Ryan McNamara Kicks Off Art Basel in Miami Beach With Wild Performance
artnet News was among a lucky group that got a preview of Ryan McNamara’s exciting performance art project ME∃M 4 MIAMI: A Story Ballet About the Internet last night at the Miami Grand Theater at Castle Beach Resort, a massive venue on Collins Avenue that was formerly the site of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy theater.
Among the crowd, we spotted collectors Don and Mera Rubell, seated front and center in the cavernous auditorium (see “Which Private Collections in Miami Have The Best Art“). The performance is billed as “an interpretation of the layered architecture of the internet and the infinite streams of information that pour through its portals onto our laptops and smart phones.” And moments before start of the 8:00 p.m. dress rehearsal last night, the person seated to my left, who saw the original New York edition told me: “We might not be sitting together at the end.”
Dancers, some solo, some in groups of two or three, are dispersed throughout the venue in specific locations. They are linked by vibrantly patterned leggings and tops, and perform vigorous, sometimes exaggerated movements against a backdrop of music that ranged from hip-hop to classical, often fusing samples like a line from a classic Blondie song or a Steely Dan riff against a louder, thumping beat that is both cacophonous and enthralling at once.
Sources who saw the original, and very well-received New York edition—a commission for Performa 13 that won the Malcolm McLaren Award—said that in this new Miami version, the number of performers and the overall variation of performances was greatly expanded and included several new “vignettes” as the dancer placements are called.
The official run of sold-out performances starts with a VIP performance tonight, December 2 (last night’s preview even had an overflow group waiting, hoping to get in), followed by two shows each on Wednesday and Thursday (December 3 and 4). Though all are labeled as sold out, Performa will be running a standby line for the public performances, according to its website.
Go to artnet News’s Art Basel in Miami page for the latest coverage, including:
Follow Artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.