An arts and culture program to “Reframe” Memorial Day on Miami Beach has generated controversy after an artwork was “removed at the request of the Miami Beach police” according to a handwritten sign that replaced it. The City contradicts that claim saying City Manager Jimmy Morales requested its removal. The work in question is titled Memorial for Raymond Herisse. Herisse was shot and killed by police officers during a high speed chase on Collins Avenue during Memorial Day Weekend in 2011. No officers were charged but the incident led to a change in Miami Beach Police Department policy not to shoot at moving vehicles. (Story continues following photos.)
According to Miami Beach spokeswoman Melissa Berthier, "The artwork was removed at the request of the City Manager. The purpose of the ReFrame cultural programming this past weekend was to create an opportunity for inclusiveness and mutual exchange. The City Manager felt that the panel in the one particular art installation regarding the incidents of Memorial Day weekend in 2011 did not achieve this objective. After a discussion with the curators, the piece was removed."
When asked why the note that was posted said the work was removed at the request of the Miami Beach Police and signed by the "ReFrame Team" if the curators agreed to City Manager Jimmy Morales' request, Berthier wrote in an email, "You would need to ask ReFrame that question."
RE:MiamiBeach reached out to the ReFrame curators and artist for comments as well but did not receive a response.
According to a City of Miami Beach press release announcing the event, it was the “first Memorial Day Weekend arts and culture focused program with local curators Octavia Yearwood and Jared McGriff who are collaborating with South Florida based artists to produce works that spark crucial conversations about inclusion, blackness and relationships. ReFrame: Miami Beach will speak to both residents and visitors and inspire engagement with Miami Beach cultural anchors, such as Miami New Drama at the Colony Theatre, FIU-Miami Beach Urban Studios and The Bass.” [Italics in press release.]
The release quotes Yearwood: “These activations were born from conversations with the community on ‘How can art and culture step in as a mediator to tell stories from and with different points of view?' In asking ourselves this question, Jared and I are designing an interactive program that mobilizes artists, curators and organizers. We’re looking at how institutions and public and digital spaces can be reimagined during Memorial Day weekend on Miami Beach as an opportunity to explore how to create more cohesive communities.”
The work that was removed was created by visual artist Rodney Jackson. It was displayed in the I See You, Too exhibition “about how propaganda and misinformation have compromised us,” according to the City’s announcement of the event. It was located in space at 737 Lincoln Road.
Artwork Removed from Event to “ReFrame” Memorial Day on Miami Beach:
Conflicting claims on who requested its removal
Counter programming, turning off the music, cutting off booze options being discussed
New, large-scale installations planned