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Miami Art Week’s ‘sand’ piece on climate change could be made from toxic materials

MIAMI — There’s concern at Miami Art Week that a popular installation about climate change is anything but environmentally friendly, according to sources.

Artist Leandro Erlich’s much-buzzed-about work, “Order of Importance,” features 66 life-size replicas of cars and trucks constructed out of what appears to be sand along the South Beach shore. The traffic-jam replica, curated by art-world insider Ximena Caminos, is a commentary on Miami’s climate crisis.

But sources told Page Six the artist used a spray-foam insulation that contains hazardous chemicals. A source close to the project revealed that the installation was made using Sika PostFix, which, according to Home Depot’s safety-data sheet, should be kept “in suitable, closed containers for disposal.”

A rep for the Miami Tourism and Culture Office denied that the project includes the polyurethane foam product — but refused to elaborate on the actual materials. “We have spoken to the production team and this chemical was not used in any aspect of this installation,” the rep said. But when we asked what materials were used, the rep stated, “Artist process is proprietary to the artist.”

Enlarge ImageOrder of Importance by Leandro Erlich
AFP via Getty Images

Erlich and Caminos did not respond to our requests for comment.

The Home Depot info states of Sika PostFix, which is made for “supporting nonstructural posts”: “Do not empty into drains; dispose of this material and its container in a safe way. Avoid dispersal of spilled material and runoff and contact with soil, waterways, drains and sewers.” Additionally, it warns the product “may cause damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure if inhaled.”

The installation will be left to slowly degrade throughout the 15-day exhibition.

Miami Beach commissioned the installation with a $300,000 allocation, according to reports, while the whole project cost over $1 million.