Unnatural at The Bass Museum of Art, Miami, curated by Tami Katz-Freiman


The concept of nature has acquired a new relevance in the hyper-technological age, leading many artists to reflect ironically on artificial environments, where one is unable to trust what is real and what is not. A significant number of artists today challenge the gap between traditional perceptions of “nature” and “culture.” In many cases, they introduce new understandings of the sublime that transform its romantic associations with a sense of awe.

UNNATURAL, presented by the Bass Museum of Art, will present scientific, romantic, conceptual, poetic, sensual and ecological conceptions of nature through a variety of strategies that reflect advances in technology in the twenty-first century. The works in the exhibition question conventional means and methods of representing the natural world, and metaphorically embody both the paradoxical longing to fuse with nature and the threat embedded in such fusion. The works in UNNATURAL thus reflect a cultivated, synthetic, manipulated nature, which includes allusions to science as manifestations of a reality oscillating between the real and imaginary.

The artists selected for UNNATURAL come from diverse cultural backgrounds and work in a wide range of media: video, photography, sculpture and installation. The majority of the artists are Israeli-based which charges the exhibition with a political accent that relates to Nature, territories and landscape in critical ways. In the contemporary Israeli context it is impossible to disassociate the landscape from the politics transpiring around it. Representations of landscape and/or Nature in Israeli art are never naive, and certainly not romantic. They are scorched with the fire of conflict and fervor of internal controversy.

UNNATURAL is a metaphor for the postmodern era; an allegory of the far-fetched fusion of reality, fantasy and simulation. At the same time, it reflects the freedom of imagination and the wonders of simulation technology, which make the inconceivable conceivable.

The location of this project in Miami Beach—a subtropical, botanically lush barrier island that was built on a filled coral reef where even the beach sand is artificially imported—strengthens the tangible relationship between the “nature” and the “natural”.

Among the participating artists: Aziz + Cucher, Einat Arif-Galanti, Blane De St Croix, Rose-Lynn Fisher, Ori Gersht, Meirav Heiman & Yossi Ben Shoshan, Anthony James, Hilja Keading, Freddy Shachar Kislev, Sigalit Landau, Dana Levy, Tobias Madison, Richard Mosse, Gilad Ratman, Samantha Salzinger, Tomer Sapir, Yehudith Sasportas, Michal Shamir, Jennifer Steinkamp, Gal Weinstein, Guy Zagursky.

About the curator:
Tami Katz-Freiman is an art historian, curator and critic, based in Miami. Until recently, she served as the Chief Curator of the Haifa Museum of Art (2005-2010). She has curated numerous group and solo exhibitions in prominent museums in Israel and the US, where she lived and worked between 1994 and 1999. Her most notable project in collaboration with the Bass Museum was Desert Cliché: Israel Now—Local Images, a traveling exhibition co-curated with Amy Cappellazzo that debuted at the Bass Museum of Art on April 1997. In the last two years she was teaching at the Art History Department at Tel Aviv University and at the Kalisher Art School’s International Curatorial Program. She has published extensively in books, catalogues and magazines devoted to contemporary art.
Anthony James, Artis Grant Recipient, Aziz And Cucher, Blane De St Croix, Einat Arif Galanti, Freddy Shachar Kislev, Guy Zagursky, Hilia Keading, Jennifer Steinkamp, Meirav Heiman, Michal Shamir, Richard Mosse, Rose Lynn Fisher, Samantha Sal, Ori Gersht, Dana Levy, Gilad Ratman, Tomer Sapir, Gal Weinstein

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