Florida artists fill the void at No Vacancy, Miami Beach



With Art Week in Miami fast approaching the City of Miami Beach knows where the visitors will be – in the South Beach Art Deco hotels.

So what better place to show off top local art and artists than in the lobbies of these historic beauties?

The 2022 edition of No Vacancy, Miami Beach opened on November 17 and runs till December 8, a juried art competition that supports and celebrates local artists. Each was given $10,000 to create work for 12 hotels, most within walking distance of South Beach, and supplemented by a free trolley service that zips you around to all of them.

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As a double visual delight, the gleaming hotels provide a glam backdrop for the art.

This year is the largest to date. Artists were drawn from a call for submissions issued by the city and selected by representatives from the City of Miami Beach Art in Public Places Committee, Cultural Arts Council (CAC), and Miami Beach Visitor Association.

Charo Oquet’s sculptural installations at The Catalina Hotel & Beach Club are colossal, huge, and outrageously bright. She uses everyday materials such as concrete, plaster, wood, and fabric to create ephemeral-looking structures. The rough, gritty appeal of a construction site – as common in Miami as iguanas – these colorful setups reflect the chaos and instability of contemporary life in the urban tropics through color and shape. The sculptures combine art and fashion to question cargo culture notions of transplanted Eurocentric fashions.

In Your Eyes I Come Alive by Jessy Nite (Photo by Sandra Schulman)

Jessy Nite, a multidisciplinary artist based in Miami, makes interactive, experiential, and site-specific installations, with pastel-colored typography, geometry, and illustrations. At the Avalon Hotel, she uses the sun’s light, shadow, and reflection to create a new kind of poetry. By harnessing sunlight she tells stories across skylines that work as sundials. The sun becomes the narrator, with playful but deep-rooted narratives that connect in unusual ways to the environment and one another. The ever-changing nature of the work is part of the process.

Hollywood’s Sri Prabha is a multidisciplinary artist who taps into geography, nature, time, human origins, and the cosmos. Astronauts, albino alligators, deep space, and the deep blue sea whirl in a kaleidoscope of images he creates in computers and then projects onto various surfaces.

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At The Betsy Hotel, there is an art alley between the hotel’s two buildings with a permanent egg-shaped white orb wedged in between them. This makes a perfect elliptical screen for Prahba’s projections on the Orb and the deco design walls down the alley. It runs on a loop starting at dusk.

A selection of three separate video projections features elements from ancient forests, lava caves, fossils, flora, and fauna fused with text, moving mandalas, and light fields to encourage and raise consciousness about our place in the universe.

On the site, there is a QR code link with long-form videos and NFTs for people to view or use the sound at www.sriprabha.com/cosmos simultaneously with the physical experience. Prahba says “We are a small part of the cosmos, and our energies are linked to it. Ideas of regeneration, growth, and sustainability emerge from the cocoon of the pandemic to be deployed internally and for the world around us. In our existence, we ask ourselves, “what are our responsibilities to the universe?”

Other art pops up at Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club, Hotel Croydon Miami Beach, Esmé Miami Beach Hotel on Espanola Way, the hyper glam Fontainebleau Miami Beach, the artsiest of them all Faena Miami Beach, International Inn on the Bay, Loews Miami Beach Hotel where the moneyed art crowd stays during Art Basel, Riviera Suites South Beach and Royal Palm South Beach.

For the third edition of No Vacancy, $35,000 in prizes will be given to two selected participants. These prizes include a $10,000 Public Prize awarded by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau and a $25,000 Juried Prize awarded by a jury of local art professionals. The winner of the Juried Prize and the winner of the Public Prize will be announced on December 8, 2022. The public can cast their vote online.


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