‘Fragile Beauty’ exhibition connects Jewish artists with the environment

Miami, known for its lively nightlife, bustling art scene and wonderful beach locations, is also ground zero for sea amount increase. With the exact vigor, town officials are scrambling to locate ways to elevate properties, make earthen berms and erect tall sea walls, when concurrently organizing a weeklong showcase of artistic excellence — creating it the best spot for an exhibition of 3 artists whose perform calls interest to the troubles dealing with the ecosystem.

Mira Lehr, Lauren Shapiro and Beatriz Chachamovits are no strangers to the dichotomy. Separately, the 3 Florida-primarily based artists develop pieces that merge the splendor of nature with its harsh realities, but have appear collectively to paint an even more effective photograph with their newest joint exhibition, “Fragile Natural beauty.”

Displaying by April at the Jewish Museum of Florida in Miami Seashore, “Fragile Beauty” combines the trio’s unique operates into a more substantial message about the variations taking place to the planet and its having difficulties ecosystems. The exhibition had its official opening on Dec. 4, the final working day of Miami Beach’s yearly Art 7 days.

The seven-working day party, which this calendar year culminated in the 20th anniversary of Artwork Basel Miami Seaside earlier this month at the Miami Beach front Convention Center, provides nearby and intercontinental artists with each other for a celebration of works together the city’s coastline.

Though their collaboration was place collectively by the museum, Lehr, Shapiro and Chachamovits are content to be spreading their information together.

“Women have been imagined of as nurturing, which fits in so very well with the principle of preserving the earth. I am extremely pleased to be showing with two other female artists who are sensitive to the setting and who are helping concentration interest on it and enable safeguard it,” Lehr told Jewish Insider.

“As females, we have a more all-natural relationship with the earth just mainly because of how our human body is, how we believe, how our course of action is,” Chachamovits told JI. “We give start, our physique modifications just like mother nature alone to develop a thing new, and that romance is really deep. So in a way, three female artists that are functioning in the identical job, [coming] alongside one another to produce an exhibition, I sense that it often helps make the voice louder of the problem that requirements to be dealt with or seen…that’s ultimately, I think, what we all want to see, the adjust that we’re inquiring for.”


Lehr, who was highlighted in two other exhibitions during Art 7 days Miami Seaside in addition to “Fragile Beauty” — a group show titled “The Miami Inventive Movement” at the Centre for Visual Communication in Wynwood and a solo exhibit at Rosenbaum Present-day Gallery in Boca Raton — has been a distinguished determine in the artwork world for above 5 a long time. At 87, her work has shown in in excess of 300 solo and group exhibitions, and been showcased in museums and galleries throughout the state, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York Metropolis and the Smithsonian Museum of American Artwork in D.C. She’s been profiled by the Miami Herald, New York Instances and is the topic of a profession-spanning monograph Mira Lehr: Arc of Character.

Lehr’s profession, even so, has not been without the need of its worries. Born in Brooklyn but raised in Miami, Lehr remembers the antisemitism she confronted immediately after relocating from central to northern Miami Beach front, which was predominantly Christian.

Mira Lehr (Photo: News Travels Speedy)

“I was asked the very first day of faculty what my religion was and when I replied ‘Jewish,’ a bunch of young children reported, ‘Oh my God, one more just one!’ When going for walks home from school, a child shot a bobby pin into my ear and reported, ‘Let’s get rid of the Jews,’” she recalled.

Whilst encounters like those people created Lehr “frightened and quite conscious of being a minority,” she added that they also created her far more empathetic, empowering her to fight for social results in like climate modify and fair publicity for ladies in the arts.

In 1960, Lehr co-established Continuum in Miami Beach, a co-op gallery aimed toward highlighting feminine artists — Lehr explained to Hamptons Artwork Hub that in the Southeast at the time, ladies in art ended up all but disregarded. 

“We all hated remaining in this article,” she advised Hamptons Art Hub in 2015. “This was the boonies, no one paid consideration. Becoming a lady artist at that time was tough. I imagined, ‘I’m just carrying out this for the reason that I adore when I’m understanding. No matter what occurs, comes about.’”

Out Entrance Magazine explained Continuum to be a “space for females to understand and expand their do the job on the realms of generation.” The gallery closed in the early ‘90s after operating for 30 many years.

A self-described eco-feminist, Lehr’s very first forray into using artwork for environmental consciousness was in 1969, when she was picked, along with just one other artist, to assist in Buckminster Fuller’s “World Game” planet sustainability job.

“​​Fuller’s ‘Spaceship Earth’ eyesight was about the earth obtaining a finite amount of methods, which can not be resupplied,” Lehr claimed. “This was a year right before the incredibly to start with Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, and it was the year we despatched a mission to the moon. I figured out about linked and interconnected techniques, which underscored the require to safeguard the planet, the necessity of guarding the planet’s means, and of placing our energies in direction of accomplishing a lot more with much less.”  

“As I have manufactured my way in this world, currently being Jewish has built me a lot more sensitive to operating on topic make any difference that promotes the information of wholeness, justice and peace. I have identified, and continue to explore my voice, and communicate up for accomplishing what is ideal. Cherishing and guarding the atmosphere is some thing that is ‘right,’” Lehr claimed.

Lehr has a few parts now on screen as portion of “Fragile Beauty”: “Sacred Dreams,” which was donated to the museum as a long lasting set up, “Mangrove Sculptures” and “Below the Area.”

“Mangrove Sculptures” by Mira Lehr. (Image: News Travels Speedy)

“The suspended resins of the significant-scale aerial set up ‘Sacred Dreams’ are lit by the attractive stained glass home windows all about and bathed in the normal daylight that streams in, producing an ethereal knowledge. The strength and interconnected roots of the ‘Mangrove Sculptures’ set up, alongside with the luminous, swirling strength of ‘Below the Surface area,’ combine to evoke an appreciation of the connection among air, earth and drinking water,” Lehr said.

“These operates ideally result in viewers to not only replicate on the construction and integrity of the parts, but to expand their pondering about framework, integrity, and cohesion of the world,” she extra.


Shapiro, an artist-in-residence at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Miami, started functioning with sculpture around 15 yrs ago whilst receiving her Bachelor of Fantastic Arts diploma from Florida Atlantic University. The 38-12 months-previous went on to get a master’s in ceramics from the College of Miami. Her get the job done has been highlighted in a amount of solo and team exhibitions, and has acquired several awards, such as a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in 2019. She has appeared in publications these types of as the Miami Herald and Architectural Digest

Combining art, science and technologies, Shapiro results in her get the job done along with ecologists, studying from them and subsequently serving to “communicate their investigation to the public” via her installations.

Lauren Shapiro (Courtesy)

“If you glimpse at my work, you are going to see a lot of geometry and designs and repetition situations, and these are all mainly inspired by the hidden geometries that you see in nature and the plan that every thing is connected,” Shapiro informed JI.

“My items for the exhibit are a new sequence of objects that integrate some of these 3D scans of corals that have been loaned by researchers in the field…and they are sort of hand-constructed with these geometries and these objects that when you change on a light they illuminate, so they’re really light-weight sculptures,” she said.

For Shapiro, presenting her get the job done at the Jewish Museum of Florida felt like a reconnecting of kinds to the neighborhood she grew up in as a youngster. 

“I grew up with a additional classic loved ones, I experienced a bat mitzvah, been to Israel, I was pretty a great deal built-in with the Jewish local community when I was youthful,” she said. “Then as I’ve gotten more mature, I type of have not been as included in a lot of, lots of a long time,so it is nice to form of be in touch with my roots, specifically for artwork. This is the to start with time I’ve ever done just about anything like this for this local community, so, it kind of tends to make me come to feel at dwelling.”

Even though her exhibition sculptures, a sequence of “Crystal Coral Lamps,” make use of the techniques she has grow to be recognised for, Shapiro’s interest in the atmosphere began a lot earlier.

“I was born and lifted in South Florida, and we expended a ton of time outside in nature, and character has constantly been sort of a widespread concept in my perform as a expert artist,” Shapiro claimed.

Due to the fact then, she has traveled to places like Brazil and French Polynesia to understand about their ecosystems, but is at this time concentrated on bringing awareness to ecological alterations taking place nearer to household.

“When I bought out of grad school, I required to get that vocabulary that I developed and convert my lens on to the bigger landscape of Miami, and to kind of imagining about the problems that we’re facing below,” Shapiro reported. “We’re ground zero for sea stage rise. Our town is crafted fundamentally on zero ft of sea degree, so we’re gonna go beneath, or relatively nature’s gonna start off getting again the seashore, primarily. I’m truly interested in how individuals and nature can reside far more in tandem, more in harmony, due to the fact nobody desires to live in a barren wasteland. Every person wishes mother nature all around us, so pondering about how we can critically resolve issues and come with each other to type of advocate for these kinds of concerns.”

“Crystal Coral Lamps” installation (Photo: Pedro Wazzan)

Shapiro clarified that her “Fragile Beauty” installation is not a call to motion — as some of her many others have been — but intended to inspire people today “to make perform, or to make art, or to be innovative, or to use creativeness.”

“I think men and women get pretty overwhelmed when they assume about climate adjust. They really feel like they’re helpless,” she said.

“Art has the power to encourage people today and harness people’s emotions, simply because people really do not care about factors that they don’t understand. Or relatively, they never fully grasp issues they really do not care about, and vice versa. So when people today see some thing that evokes them or helps make them truly feel a little something, they’re more apt to care about it and want to protect it,” Shapiro included.


At first from São Paulo, Brazil, Chachamovits moved to Miami 4 a long time back. Her perform has appeared in many solo and group displays, which include at the Countrywide Museum of Rio de Janeiro, and has been showcased in Vogue and Countrywide Geographic’s training system. She is the receiver of an artist grant from The Village of Pinecrest, and wrote and illustrated a handbook of marine everyday living. 

“Beatriz and I have identified each individual other for quite a few a long time and we’re very good buddies,” Shapiro claimed of sharing an exhibition with Chachamovits, a fellow resident at Bakehouse. “She’s assisted me in some of the installations that I’ve finished when she very first got to Miami a several years ago, and I’ve helped her with some of her stuff as perfectly. We share a large amount of commonalities, widespread pals and common themes in our operate, so her and I are rather shut.”

Beatriz Chachamovits introducing her set up “To Eliminate with Water” through the opening of “Fragile Beauty” at the Jewish Museum of Florida. (Courtesy)

“Working with Lauren is generally awesome,” Chachamovits, 36, agreed. “This is not the to start with exhibition that we [have shown] with each other as well, and so obtaining her and getting this in our lives, I adore it. I adore [it] because we’re both of those ceramicists, we’re equally environmentally oriented artists — she has her have way of performing factors and I have my have way of performing items, but the way that that sum arrives alongside one another, it is really potent. So, every single time that we have a possibility of operating together or just exhibiting alongside one another I bounce at it, simply because I believe that in many methods our perform enhances every single other and it results in an exponential comprehending of the procedure and all the [problems] that [are] going on in the ecosystem.”

Chachamovits’ art focuses on the drop of the earth’s coral reefs — with individual interest to what experts say are their 3 major leads to of deterioration: coral bleaching, ocean acidification and plastic pollution — a trigger she actually swam on.

Whilst sketching seaweed all-around the island of Ilha de Boipeba all through a trip through Bahia in Northern Brazil, a stranger came up to Chachamovits and questioned if she had ever drawn the island’s corals, bringing out a pair of snorkels and providing to show them to her.

“​​He took me to this other seashore, and we dove into the ocean and went to this component of the ocean that is crammed with rocks, pretty shut to the coast…he pushed me into the ocean and shoved me within of this very small minor cave, and this cave was the most magical, most impressive detail I’ve at any time witnessed in my lifetime,” Chachamovits recalled. “It experienced minor openings on the roof so the light of the solar would shine by it, revealing and obscuring lights and designs and varieties. The cave was like 360-included in corals and very small fishes swimming from side to aspect. I could see a noticed ray just laying on the sand in the bottom and tiny critters shifting around…that day transformed me endlessly. I was so impressed by the beauty and the styles and the textures and the kind and the motion, and how harmonious every little thing was and connected to just about every other – that interconnectivity that transpires inside of the blue ocean that is so visible. It definitely strike a nerve, and when I got out of it I was like, ‘Why is not any individual speaking about this?’” 

“We spent the whole day likely in and out of that cave, and he took me to yet another spot to see more substantial corals…and that modified me for good in these a deep way that I felt, since of this working experience and for the reason that of this experience that I had inside of of me, I felt like that is my life’s function. If no just one is speaking about it, I’m heading to talk about it,” she added.

Born to a Jewish household, Chachamovits mused that it will make perception she would be drawn to the ocean — and more specially corals — acquiring arrive from such an interconnected local community.

“A coral in alone is a bunch of polyps joined collectively to sort a currently being, and I truly feel like that signifies extremely a lot what Jewish tradition is,” she said. “We all appear collectively to form a more substantial system, a greater being familiar with, a even bigger neighborhood, and in that sense…I’m looking at actually this relationship involving the ocean ecosystem and the interdependence and the symbiosis that exists, that is so vivid and is so powerful, inside of of the ocean.”

“Maybe that is what introduced me so shut to it, for the reason that I felt that in my full life. I felt that symbiosis, I felt that interdependence, I felt that collectivism and the communal element of it. And so, in that feeling I would say that there is a very distinct bridge in between what is a coral and what is a Jewish group,” Chachamovits additional.

“Being Jewish is anything that is past you. It is your identity. When you are Jewish you will always be Jewish, there is very little or no one or anything that can get that away from you,” Chachamovits reported.

Her “Fragile Beauty” installation, “To Eliminate With Drinking water,” is a performative piece designed up of three aquariums in distinctive levels of acidification. The initial has a assortment of clay-primarily based coral sculptures. The 2nd includes the same sculptures, which Chachamovits will go over with h2o — the clay will dissolve bit by bit more than time, mirroring the effect ocean acidification has on the world’s coral reefs. The third aquarium contains shapeless mounds of clay in murky drinking water, acidification’s final phase.

“To Destroy with Water” prior to acidification. (Image: Beatriz Chachamovits)

“I truly feel like a person of my most significant roles is to plant a seed of really like for the ocean,” Chachamovits stated. “I seriously want individuals to comprehend that the way that we stroll around the world and the way we walk about our lives, and the selections we make, all of them impact our ecosystem.”

“I would really like for folks to understand, in the deepest way, that we’re all connected to the water and we all want the ocean to exist and to survive [on] this earth. There is no lifestyle without having h2o, and corals are the most critical and most fragile ecosystem that we have, simply because they keep 25{d8a8d447f05f03c64398acf0d3c5a745c9c41fc784ba89cd5aecd37177dc7d51} of all lifestyle in the ocean and they are less than 1{d8a8d447f05f03c64398acf0d3c5a745c9c41fc784ba89cd5aecd37177dc7d51} of protection in the complete ocean. So it’s an critical factor for us to comprehend how gorgeous, magical and crucial they are,” she extra.