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Pierce, Mark, Morph: Tracing the Timeless Powers of Transformative Body Art

October 1, 2016 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

unnamed-7The new exhibition Pierce, Mark, Morph originates this fall in Miami at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University.The new exhibition traces the ancient traditions of body modification evident in the exhibition’s Pre-Columbian objects (from the Jay I. Kislak Foundation), featured within the galleries of the museum alongside works by contemporary artists who incorporate transformative body art in their creative process.

This exhibition is curated by Maryanna Ramirez and includes contemporary photography and video work by Lauren Kalman, Carlos Martiel, Hiromi Moneyhun, Tatiana Parcero and Cecilia Paredes. The opening reception is free and open to the public on Saturday, October 22 (4:00 -7:00 p.m.), the museum is located on the campus of Florida International University (campus address and directions). On view through February 12 (including Miami’s Art Basel season).

Pre-Columbian sculptures from the Jay I. Kislak Foundation anchor the exhibition, spanning hundreds of years and originating from different ancient cultures. These works all incorporate different forms of body modification – including piercings, markings and cranial alterations, providing a historical perspective.

“An ear spool used in 900 AD is similar to ear expanders and stretchers used today. Body modification was the launching point for this exhibition,” said Maryanna Ramirez, the exhibition’s curator. “We then started looking at ways that artists today were using similar methods of body alterations to express their personal views and passions. Modifying the human form is complex and varied. Audiences are familiar with piercings, tattoos, plastic surgery, and other forms of alteration, which are all  common today.”

“For many of the contemporary artists in the exhibition, the process of transforming the body is as important as the artistic outcome,”
adds Ramirez.


Cecilia Paredes, Both Worlds, 2010


Unknown Artist, Greenstone Mosaic Mask, 700-900 AD

Cecilia Paredes is a performance and installation artist who uses her body as a canvas on which paint is applied. Her last name in Spanish (Paredes) means walls, which is appropriate because her completed work often blends in with the walls. Artist Lauren Kalman manipulates gold and precious stone, and pierces her skin with these tiny gems, creating a sparkling rash. In these works Kalman examines our relationship with and understanding of disease.

Tatiana Parcero‘s work also includes the body, mapping, identity and ultimately what lies beneath the skin. In a video documenting his 2013 performance piece Vanishing Point, the Cuban artistCarlos Martiel is pierced and threaded in multiple points in the front and back of his torso, creating the illusion of a vanishing point entering and leaving through his body. (View more about this workat this link here.)

Although every artist may not document the steps of their process, each artist’s work is exhaustive and precise. Hiromi Moneyhun creates intricately detailed portraits of women with body markings and adorned features using only heavy paper and an x-acto knife. Moneyhun’s work is so meticulous that many believe her artworks are machine-made.

“Miami is a city known for its transformations, which are sometimes suspect and scrutinized,” adds the curator Maryanna Ramirez.

“Through the work of these artists, and by examining the past with new eyes, the journey of Pierce, Mark, Morph can take on different meanings for viewers.”

More about the artists & artworks:
The Jay I. Kislak Foundation
Unknown Artist, Mayan Jade Pendant,Head of a Ruler,  600-900 AD

Established in 1984, the Jay I. Kislak Foundation is a private nonprofit cultural institution engaged in the collection, conservation, research and interpretation of rare books, manuscripts, maps and indigenous art and cultural artifacts of the Americas and other parts of the world. Kislak collections are rich in primary research materials on the history of Florida, the Caribbean and Mesoamerica, with special emphasis on native cultures, their contact with Europeans and the colonial period to about 1820. The Foundation exists to advance knowledge and understanding of world cultures and history through its collections and through programs of research, education, exhibition and publication.

Lauren Kalman


Lauren Kalman, Lip Adornment, 2005

Lauren Kalman is a visual artist based in Detroit, whose practice is invested in contemporary craft, video, photography and performance. Through her work she investigates beauty, adornment, body image, value, and consumer culture.

Raised in the Midwest, Kalman completed her MFA in Art and Technology from the Ohio State University and earned a BFA with a focus in metals from the Massachusetts College of Art. She has been awarded residencies at the Corporation of Yaddo, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and Santa Fe Art Institute. In addition she has received Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, Puffin Foundation West and ISE Cultural Foundation grants.

Carlos Martiel 


Carlos Martiel, Vanishing Point, 2013

Carlos Martiel (born 1989, Havana). Lives and works in New York and Havana. He graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts “San Alejandro,” in Havana, 2009. Between the years 2008-2010, he studied in the Cátedra Arte de Conducta, directed by the artist Tania Bruguera.

Martiel’s works have been included in: Havana Biennial, Havana, Cuba; Pontevedra Biennial, Galicia, Spain; Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Biennial “La Otra”, Bogotá, Colombia; International Performance Art Biennale, Houston, USA; Casablanca Biennale, Casablanca, Morocco.

He has had solo exhibitions and performances at Y Gallery, New York, USA; Samsøn Projects; Boston, USA; Robert Miller Gallery, New York, USA; Steve Turner, Los Angeles, USA; Axenéo7, Gatineau, Canadá; Nitsch Museum, Naples, Italy; Lux Gallery, Guatemala City, Guatemala; Contemporary Art Center “Wifredo Lam”, Havana, Cuba.

He has received several awards, including Franklin Furnace Fund in New York, USA, 2016; “CIFOS Grants & Commissions Program Award” in Miami, USA, 2014; “Arte Laguna” in Venice, Italy, 2013.


Hiromi Moneyhun

Hiromi Moneyhun moved to Jacksonville, Florida, in 2004 from her hometown of Kyoto, Japan, the capital city for close to a thousand years before Tokyo.  She began drawing at a young age, and by her teen years she had already developed a style of her own.


Hiromi Moneyhun, Chin, 2014

With no formal art training, Hiromi has developed a unique homegrown artistic voice that combines traditional Japanese visual art forms with the super-modernity now found in all of Japan’s biggest cities.


Hiromi Moneyhun, Mursi, 2014

The most obvious reference is to Edo Period Japanese woodblock prints (moku hanga), which had a major influence on her budding artist’s mind early


Tatiana Parcero 

Tatiana Parcero (b. 1967 Mexico) earned her Master of Arts in the fields of Art Theory and Photography from New York University and Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM), Mexico City.

Her work has been included in solo and group exhibitions in the USA, Mexico, Spain, France, Argentina, Brazil, Finland, and beyond.


Tatiana Parcero, Nuevo Mundo #6A, 2004

Tatiana Parcero has exhibited internationally; reappearing themes include identity, ritual, mapping, and the body. Parcero explores the relationship of personal as it reflects on the general human experience. She exposes actual and symbolic layers below the skin.

Ceclia Paredes

Cecilia Paredes (b.1950) was born in Lima, Peru, where she studied Plastic Arts at the Catholic University of Lima. She later went on to study at Cambridge Arts and Crafts School in England.


Cecilia Paredes, Urban Landscape, 2008

She was awarded the Publicacin Libro de Artista by the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain, the First Mention of Honor at the Bienal Centroamericana, as well as first prizes at the Salon Nacional de Grabado, the Salon Nacional de Grabado in Lima, the Municipalidad de Lima for serigraphy, and finally the Universidad Católica in Peru for theatre/lithography.


Cecilia Paredes in studio, photographing her work

Paredes completed residencies at both Pennsylvania University and the Banff Art Centre in Canada. She is a contemporary performance and installation artist, who is best known for her unusual work in which she uses her own body as a canvas for body paint. More info here.

MUSEUM HOURSunnamed-22

TuesdaySaturday: 11am – 5pm

Sunday: Noon – 5pm

Monday: Closed



More about the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum

at Florida International University


One of the largest free-standing art museums in Florida, the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University was founded in 1977 and is the Smithsonian Affiliate in Miami.  The museum’s new lakeside building debuted in 2008, designed by Yann Weymouth (the chief of design on the I.M. Pei Grand Louvre Project).

With 46,000 square feet of energy efficient exhibition, storage, and programming space, the museum was honored with LEED silver certification.

The museum’s mission is three-fold: to be a campus resource for the entire FIU community; to offer interdisciplinary training in the arts for the next generation of artists and art historians; and to serve as a premier cultural destination for the residents of Miami, and the 15 million visitors to one of the world’s most vibrant cultural destinations – home to global cultural events including Art Basel. The Frost offers programming that complements its exhibitions with a wide range of educational initiatives.

The Steven and Dorothea Green Critics’ Lecture Series has featured internationally renowned speakers including: Christo, Susan Sontag, Frank Stella, Helen Frankenthaler, John Cage and Marina Abramović. The Kenan-Flagler Family Discovery Gallery serves as an innovative programming space that encourages children’s involvement in art through hands-on exploration.

Admission to the museum is always free. The Frost is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, and is located at 10975 SW 17 Street. Open TuesdaySaturday 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., and Sunday noon – 5:00 p.m. Closed on Mondays and most legal holidays. The Sculpture Park is open every day. More information at or 305-348-2890.

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