MOCA North Miami Presents “We’re All in This Together,” by Miami-Based Collaborative Nice’n Easy
The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA) is pleased to present its most recent “Art on the Plaza” commission, “We’re All in This Together” by Miami-based collaborative Nice’n Easy from July 9 through Aug. 22. “We’re All in This Together” attempts to navigate the line from when a mystic truth becomes a cliché.
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, bright, kitschy pool toys and human characters. Disrupting the pleasant scene, each of the configurations of objects introduce an element of the uncanny; what at first seems familiar to the eye reveals something unexpected, humorous, and at times, dark.
The overall installation incorporates several individual artworks: in Life Saver, a single hand protrudes alarmingly from the water, ringed by a neon pink inner tube. The hand that seems to be reaching for help may be unaware of how close the floatation device actually is, or is in blatant disregard of its potential to help. Viewers are challenged to grapple with this life-or-death 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 abject denial of reality. Additional pieces, Tunnel of Love, Soft Totem, Head in the Sand, But…, and Just Hang in There further trouble these notions of escapism, surrender, and disavowal.
Nice’n Easy is a collaborative endeavor by artists Allison Matherly and Jeffrey Noble. Focused on creating immersive mixed media installations, Nice’n Easy develops a visually cohesive subtropical vernacular with their material choices and use of repeated motifs. Often referencing themes of self-help, recovery, and interpersonal dependency, their fabricated environments utilize romantic tropes to enhance the collective emotive truisms between participants and create a platform for intimate exchange.
To commemorate the activation, MOCA is hosting the free, virtual public programming event, “Conversations at MOCA: Nice’n Easy,” on Wednesday, July 14 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Nice'n Easy artists Allison Matherly and Jeffrey Noble will be joined by “Art on the Plaza” project curator Amanda Sanfilippo Long as they discuss their humorous and surprising site-specific intervention into the MOCA pond. The conversation will be available on mocanomi.org following the event.
MOCA’s “Art on the Plaza” program is made possible with major support from the North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency.