The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA) will present “We’re All in This Together,” a commission by Miami-based collaborative Nice’n Easy, through August 22.
For this playful, yet thought-provoking temporary public installation, MOCA’s front fountain is cleverly transformed to resemble a swimming pool with the addition of a ladder, kitschy pool toys, and human characters. Disrupting the pleasant scene, each of the configurations of objects introduces an element of the uncanny; what seems familiar to the eye at first reveals something unexpected, humorous, and at times, dark.
The installation incorporates several individual artworks: Life Saver, Tunnel of Love, Soft Totem, Head in the Sand, But…, and Just Hang in There. In Life Saver, a hand protrudes from the water, ringed by a neon pink inner tube. The hand seems to be reaching for help, but may be unaware of how close the floatation device actually is, or disregards its potential to assist. Viewers grapple with this challenging situation, but are also reminded of the humorous internet meme Drowning High Five (circulated widely by Russian artist Gudim during the COVID-19 pandemic). In this meme, a hand emerging from water is met with a high-five and the caption “We’re all in this together,” rather than rescue. The drowning hand then slips below the waves in a tragic-comic expression of misguided optimism and denial of reality.
To commemorate the activation, MOCA hosted a virtual “Conversations at MOCA: Nice’n Easy,” on July 14 via Zoom. Nice’n Easy artists Allison Matherly and Jeffrey Noble joined “Art on the Plaza” project curator Amanda Sanfilippo Long to discuss their humorous and surprising site-specific intervention into the MOCA pond. The conversation is available here.
MOCA’s “Art on the Plaza” program is made possible with major support from the North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency.