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Art Salon: “Space, Place, Interaction” with Karen Rifas

February 2, 2021, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Join us on Zoom for this FREE virtual art salon.
to register in advance for this meeting.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Attendance at Art Salons is FREE, thanks to a generous donation by Ezra Hubbard.

About the Speaker

Karen Rifas is known for large scale architectural installations in three media: leaf and cord installations, cord and mural installations, and colorful solid geometric shapes in two and three dimensions. Rifas’ 20-year collaboration with choreographer and dancer Dale Andre animates her installations in a way that expresses how Rifas, once a dancer herself, thinks about space. Of the first mode, a stand-out example was in the Acqua restaurant in Miami’s Four Seasons hotel; in 2004 Richard Lorie wrote in the New York Times that “the art in question was a piece by the Miami artist Karen Rifas in which actual leaves were sewn in patterns that shimmered entrancingly in the changing air currents of the room.”

Her exhibition at MDC Museum of Art + Design, curated by Jeremy Mikolajczak, presented 19 years of her installation work in the Oolite Walgreens Window, private residences, galleries, and museums in the form of her scale models for them. She told George Fishman, who wrote about the exhibition in the Miami Herald, “My work is about understanding space — imagining, utilizing it and enhancing it.[…]In my work I try to encompass.”

The third body of work transitioned from quite minimal to broadly colorful and expansive. Describing Rifas’ show at the Bass Museum of Art in 2018, Sandra Schulman of the Palm Beach ArtsPaper wrote that her installation was “a joyous contained geometric exploration of color in materials and shapes as diverse as paint, vinyl, paper, and three-dimensional sculptural boxes and benches and rugs. The colors are juicily non-primary with teal blue, blood orange, hibiscus pink, lilac lavender and sunset red popping on the walls and floors.”

Schulman’s descriptions and synopsis crystallized the magnitude of Rifas’ achievement. Schulman continued: “This is Rifas’ first solo museum exhibition in over 10 years and you can tell she had fun playing with the malleability of perception. She’s been working this territory for a long time, playing with lines in space by threading leaves or string across rooms and space. This creates shapes both inner and outer, art that is Pop and Op. It’s particularly suited to Miami, where the light, flora, and architecture sings in these rich, tropic colors year round.”

Karen Rifas (Chicago, b. 1942) has shown nationally and internationally since the 1980s. She is the second recipient of The Michael Richards Award, presented by Oolite Arts. This award is given to a Miami-based artist who has created a recognized body of original, high-quality works over a sustained period of time, and who, through his or her practice, is achieving the highest levels of professional distinction in the visual arts. She was also awarded Residency at the de la Cruz Collection (2010), South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship for the Visual and Media Artists (2005), and Florida Visual Arts fellowship (2002-03) and (1997-98).

Rifus’s solo show at The Bass Museum of Art in 2018 was extremely well-received. In 2020, the Bass Museum of Art commissioned a series of banners by Rifas for their Art Outside initiative. Her work is represented in many public and private collections, including Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico, The Bass Museum of Art, Fairchild Tropical Gardens, Oolite Arts, NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale, Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Miami-Dade Art in Public Places Trust, and Perez Art Museum Miami.

Karen Rifas has also had solo exhibitions at Emerson Dorsch Gallery (2017, 2020), Meetinghouse Gallery (2016), MDC Museum of Art + Design (2015), De la Cruz Collection (2010), Pinnacle Gallery, Savannah College of Art and Design (2007), Polk Museum of Art (2004), Art Center South Florida (now Oolite Arts) (1997) and Museo De Arte Contemporaneo, Panama City (1993). She has exhibited in numerous group shows and presented the following projects: Notices in Mutable Terrain, curated by Adler Guerrier, Fundación Atchugarry (2019); Selections from Karen Rifas Papers: Defining Space, Women Artist Archive (2019); Transphysics: istwa, landscapes and paisajes, curated by William Cordova, Art and Culture Center, Hollywood (2017), 100+ Degrees in the Shade: A Survey of South Florida Art, curated by Jane Hart (2015), MIA-BER, Berlin Arts Club (2014), Following the Line, Girls’ Club Collection (2012), I Triennial, Santo Domingo (2010), globe miami island, curated by Robert Chambers, DC Museum of Contemporary Art (2002) and The Bass (2001).

Karen and Harold Rifas have just published a book of photographs, “TWENTYSIX FUNERAL HOMES MIAMI FLORIDA”. Their dedication notes ‘With a nod to Edward Ruscha’s “TWENTYSIX GASOLINE STATIONS” ‘we acknowledge with reverence those who were among us who have passed away from COVID-19’.

Rifas lives and works in Miami, Florida. She received a BFA (1985) and MFA (1987) from the University of Miami. She taught at New World School of the Arts for many years, as well as at Kendall Campus of Miami Dade College and the University of Miami. Her work is represented by Emerson Dorsch Gallery in Miami, Florida.

About the Art Salons

The Art Salons are a unique gathering place for artists from throughout the South Florida region. They offer thoughtful presentations by influential professional artists whose artwork is being shown in museums and galleries in South Florida, nationally and internationally. Presenters show their work and talk about their influences, followed by stimulating discussions between the artist and the audience. These discussions cover the gamut of contemporary conceptual art practices, including cultural, socio/political, environmental, scientific, race and gender focused and aesthetic practices, the materials and techniques used to convey these ideas, and how our own work relates to the world of contemporary art. Art Salons also offer the opportunity to explore the practical side of being an artist, enhance professional development, share useful resources, and network with other artists. Art Salons have been facilitated by Elle Schorr, in conjunction with the ARMORY ART CENTER in West Palm Beach, since 2012. All are welcome to join in these timely explorations.

The Art Salons will now be presented virtually on Zoom! Tuesdays, once a month, from October to May from 7pm to 9pm.
See the Armory calendar for dates or visit



February 2, 2021
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Elle Schorr
View Organizer Website