Last week I sat down with Zack Balber, the local conceptual artist behind Harry’s Riesling Pizzeria pop-up gallery commissioned by Locust Projects, to get his perspective on the grape and how it will be portrayed through his grandfather’s 1957 Polaroid camera. But Zack hadn’t come to talk fruit, exposure or aperture. “I’m going to be candid,” he started, “the truth is pretty ridiculous as it is.” Which is true, and as an artist in Miami, a city that is trying to define itself in the art world, Zack knows something about what it means to seek out truth.
His 2011 solo show at the Fredric Snitzer Gallery in Wynwood was titled Tamim, a hebrew word that means perfection. But a Google search of the word and his name reveals pictures of tattoo-covered, mohawk-wearing overweight men. Not exactly the image of perfect, in Hebrew or any other language. Balber didn’t mean the title to be ironic though, he meant for his lens to shed light on what’s shunned, hidden, or outside of a culture – like tattoos in Judaism – to show how the subjects are still pure, somehow, and true to themselves.