NiteTalk: William Cordova Brings Spillage to Carol Jazzar

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Second Saturdays are not the only art game in town, and Wynwood isn't the only art-friendly 'hood either. Take the patch of quiet keen north of 79th Street for instance, otherwise known as El Portal. That's where you'll find the exquisite Carol Jazzar Contemporary Art Gallery, and where this Friday night the Lima-born, (mostly) Miami-based artist/curator William Cordova will be unveiling some sublime "spillage." Niteside got with the gifted Yalie to get the lowdown.

Can you please tell us a bit about Friday night's opening? Sure. There are two components to this project. The first is a drawing show titled "spillage: traces, evidence and presence. It includes Stacy Lynn Wadell and Andre Leon Gray (both based in North Carolina), Ronny Quevedo (Ecuador) and Shoshanna Weiberger (Jamaica). The second component is titled "tapando el sol con un dedo: space, places and ascension" and consists of video work by Steffani Jemison (New York) and Glexis Novoa and Hamlet La Vastida Cordovi (both currently living and working in Cuba and Miami).

What's the big idea behind the theme? Big deals are a public perception that's manifested through mainstream media. Our objective is to challenge the public's preconceived ideas of what art is and who it is representing. All the artists in this exhibition are interested in reaching not only an elite group of art goers but the masses in general. As activist and writer Lucy Lippard has stated in the past, "art must be able to relate to the space in which it is located... in terms of ambiance, the spirit, the significance of that space for its residents." Our objective is to create a project that has multiple entry points and can relate to different groups of people who may not have been interested in art because it excluded their own presence or interests. Our collective is not only multicultural but they also propose accessibility through their work.

How'd you choose which artists to include? My studio practice includes research, writing and working collectively with other individuals. It is only natural that I come in contact with other writers, artists and activists whose ideologies are alike or who challenge my own beliefs. Group exhibitions evolve through this long but rich process and creates a more fulfilling experience both for the artist and public.

Will this be your first time curating at Carol Jazzar? This is indeed my first time collaborating with Carol Jazzar. I find her space to be outside of the mainstream "art community" not only in geographic terms, but also in her ethics as a gallery dealer.

How'd you come to do the show there anyway?
Our collaboration evolved out of conversations, mutual interests and not so mutual interests in culture, community and the arts.

You're an artist yourself. Do you think that gives you an extra edge when curating? I don't think anyone ever thinks anything less of any person who wears more than one hat. The process of curating is not something I seek out but like writing it is part of my studio process. Artists like Gordon Matta-Clark, David Hammons and Eugenia Vargas have all organized and curated exhibitions because there is always a need to introduce new ideas and sometimes revisit old ones. It is important to understand that artists are not trying to take anyone's fire away but simply add to the existing dialogue. I think it would be arrogant of anyone to assume that curators should be the only ones thinking and organizing anything. I doubt the Velvet Revolution was organized by any curators.

Do you have anything coming up where we might see some of your work? Yes, on April 2, 2011 I'm opening búsquame en el torbellino: stand up next to a mountain at John Jay College, New York. It's based on a research project revealing how the US government influenced mainstream media to vilify 21 Black and Latino activists in 1969. (Sounds a lot like the Liberty City 7). I'm also giving an artist talk at MIT on April 8th and I'm among those in "The Record," group exhibition at ICA, Boston, which opens on April 12th.

What about upcoming curatorial endeavors? I'm currently writing essays with Miami-based poet Nikki Stiles Baker for a small limited edition publication that'll be included in a project in Los Angeles with curator Cesar Garzia of LAXART.

If you had to sum up the gist of "spillage" in a single sentence, what would it be?
Something we all can relate to! yon bagay nou ka tout rakonte pou yo! Algo que toda la gente puede relacionar!

"spillage" opens Friday March 18 at Carol Jazzar 158 SW 91st Street Miami For more information call 305.490.6906

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