On Friday night, Cultured Magazine and The Standard welcomed artists Teresita Fernández, Dara Friedman, and Paula Hayes to The Standard Spa, Miami Beach for a panel discussion about art in the public sphere. Led by moderator Cristina Lei Rodriguez — a Miami-based artist whose work can also be found in public places, as well as some very coveted private collections — the three prolific women kept a full house engrossed with a talk that touched on public space, perspective, and performance.
We captured a few of the evening’s highlights below.
Moderator Cristina Lei Rodriguez
“Focus is the tequila of art,” says Dara Friedman, a video artist who refers to her camera as the "lady pistol" and finds herself looking for “the whatness” of a subject. In regards to creating videos in public places, “I have to let it enter me. The first time I had a physical fever from it.” She also recognizes the importance of the viewer in creating art. “Their willingness is part of creation. The work is a catalyst, and, like a magic trick, they have to suspend belief for the reward.”
Multimedia artist Teresita Fernández also notes the confrontational nature of creating work for public space. “After installing "Fata Morgana", I saw people disturbed by the way the work infiltrated ‘their space.’ People take ownership over spaces like the park bench they sit on for lunch each day, or the path they take to work.” For her Madison Square Park installation, she noted that “the beauty of public art is the it has to function for the individual and for the community.” And if you think she approaches her work with a strategy, think again. “It’s a blind process. Even after 25 years! When I’m a little lost — I know it’s good.”
Teresita Fernández speaking, Paula Hayes, & Dara Friedman
Artist and landscape designer Paula Hayes similarly embraces the unexpected. “It’s a park, not a museum. If the next place I install in is tame — I don’t know how I’ll deal with it!” Hayes also noted the effect of social media on her recent installation, "Gazing Globes", at Madison Square Park. “Instagram completely changed the scale of the piece. The participant aspect transformed the work into a garden where viewers became like butterflies flocking to these flowers.”
Dara Friedman, Paula Hayes & Teresita Fernández