Inside CU-1 Gallery with three of its founders (from left to right): Marc Schmidt, Rober Weber, and Stephan Goettlicher; Photo by Seanica Howe.

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.  By water, I mean art, and by drink, well, let’s just say I haven’t been doing much.

Miami, leaving New York to come back to you was not an easy decision.  Are you aware of the number of mouth-watering Thai restaurants that exist in Manhattan?  When I traded them in for sugary coffee and guava pastries, I didn’t complain.  And, my substitute boyfriend, available at all hours of the night---dropped him like a bad habit.  Sure, occasionally I still search the site, dreaming of ordering from five star restaurants and eating on my floor with no one knowing, but love takes compromise and sacrifice.  I thought you were worth it and, I’m sorry to say this, but you owe me.

I’ve been waiting for Miami to break away from the New York art scene and develop its own style.  We’re not the Big Apple and why should we be?  Do we really want to go on pretending that we still think conceptual art is actually interesting?  It’s been over fifty years since this overly cerebral, visually unappealing art reared its ugly head, so maybe it’s time for a new conversation.  You and I both saw that paper mache monstrosity at Locust Projects this year---need I say more?

Tina Luther, Love Hard II, 2010, c-print/lambda matte mounted on aludibond; ©Tina Luther/Courtesy CU-1 Gallery, Miami. 

We’re sexy.  We love fashion, whether it’s street or designer.  We’re taking our clothes off while our New York counterparts are throwing on another layer.  While they are sitting in boardrooms, missing out on life, we’re cruising around on boats, or chillin' at the beach, drinking rose until the sun goes down.  

Describe us in one word---hot.   Everything in Miami sizzles: our temperatures, our music, and our people (just ask Dwyane and LeBron); so why shouldn’t our art reflect who we are and do the same?  The Germans agree, and they’ve taken it upon themselves to move us in the right direction.

You want perfection Miami?  Well, here it is:  CU-1 gallery and its photographers.    It’s high fashion meets fine art, where even the smashed-up soda cans are provocative.  

Roger Weber, Window, 2012, c-print, lambda matte mounted on aludibond; ©Roger Weber/Courtesy CU-1 Gallery, Miami.

Roger Weber, my personal favorite and whose work is on display for the first time with CU-1 in their current show “Look at Me,” blends shapes and colors from daily life that result in sedate photographs glazed with understated glamour.  He masterfully manipulates natural light like a shaman, creating sophisticated images set in unassuming locales that are esthetically on par with favorite cinematic greats.    
1977 (left) and HSU (right) are one of many Billy & Hells photographs that hang in the gallery’s vault; Photo by Seanica Howe.

Anke Linz and Andreas Oettinger, the collective better known as Billy & Hells, are on view in the gallery’s not-so-secret, graffitied vault.  Their portrait 1977 (2011), from the series “the Astronaut’s Wife,” is weighted with a constrained, rose colored air reminiscent of Sylvia von Halle (1926), offering a contemporary take on the New Objectivity that put German artists like George Grosz and Otto Dix on the map.

An interior view of CU-1 Gallery in downtown Miami; Photo by Seanica Howe.

But the owners of CU-1 aren’t only interested in offering up refined images that eliminate the imaginary boundaries between commercial and high and low.  They have redefined the stale gallery space with lofty elegance and intend on using it as a platform for bringing together those who embrace art and life, a distinction that they see as one and the same. 

Thank you gentlemen.  Here in Miami, we couldn’t agree more.  And we spend every day proving it. 

CU-1 Gallery is located at 117 NE 1st Ave, Miami, FL.  “Look at Me” is on view until August 23, 2013.