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University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum

If there is any indoor structure I yearned for most greatly in the heart of the pandemic, it was the inner world of museums. The smell of fresh paint on gallery walls, the order, the intention, and the hushed tones. It's a meditative space for me. It's a place of inspiration. And at times it's pure humor. Is that really art? But also, how could it not be?

Heading south from our homeland in North Florida, we wanted to check out a spot that could ease us into the weekend. The University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum was just that. Small but quality, it helped set the tone for a big art-infused adventure around Tampa. More on that in the follow-up blog. We'll link it here when it's ready. For now, enjoy the sneak peak video of a quick Tampa getaway.

Located on the USF campus at 3821 USF Holly Drive, Tampa, FL 33620, this spot is a great way to spend about an hour exploring a new artist. If you're planning a low-cost date, meeting up with friends, or even reconnecting with family, this would be an excellent location to start.

On this trip, we were introduced to artist Bosco Sodi's exhibit Básico.

Básico brings together Bosco Sodi’s various sources of artistic inspiration as examples of sustainable art making. The exhibition includes a powerful group of paintings titled “Vers l’Espagne”, whose rough surfaces recall creek beds and the footpaths trod by Mexican and Central American immigrants on their way north, as well two new series Sodi made in Mexico in 2020 during pandemic lockdown: large spherical clay sculptures he has called “perfect bodies” and a series of “Sun Paintings” on chili pepper sacks, both fashioned with materials that were readily available at his studio in Oaxaca, Mexico. Also included in the exhibition are small clay sculptures made by local children, the hands-on output of a community art program developed by Sodi’s Casa Wabi Foundation, the non-profit art and community-education complex the artist founded eight years ago on Mexico’s Oaxacan Coast. Among the messages of the exhibition: challenging times demand a return to what is Básico—art, community, and education.

To learn more about Bosco Sodi, his works, community art programs, and publications, start here:

Info about the artist:

"Bosco Sodi is known for his use of raw, natural materials to create large-scale textured paintings and objects. Sodi has discovered an emotive power within the essential simplicity of his materials and the vivid pigments he sources. Sodi has described his creative process as a “controlled chaos” that makes “something that is completely un-repeatable.” Focusing on material exploration, the creative gesture, and the spiritual connection between the artist and his work, Sodi seeks to transcend conceptual barriers. In the past few years, Sodi has turned more to sculpture and the traditions of his Mexican heritage. At his studio in Oaxaca, he extracts raw earth from the ground and combines it with water and sand to form clay. He uses this elemental material, one of ancestral significance, to create minimalist sculptures.
Bosco Sodi has exhibited his work internationally and throughout the United States. In September 2021, the artist opened a major sculpture show at the Dallas Museum of Art, and completed his second public installation, Tabula Rasa, at Manhattan’s Washington Square Park. Notable institutional outings include exhibitions at the Museo Nacional de Arte, Mexico City (2017), The Noguchi Museum, New York (2015); and the Bronx Museum, New York (2010). His work is in significant public and private collections worldwide including JUMEX Collection, México; Contemporary Art Foundation, Japan; Harvard Art Museum, Massachusetts; Nasher Sculpture Center, Texas; The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C.; Walker Art Center, Minnesota; Wadsworth Athaneum Museum of Art, Connecticut; New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana; and Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, California."


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