Beau Stanton‘s exhibition and animated installation, “Message in a Bottle” was presented by the Quattlebaum Foretich Gallery at SCOPE Miami Beach where viewers were “invited into a maritime ship chandlery, where contemporary artists have created their own message for the ages, captured inside bottles and waiting to be unlocked by their new owners.”
After wandering through the endless booths containing world class up-and-coming artists’ work, the installation for “Message in a Bottle” stood before us. Photographer Najee Forbes and I were greeted by a booth where the walls were vertically paneled with worn old-looking wood. The ship chandlery thing made sense now. The wood was adorned with shelves holding various artistic messages within different kinds of bottles and jars. They were all interpretations by a collection of artists of their version of a message in a bottle.
It was like entering a thematic, artistic take on a candy store. Gallerist Chantel Foretich stood at a table adding new water to a small fish tank atop a bronze sculpture – a message from artist Jud Bergeron. She answered questions while we looked at each piece. Some were not even bottles at all, like the fish tank. New York painter Buff Monster offered a science fiction, robot-turned-samurai action figure thing with a small sign leaning against it reading “Grettings from New York.” I had to avoid stepping on a case of glass Coke bottles on the floor. Each one of those had baby bottle nipples attached to the mouthpieces.
There were all sorts of representations here. Ted Victoria had a Coke bottle slowly rotating within a wooden box (there were several Coke based pieces). The famous Ron English contributed a weathered Starbucks Frappuccino bottle with a small hanging disco ball inside adorned with a tiny man on a pink flower. Film maker Ann Oren arranged a small glass bottle filled with cotton balls and it contained the link to a short film for whoever collected it.
One was a Crush bottle with a message resting on it by Amanda Church. One side read “I have known you for so long and loved you for even longer, ” and on the other side it read “so help me.” They did an effective job of using decoration and proper materials to make art goers feel transported into an old wooden ship – as much as possible anyway, in a huge international art fair tent.
A mock porthole showed Beau Stanton’s animation. It was a ship slowly rocking on an ocean of detailed circular patterns, with plumes billowing out of its smokestacks against an orange and yellow sky. It tied everything together and was the perfect centerpiece for the installation. Overall the concept worked perfectly and framed the collection in a way unique to many of the other installations at SCOPE. It would certainly be worth keeping an eye on Beau Stanton’s future endeavors if this is what his version of an art installation looks like.