A site-specific action by César Trasobares

Commissioned by THE WOLFSONIAN-FIU for Art Basel Miami Beach
BRIDGE TENDER'S HOUSE - Washington Avenue at 10th Street
November 28 to March 1, 24/7

Conservatorium conflates the building’s form and large glass windows with numerous sculptures and rings made by Trasobares with dollar bills. The interior of the space becomes a metaphorical working greenhouse with display vitrines and manufactured trees as well as tools and other studio objects. The artist will be working inside the space occasionally and there will be works-in-progress as well as changing components.

Many of the sculptures allude to the proverbial Money Tree, anchoring a series of smaller works, including rings and other objects made with dollar bills and shredded currency. A group of ‘adjusted’ manufactured plants with lights will be connected to timers. A selection of Frog Dollar Rings will be on sale at the museum’s store.

In many ways, Conservatorium alludes to the connections between art and money.* Many of the components are made of actual dollar bills and the installation is intended to shed a different light on contemporary art, art fairs and today's art market. The project also urges viewers to focus on post-Wilma tree replanting and the necessity to nurture our green canopies all over South Florida. The project celebrates South Florida's Adopt-a-Tree programs.

The installation is oriented to all audiences. Sited on a busy SoBe artery, the work offers an accessible platform for anyone to consider the evolving place of artists in society as well as the exclusivity, segregation and snobbery of many of today's art practices.

César Trasobares broadly defines his practice as an artist: in the art world, he serves as art activist, curator, educator and performer; in the studio, he produces series in various media; in the institutional field, he works in education and art administration. Addressing multi-cultural audiences, he has often focused on the social territories that welcome the involvement of creative individuals, continuing to do whatever he can to bring dignity and recognition to the status and roles of artists in society.

He received fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1979), the Cintas Foundation (1980), and Art Matters (1995). His breadwinner jobs include: Director of Metro-Dade’s Art in Public Places Program (1985-1990); New York Coordinator of the Estate Project (1997-99); consulting artist for Artful Truth at the Wolfsonian-FIU Museum (1999-2001) and Advisor to the Art in Public Places Board, Village of Key Biscayne (2003 to present), among others. Over the years, he participated in numerous curatorial projects, artist selection panels, as well as conferences and community-oriented programs. Visit the artist’s web archive for more information on his work with money and his exhibitions and projects. Also check out what others sometimes do to and with money.

* "Great art museums are in part about the beautiful display of money..."
"Case of the Looted Relics" by James Poniewozik, Time, October 17, 2005

30 November 05