Hot off the heels of Art San Diego, San Diego Art Prize winner Max Robert Daily is bringing his immersive performance pop-up installation to Spectrum Miami. The contemporary art show’s highly acclaimed Art Lab, the Oslo Sardine Bar is something you have to experience for yourself.
Daily who works in performance and visual arts, using any medium that best expresses the story he is telling. He attended the Cotsen Center for Puppetry at CalArts and performs extensively in puppetry, mime, and clowning. He is also a published author in children’s illustration books. Here’s how Daily describes the origins of the Oslo Sardine Bar concept:
“The famed sardine bar being called Oslo goes back to the short time I spent traveling the world working on freighters as a sort of merchant marine. At one point in my trip, I took up work on a Danish flagged freighter, the name of which I cannot pronounce, that later to our dismay broke down at sea. It wasn’t an emergency but a definite few days of boredom with nothing to do. I managed to gather together some of the emergency supply foods, along with a few non-perishables. And added a few bottles of Czech rum I was hoping to get back to the States.
“Anyway with these items, a portable record player, some Belafonte albums I had brought along, and a backgammon board, I opened up a makeshift bar in a supply closet and opened a porthole to provide a cool breeze. Although I was not at all a very good sailor, the men appreciated my ability to temporarily take their minds away from where they were by simply suggesting that rations presented properly could provide a comfortable meal—alongside the offering of a reimagined space made for a great place to pass the time stranded at sea.
“One of the men remarked that it reminded him of his favorite bar back home in Oslo which served nothing but sardine and herring dishes. The rest of the men made fun of him and then continued on referring to the broom closet we were in as Oslo.
“When we were first building the Oslo installation in the This is Not an Exit Gallery, founded by Bob Methaney in San Diego’s Bread and Salt Building, it was brought to my attention by my father that his uncle Oswald worked in that very building when it was the Weber Bread factory. He also told me that his mother, my grandmother, worked in a nearby tuna cannery during WWII and would bring dented and unlabeled cans of tuna, along with a cooler of beer, to the bread factory to sell to her brother and his friends on payday. They ate copious amounts of white bread smothered in mayo and canned fish. My father also says that because of the heavily diverse immigrant population in the neighborhood at the time, many of the men lacking English or having heavy accents could only get out part of my great uncle’s name. It ended up sounding like Oslo. However, my mother jokes that it was actually because they were saying Oh So sLOw—a knock at Uncle Oswald for the speed at which he worked.”