the art crowd was kicking back cocktails and doing that Wynwood walk on Saturday night, you couldn't help over-hearing the buzz about the Brenda Ann Kenneally photos hanging up at Gallery I/D. The show, entitled "Upstate Girls: What Became of Collar City," is a Lange-like peek into one of those bleak American landscapes too many folks forget exist in this age. And it most likely wouldn't have seen the light of a Miami night without the efforts of one Giselle "Chachi" Devera. Devera is one-half of the tag team behind Gallery I/D, one of our town's most socially-attuned art houses, and it is she who's determined to make sure our collective memories don't completely lapse.
A whole coterie of really hip chicks know you as Chachi. Wanna tell is how you got that nickname? I was 17 and my now-best friend Nel, the comedian, said I had the whole Scott Baio thing going. I just turned 36 and somehow I'm still Chachi but only to a very specific group of people, which makes for some really strange introductions
You and Marite Iglesias run Gallery I/D. Can you tell us a little bit about the space? We opened in December 2009. Our focus is on thought-provoking exhibits that explore the power of connectivity between visual arts and social commentary and awareness. We invite artists and visitors alike to make those connections and discuss or display them in an open environment. Our artists include Sean Hemmerle, Brenda Ann Kenneally, Baldomero Fernandez and Sasha Bezzubov.
Gallery I/D's current show is called "Upstate Girls -- What Became of Collar City." What's the backstory? Brenda Ann Kenneally is a mother, documentarian and interdisciplinary artist living in Brooklyn. Her obsession with capturing a core truth of the people she photographs earned her the W. Eugene Smith Award in 2000 for photographers who work in the tradition of the legendary Life magazine photographer.
In 2004, Kenneally began photographing in Upstate New York, where she was born. The ongoing project, "Upstate Girls" is a look at the lower working class in America that, despite sweeping technological advances remains unchanged even from the time Kenneally was a child. The lives of women and children in the city of Troy, New York, where the Industrial Revolution is thought to have begun are contextualized through Kenneally's lens.
Won't Brenda Ann Kenneally be in town lecturing while the show is up? Yes, Brenda will be at Gallery I/D on March 26th at 7:30 for a lecture and Q&A.
Didn't you also produce a show of Kenneally's photographs at your previous post Filtro? What was that about and fill us in about Filtro. Brenda and I went to UM together. She was a Teacher's Assistant when I was in the photojournalism program. We've been friends for many years. When I opened Filtro she was an obvious choice.
We had the show at Filtro in March 2006. It was a huge success. We emulated the book and incorporated sound. It was fantastic and surreal. My old gallery space, Filtro, was once Brenda's home in the 90's before leaving to New York.
You yourself have a photojournalism background. Are you still snapping? I'll always be shooting. I obsessively shoot my friends. They hate it. I'll never stop shooting my life but it's personal I suppose. Curating, that's what I love, and it's what I'm good at. I want to seek out artists with projects that have purpose and as often as possible show what is invisible to others.
Who are some of the photographers -- living or dead -- that you most admire? Mary Ellen Mark, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dorothea Lange, Helen Levitt, Eugene Richards, Nan Goldin, Robert Frank, Brenda Ann Kenneally, James Nachtwey and everyone at VII Photo
Gallery I/D is smack dab in the middle of Wynwood. How does it feel to be in the center of all of Miami's art action, and where do you see the neighborhood going in the near future? We have a great corner. It's a perfect location. I've been in the neighborhood since 2004 and have watched it grow. It has great energy and it's full of fantastic collections and galleries. Now, with a growing selection of great restaurants and a few bars it's become more of a destination.
Speaking of the neighborhood, when you're not on site at the gallery where do you like to hangout? I usually eat at Joey's, Moonchin, and Lost and Found (to name a few), and when we go out in the neighborhood we go to News Lounge and Cafeina.