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Artist to Watch: Dara Friedman and “Dancer”

Dara Friedman's "Dancer"

Known for her innovative film and video installations, Dara Friedman lives and works in Miami, where she creates work that features spontaneous performances taking place in public spaces.  Reversing or looping shots, presenting fragments of a scene or an entire scene sometimes with variations in speed, the sense is always one of improvisation.  Using ambient sounds like breathing and traffic noise, the watcher gets the sense that he/she is there, watching images unfold as they happen in present time.

Like one of her previous works, Musical, where people burst into song on the streets, Friedman’s latest piece, Dancer, depicts dancers breaking into movement throughout Miami.  With approximately 60 dancers dancing alone or in pairs in roughly 40 segments, Friedman celebrates a plethora of styles including ballet, contemporary, flamenco, musical theater, ballroom, belly dancing, break dancing, pole dancing, vogueing, and skateboarding.  We see sudden outbursts of dance in the parks, on the beaches, in garages, and elsewhere, all in black and white to a soundtrack that depicts a visceral celebration of dancers exhibiting their passion, shot by an artist who embodies her own.

Co-produced by the Miami Art Museum and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, the 25 minute Dancer was presented on November 30 on a huge screen outside of Miami’s New World Center the night before the opening of Art Basel Miami Beach.  It then was placed at Brown’s gallery, where it played as a featured exhibition.

Friedman’s work has been seen throughout the country as well as internationally in spaces such as Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in NYC; the Kitchen in NYC, the Museum of Contemporary Art In LA, the Miami Art Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, as well as galleries and museums throughout Germany, Switzerland, England and more.