French artist Laurent Grasso's newest show Portrait of a Young Man at the Bass Museum messes with the idea of time while doing something particularly interesting and important for the place it's housed.
Grasso selected works from the museum's permanent collection of Renaissance and Baroque art and placed it alongside his own works. Portrait of a Young Man displays about a handful of old works, including a compact Rembrandt which hangs just feet away from the artist's own video of birds flying in fascinating and otherworldly formations above the Vatican.
Based on one of Galileo's sketches, he created a new work 1610, transforming a two dimensional drawing into a glowing installation of a neon star constellation.
"For me, it was a chance to be able to play with historical works from the collection," Grasso says. The works play with time and blend together, making connections and placing his work literally amongst those of the masters.
The winner of the 2008 Marcel Duchamp Prize, Grasso is represented by galleries in Paris, New York, and Italy. His work has been displayed all over the world, including at the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Centre Georges Pompidou.
"I try to make things readable at different levels. I like that (viewers) have different ways to understand and to see and to like an artwork," he contemplates. "I tried really to give the impression that this object is coming from an older collection, a historical museum collection," he observes. "It's more about time than space today." The paintings in the show give the feeling that they are from the 16th century, for instance.
His art is, he notes, "more of a question than an answer." The visual and conceptual impact is equally important to him.
Upcoming, Grasso will have work up at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art in 2013 and the Jeu de Paume Paris in May 2012.
Last night's opening coincided with the Bass Museum's monthly first Friday party Beats After Sunset. In honor of Grasso's heritage, the party was Franco-centric, organized by the French-American Chamber of Commerce with the support of the French Consulate in Miami. People enjoyed Foie Gras from creperie and French cafe A La Folie and champagne with their world class artwork.