OPEN SEASON havana

OPEN SEASON havana is a public art project in the form of "baseball" trading cards conceptualized by Miami-based artist Julie Lara Kahn in collaboration with Miami-based curator Susan Caraballo, Havana-based curators Nahela Hechavarría and Aylet Ojeda Jequín and 88 "players" in the Havana art community including: artists, collectors, curators, critics, and museum directors. OPEN SEASON havana trading began during the IX Havana Bienal with actors and actresses from Havana's Teatro El Público costumed as cigarette girls and boys swapping 5-packs of cards for objects offered by the general public -- ranging from house keys and underwear to drawings and dreadlocks. The trading will continue on this side of the Florida Straights with actors and actresses from Miami’s Circ X engaging the public at a series of events and openings in Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach. The project will culminate in an exhibition of the full set of cards along with the collected trade objects and video from both Havana and Miami later in 2007.

OPEN SEASON havana is fashioned after the traditional American pastime of collecting and trading baseball cards. However, unlike baseball cards which were originally designed as a marketing scheme to sell chewing gum, the OPEN SEASON havana 5-packs are available for trade only and are designed to nurture interaction, community and creativity. Each card has a portrait of an individual "player" on the front and personal "statistics" on the back culled from answers to a questionnaire. The cards are packaged in random sets of 5 with checklist and chewing gum. In order to collect the full set of 88 cards, participants must engage in trade. Acceptable trade currency includes: drawings, stories, songs, random acts of kindness and vernacular objects infused with sentimental value.

OPEN SEASON havana is the second set of cards in the OPEN SEASON series. Julie Lara Kahn launched the first set, OPEN SEASON miami, to engage the diverse Miami art community in anticipation of Art Basel's arrival in Miami Beach in 2002. The cards provided a snapshot of the Miami art community at an historic moment and continues to reverberate both within and outside the local community - selling, trading and traveling. OPEN SEASON miami has been exhibited in Miami, Los Angeles and Puerto Rico.

In a similar vein, OPEN SEASON havana provides a snapshot of the renowned Havana art community during a critical moment in the Cuban cultural and political climate against the backdrop of two important international art fairs, the Havana Bienal and Art Basel. The 5-packs are designed to spur collecting and trading among an international public in Havana and abroad, provoking dialogue about contemporary topics including: the nature of community, collecting, collaboration, participation, vulnerability, identity, trade and the marketplace.

At the crossroads of visual art, performance and commerce, OPEN SEASON builds on artist Julie Lara Kahn's ongoing body of work aimed at accessing our "true" stories, creating dialogue and developing community through participatory art. It is an opportunity to examine the very concept of "community" while exploring boundaries between local and imported, internal and external, individual and community, public and private, art and commerce, sports and culture.

This project was made possible with the support of Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, Artemis, SFCA’s interdisciplinary Sound Arts Workshop, Teatro El Público, Circ X, Casa de las Americas, Centro Wifredo Lam, Ingalls & Associates, Faktura Gallery, Miami Light Project and Krelwear.