The 44 Percent: Virgil Abloh, Miami Art Week & more UF controversy

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  • Virgil Abloh
    American fashion designer

There’s no better time to be in Miami than during Art Basel.

Something about the city just comes alive. Everyone got on their best fits. The Who’s Who of the art world come down from their proverbial ivory towers. And the art is usually incredible. I mean, where else can I see a Basquiat and then rub shoulders with Kanye West a few hours later. Crazy right?

Still, despite Miami’s electricity, this year’s Basel feels a little off. The loss of one of the greatest fashion eyes ever in Virgil Abloh will certainly do that (more on that later). Still, something tells me that Virgil would’ve wanted us to enjoy ourselves. A lot of his work focused on adults rediscovering their inner child, and what better time do so than during Basel?

I say all that to say this: life is short. Tomorrow isn’t promised. Go enjoy yourself while you can, because you never know what day will be your last.

C. Isaiah Smalls II author card
C. Isaiah Smalls II author card

INSIDE THE 305

Painter Jared McGriff poses with one of his works in progress in his studio at Spinello Projects in Miami’s Allapattah neighborhood. McGriff has a solo show of his paintings at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale for Miami Art Week.
Painter Jared McGriff poses with one of his works in progress in his studio at Spinello Projects in Miami’s Allapattah neighborhood. McGriff has a solo show of his paintings at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale for Miami Art Week.

After pandemic hiatus, Miami Art Week returns with ‘an explosion’ of local art and artists:

Miami has always been a haven for emerging artistic talent.

Unfortunately, these artists usually get pushed aside for bigger names when it comes time for Miami Art Week. That changed in 2021, according to the Herald’s Andres Viglucci:

In sharp contrast to past years, in which local artists were largely eclipsed in their own South Florida hometown by big-name and even emerging artists from elsewhere, work by Miamians this time will be featured attractions in a dizzying number of art week showcases and platforms around the region.

Also I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Sugarcane Magazine’s “Black and Basel Guide.” Definitely a must read if you’re looking for Black art.

A view of encampments near the sidewalk near Southwest 2nd Avenue and Second Street in Downtown Miami, Florida, on Sunday, October 17, 2021.
A view of encampments near the sidewalk near Southwest 2nd Avenue and Second Street in Downtown Miami, Florida, on Sunday, October 17, 2021.

New exhibit explores Miami through the eyes of its homeless community:

In late October, eight homeless people were given cameras and very simple instructions: document your world.

What they captured will be displayed Sunday at Smile Fuh’ Me, a Smile Trust-sponsored exhibit at the N’Namdi Contemporary Fine Art Gallery. More than 25 pictures will be available for purchase, with the artists receiving 50% of the profits. With the art world descending upon Miami for Basel, Smile Fuh’ Me provides an opportunity for all sides of the Magic City to receive some love, said Smile Trust founder Valencia Gunder.

“Miami is bigger than just the beach, bigger than all these big businesses, bigger than the sunshine,” Gunder said. “People make Miami and the unsheltered help make Miami.”

Check it out if you’re still in town for Basel. The event runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 5.

OUTSIDE THE 305

The University of Florida campus in Gainesville.
The University of Florida campus in Gainesville.

UF is accused of restricting ‘critical race’ curricula:

It seems like University of Florida can’t stay out the headlines — for all the wrong reasons.

A UF professor claims that university officials barred him teaching anything related to critical race theory.

Chris Busey, a UF professor who teaches a concentration entitled “Critical Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture in Education,” filed a grievance through the faculty union because of the university’s alleged warning “to steer clear of curricula that touch on race, anti-racism, or mention the words ‘critical’ and ‘race’ together,” according to the Herald’s Ana Ceballos.

The issue, Busey claims, was painted as one that could “jeopardize” the college’s relationship with the state, and “inflame Tallahassee” just as Republican lawmakers proposed legislation that takes aim at the concept of critical race theory and similar themes.

These allegations come roughly a month after UF prevented three political science professors from being expert witnesses in a lawsuit against the state. UF later reversed that decision.

In terms of the most recent allegation, UF spokeswoman Hessy Fernandez told Ceballos that the grievance “contains a number of inaccuracies, and we will address them through the appropriate processes.”

HIGH CULTURE

Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade speaks to an audience during a moderated discussion for his new memoir “Dwyane.” at The Shop in Pop Up Shop Miami in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, Florida, on Friday, November 19, 2021.
Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade speaks to an audience during a moderated discussion for his new memoir “Dwyane.” at The Shop in Pop Up Shop Miami in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, Florida, on Friday, November 19, 2021.

Dwyane Wade’s career now extends far past Heat basketball. He discussed why:

Shout out to checking things off of my bucket list.

I interviewed Dwyane Wade last week while he was in town promoting his new memoir “Dwyane.” We chopped it up about fatherhood, his ownership stake in the Utah Jazz and Big 3-era hate. Definitely give this a read if you haven’t already.

Virgil Abloh asiste a la gala benéfica del Instituto del Traje del Museo Metropolitano de Arte que celebra la inauguración de la exposición “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” el lunes 13 de septiembre de 2021 en Nueva York. (Foto de Evan Agostini / Invision / AP)
Virgil Abloh asiste a la gala benéfica del Instituto del Traje del Museo Metropolitano de Arte que celebra la inauguración de la exposición “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” el lunes 13 de septiembre de 2021 en Nueva York. (Foto de Evan Agostini / Invision / AP)

RIP Virgil Abloh:

I couldn’t end this newsletter without sharing a few words on Virgil Abloh. Despite his unfortunate passing Sunday at the age of 41, his presence still looms large at Basel. On billboards. In 25-foot statues. And especially in the hearts of countless art fans. Be on the lookout for my piece about that.

Also shout out my old professor David Dennis for penning the wonderful hyperlinked piece titled “On Black men who die too soon.”

Where does “The 44 Percent” name come from? Click here to find out how Miami history influenced the newsletter’s title.

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