ASC Art Service at de la Cruz Collection by Fengxin Ma

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My assigned area at the de la Cruz Collection

Part of the course requirement, I completed my art service hours at the de la Cruz Collection during Art Basel Week.

As one of the most promonient collectors of contemporary arts, the de la Cruz Collection is located at the heart of the Design District, welcoming over hundreds of visitors around the world on a daily basis. The de la Cruz Collection is a large warehouse with hundreds of pieces of artwork displayed throughout. The warehouse is divided into three floors. The main floor is showcased pieces from the permanent collection of the institution – Felix Gonzalez, Nate Lowman, Kelley Walker, etc. The second and third floor showcase mainly some of the past exhibitions such Cosima von Bonin, Laura owens, Peter Doig, Gabriel Orozco, Ana Mendieta etc.

I have multiple roles in completing the service hours at the de la Cruz Collection. My main primary role was to act as a security guard for the artworks that is in my assigned area. I was assigned to be on the second floor, overwatching artworks from Laura Owens and Cosima von Bonin, and the art installation from Kelley Walker and Wade Guyton. My responsibilities was to ensure visitors are precautions with the artwork and ensuring each art piece is respected. Being part of the de la Cruz team, I was also expected to have a general knowledge about each art pieces in my area. I was not only a security guard, but also a mini guide of my area. I will interact with the visitors, provide them with information regarding the institution or the art piece, and address any questions or concern they have. I also collaborated with other team members of the de la Cruz Collection to ensure the operation of the institution runs smoothly. We need to ensure all part of the gallery is taken care of and ensure all visitors are satistfy with their experience.

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Art installation by Guyton and Kelley Walker

I would have to say doing my service hours at the de la Cruz Collection is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I completed this service hours at the right time – Art Basel Week- and at the right institution. Because of the fame the institution, it drawn in a lot of prominate figures from the art world into the space, from Museum Directors to an artist from the costal Mexico. I had an opportunity to meet and speak with some of the most interesting people I’ve ever meet, they shared their thoughts, their love for art, and what brought them into the Collection. Especially during Art Basel Week, it brought in hundreds of visitors from different countries. Seeing the countless amount of people travels thousands and thosands miles to come to Miami for Art really emphasis how powerful Art can be. Through the interaction with vistors, I get to learn a lot more information regarding the pieces I lookafter, some share their experience in collecting the art piece from the artist and some their experience with actually interact with the artist itself. It is amazing what art can do. It is art that brought the de la Cruz Collection into a such prominenate role in the art world, it is art that drawn in so many visitors around the world, and it is art that I had an opportunity to meet with some the of greatest people.

Proof of Hours

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ASC See Miami : Vizcaya By Fengxin Ma

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About the Author

My name is Fengxin Ma, you may call me Francine. I was born in China and raised in Miami. I’m currently a Junior at FIU studying Finance and Computer Science. I love to travel the world and meet different people for the opportunity of learn about their culture and background. This is why I’m so deeply in love with photography. I want capture unforgettable memories and places in hope that one day when I’m old I can look back and reflects on all the wonderful things I’ve done. I have a fascination of what mother nature and human can do. It creates the most enchanting sights and arts. With my fascination in things and an adventurous heart, I hope I will always be exploring and bringing what the most our planet can offer through my camera.

Geography

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Location of Vizcaya provided by Vizcaya.org

The current address of Vizcaya is 3251 South Miami Ave, Miami, FL, 33129. It is located at North Coconut Grove, along the shores of Biscayne Bay. The Museum is right off I-95 and about a ten-minute drive from Downtown Miami. Vizcaya offers free parking for all visitors, however, parking space on site are upon availability because there are only two parking lots. If the main parking lot has reaches its full capacity, visitors can park on the parking lot at the west side of South Miami Avenue.

Vizcaya strongly encourages visitors to utilize the public transportations to get to the museum. Visitors can take the Miami-Dade Metrorail and exit at the Vizcaya Station. When using Metrorail, visitors can cross US 1 on the pedestrian bridge, then continues along 32nd road to South Miami Avenue. Once the visitor cross SW 32nd street, it processed to the Vizcaya Entrance Drive that is cross from South Miami Avenue. Visitors may follow the pedestrian routes to the Admission Booth. The Vizcaya Metro station is about ten-minute walk from the site. Alternative method of getting to the Vizcaya via Public Transportation is through the Miami Trolley. Visitors can take the Brickell Route to stop #39 on a Northbound trolley, or stop #15 on a Southbound trolley.

The geographical location of the Vizcaya has played a crucial factor in attracting visitors. It is conveniently designed for guests to have multiple ways to reach the destination through different transportation systems. This allows the visitors to access the site without any disruption and has certainly played an encouragement factor in marketing. The construction of Vizcaya has play a critical role in the Miami real estate market by causing an appreciation to the real estate around it. It provided a leverage to housing and the community by attracting investors to the area. Ultimately caused an improvement to the neighborhood and the raise of real estate prices.

History

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Portrait of James Deering

The story of Vizcaya begins with the arrival of James Deering to Miami in 1910. James Deering was a millionaire from South Paris, Maine. His main source of income comes from his family’s agricultural equipment manufacturing company: Deering Harvester Company. During Deering’s senior years, he was diagnosed with pernicious anemia, a health condition that his family doctor suggested to him to move to a warm climate. This condition served as a catalyst for Deering to move to South Florida.

The plan of Vizcaya begins in 1910 when James Deering purchased 180 acres of land in Coconut Grove from Mary Brickell. The Vizcaya has two parts: Main House and Garden. The architectural design of the main house was led Francis Burral Hoffman, a brilliant architect from New York City and studied art at Ecole des Beaux in Paris. Hoffman collaborated closely with Paul Chalfin, the interior designer of Vizcaya, who is an artist originated from New York but studied art at Ecole des Beaux in Paris and later stayed at American Academy in Rome. He was introduced to James Deering by Elsie de Wolf.  The Garden of Vizcaya was led by landscape architect Diego Suarez. Suarez was born in Bogota, Columbia and studied architecture in Italy. Suarez began working with James Deering and Paul Chalfin in June 1914.

Mission

The mission of Vizaya is: Preserve, Engage, Connect, Understand, Shape.

The mission of Vizcaya is to preserve the history and protect them. Vizcaya has a strong emphasis in preserving the history because they believe it is important to take care of what is being pass on. The principle of Vizcaya is for people to engage in connecting with the past, it provides visitors with the understanding of how things came to be and directly help shapes their value and cultural understanding. Through their engagement of the past, people can apply their findings to the present. Essentially, it allows the Vizcaya to fulfill its mission by providing a platform for people to connect with the past, understand the present and shape the future.

Access

Visitors can enjoy the Vizcaya Estate and Gardens during the week from Wednesday through Monday. Their hours of operation go from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. However, Vizcaya offers extended hours on holidays to allow visitors to marvel the sunset over the beautiful marina behind the estate.

Visitors can expect to pay anywhere from ten to twenty-two dollars based on their age, with United States military veterans and activity military personnel going in free of charge. There is a myriad of discounts available through culturally funded programs in Miami Dade County; for example, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs offers free admission on select days to senior citizens through their Golden Ticket program.

For those who chose to enjoy the estate all year-round, there are membership deals that grant pass holders reduced fees and perks. The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens put thought into their membership program by curating different levels based on the amount and status of people. The types of membership based on amount of people are individual, dual, family for the soloist, couple, and household who want to admire the century old estate. While those who choose to give more can opt for the preservationist and conservator package. However, not everyone can afford the hundreds of dollars for a year-long membership, so college students can pay a reduced rate while enjoying some of the benefits other members get.

If one choses to spend their day amongst Mediterranean revival architecture and blossoming flowers, at the ticket counter they would see the following hours of operations and prices.

Hours of Operation:

OPEN: Wednesday-Monday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm

Entry to various parts of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens closing time

Estate at 4:30 pm

Main House at 5:00 pm

Gardens at 5:30 pm

Admission Prices:

Adult (18 and older)                                                                                                  $22

Seniors (65 and older with ID)                                                                                $16

College students with ID                                                                                           $15

Teens (13-17)                                                                                                               $15

Child (6-12)                                                                                                                  $10

Visitors with wheelchairs                                                                                        $10

Children (5 and under)                                                                                             Free

United States military veterans and active duty US military personnel with ID        Free

About the Main House

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The Blue Print of the Vizcaya Main House

 

The construction of Vizcaya started in 1912 and is complete on Christmas Day of 1916. The main house is built with the inspiration of Spanish and Italian architect design, however, due to the warm climate and the environment that Vizcaya is at, Hoffman emphasized many Mediterranean architect elements to better suit the South Florida Climate. Other than its beautiful European exterior, the main house also utilized a moat on its surroundings, and it was later filled with cacti. This feature was originally used to discourage trespassers and protect the property itself. The main house has a total of 54 rooms and an open living space at the heart of the house. The living space is an open courtyard at the center of the house. The living space was built with the intention of James Deering wanted to take full advantage of the environment around it. The main house was designed with a symmetrical façade on the east side, it opens onto the terrace and subsiding towards the water. The façade on the west side of the house used to welcome visitors. It is not as glamorously decorated as the house, perhaps it is very simple that creates a contrast to the elaborate décor of the house. The north façade leads to the swimming pool of the house, and the south façade opens to the garden.

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Enclosed Loggia Room

The interior design of the house was led by Paul Chalfin. With a total of 54 rooms (34 of them are open to visitors), each room was carefully thought out and decorated with a different theme. Visitors may walk into one room that is Renaissance-inspired and walk into another room that is Baroque inspired. The first floor of the house is served as the reception of the house. The first floor is surrounded by the Library, Music Room, Kitchen, and the Dining Room with open access to the main living space – the courtyard. The second floor is more for personal usage. It included guest suit, James Deering’s bedroom, Breakfast Room and the Kitchen. The details of the house are put together by little pieces, ranging from painting Chalfin found in Europe that suggested to have the same last name as James Deering but have no ancestry history to hiring a painter to paint marble-like looking artifacts on the wall. One of the décors of the room was a painting Each room is designed around objects and artifacts from Italy. According to the Vizcaya.org, the main house serves as a memory book. It suggests the pass of time through the accumulation of artifacts and memories.

Despite its Baroque look, the Vizcaya has some of the most advanced technology could offer at that time. Many of these technologies include generator, water filtration system, telephone, dumbwaiter, refrigerator, vacuum cleaning system, elevator, and partial automatic laundry room.

The main house of Vizcaya played a significance in history. It offered knowledge of the architectural technology that was utilized during the period but also offered an insight view of the people living at the time. The implement of technologies in the house provides visitors knowledge of how modern-day technology came to be and see the progression of technology through the presentation of the old and the new.

About the Garden

The Vizcaya Garden is a stunningly designed showcase of flora, which captivates visitors from all over the world. This landmark offers a magnificent blend of art, the ocean and the flora of Miami. These gardens are a form of art themselves, displaying beautiful, intricate layouts of plants strategically meant to complement the beautiful architecture of the house and its surroundings. These gardens represent a dance between the beauty of man-made structures interlaced with the beauty of nature as the garden is adorned with multiple fountains and sculptures.

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The Secret Garden

 

The garden is designed to be a romantic get away. Walking through the garden, you will see the it offers many spots and opportunities for lovers to showcase their affection. The emphasis of love is displayed throughout the garden, ranging from the Secret Garden to the Theater Garden, each location is carefully thought out to be an outdoor room.

Since its beginnings, this garden was carefully planned with an aged aesthetic, Diego Suarez, the landscape architect, strategized the type of tree and the material of the structures within the garden to obtain this look which has only strengthened throughout the years. This estate holds a variety of exotic flora which is carefully protected even by the layout of the gardens themselves. Suarez took inspiration from Europe, Africa, Asian and even the South Florida natural ecosystem to design different parts of the garden, making it a mult
icultural artistic masterpiece in and out of itself. The gardens as a unit, along with their location and their purpose to preserve, make the Vizcaya Gardens a national landmark and a piece of South Floridian history.

Collection

The Holy Trinity, Seat of Mercy

One of the missions of the Vizcaya Museum is to restore art, not only to its original state

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The Holy Trinity, Seat of Mercy

but to its original owners as well. During World War II, the way Nazis destroyed the
nations they invaded was by diminishing their culture. They accomplished this by
stealing national artwork and hiding them away as commanded by Hitler. Vizcaya came across one of these stolen pieces of art called The Holy Trinity, Seat of Mercy by George Pencz. After careful research on the piece, the restoration-ists discovered this painting was stolen from the Warsaw National Museum and immediately returned it to its proper home. This example of one the past pieces in the estate’s collection exemplifies its mission to keep art in its ideal form and proper home.

Light Fixtures

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Light fixtures

Hanging above everyone’s heads and lighting the way into the night are the light fixtures scattered throughout the property. A major conservation project was spearheaded by Rosa Lowinger & Associates, a notable conservation firm. In order to restore the light fixtures that were damaged by a century’s worth of marine exposure, the team of electrical engineers, metal smiths, and conservationists extensively studied what was before them before repairing it.

The team went through meticulous work to restore the fixtures made of metal and glass. The fixtures were cleaned, repaired the corrosion, refinished the surface, and rewired them back into place. In order to ensure these fixtures could last another century, the conservation firm redesigned the fixtures so they could be removed from the façade of the house during hurricane season. It would be shocking to note that all this work was put in for only two pairs of light fixtures but exemplifies Vizcaya’s drive to maintain the integrity of its estate.

The Garden Mound

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The Garden Mound of Vizcaya

Aside from the Main House and marina is the Vizcaya Gardens designed by the infamous landscape architect, Diego Suarez. Those who visit the gardens could not miss the Garden Mound that effectively blocks the house from sight. Suarez intentionally did this to block the strong sunrays from blinding the visitors who want to stroll along the garden path.

The Garden Mound features an ornate stone staircase bordered by two stone walls. For those starting from the house, they can enjoy the luscious greenery reflected in the pond before making their way up the stairs. Their descent will take them to a large alcove where many dignitaries have made speeches and enjoyed parties there. In the Garden Room, President Reagan addressed the media with Pope John Paul II while President Clinton held the First Summit of the Americas meeting. The Garden Mound has served as a venue for political events that has seen many historical figures resolve problems and enjoy some free time.

Visitor

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Salam Hachem at the Vizcaya
  • Have visited the Vizcaya before? What is your reason in visiting?

My visit to the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens was prompted by my fascination with the old architecture that stood as a stark contrast to the buildings around it. I had passed by the property a few times and wanted to know more about the building that was shielded by its high walls and trees. After doing some research on the estate, I needed to see the place for myself in real life and decided to take a trip there.

  • What is your favorite part about the Vizcaya? Why?

My favorite part of the estate was the rooms in the Main House. The gardens and marina have their own personality and flare, however the deep, dark woodwork against the bright marble floors kept me wanting to explore every design etched in its old wood. What made this feature of the house even more enchanting was the unique patterns based on the type of room in the house. Rooms saved for certain select guests had furniture and artwork that featured elements that were distinct to its occupant. This showed how much care was put into this house and how the owner wanted to create a place for people to come together and feel at home.

  • What did you enjoy the most about Vizcaya?

The best part of visiting Vizcaya was its ability to transport its visitors back in time. Even if someone is wearing modern clothes and armed with the latest phone, you could not help but feel like you could be in the 1920’s.

  • Would you consider visiting the Vizcaya again? Why or Why Not?

Going to Vizcaya is a treat one can only enjoy every so often. Since the estate does not have rotating exhibits, one would find themselves seeing the same thing every time they visit. For those who live in South Florida, taking a trip to Vizcaya once is a must but going back is up to the person. I would wait a couple years until the details of the marble halls and open courtyards are hazy in my memory. If the estate offered more exhibits or special events, I would see myself going back more often.

  • What do you feel about the impact that the Vizcaya has made ?

The impact that Vizcaya has on our society, specifically in Miami, is a grand reminder of what our city used to be like. Since schools in Miami Dade county do not require students to learn about Floridian history, this is the best option for people to learn about the city they live in.

Portrait

Alberto Aquistapace

Visitor Services Associate

Contact :The Vizcaya

3251 South Miami Ave

Miami, FL, 33129

Telephone : 305-250-9133

  • What is your name ?

Alberto Acquistapace

  • What is your job title ?

Visitor Service Associate

  • What is your inspiration to work at the Vizcaya?

I have always wanted to work inside a museum and I feel like the historical value of museum in context to Miami Dade is really important, and I want to be part of that.

  • How do you feel about your job position?

I like it , I think this is a good opportunity to participate and interact with customer in form of like a stronger customer service experience.

  • What do you enjoy the most about working in Vizcaya ?

Well its really beautiful, so I enjoy that. I really like history, so be able to work at place that has a lot history behind it is really nice and quite enjoyable.

  • Do you feel like the Vizcaya is easy accessible to the public?

I think so but at the same time I feel like we could have a stronger presence.  I mean there are people that lived in Miami their whole life and they never heard of Vizcaya till they finally come here. We probably could do something a little bit more to do to be more presence.

  • What is your favorite part about the Vizcaya? Why?

My favorite part is the first floor especially the enclosed loggia room. Obviously because it has that one wall faces the garden that completely made of stain glass and I really like the pastel colors all around the room. The western and Greek inspired decoration.

Summary

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 The Vizcaya Main house

The Vizcaya museum is a time machine for visitors within a modernized city. The fifty-acre estate, originally home to James Deering, offers Miami locals as well as visitors a unique blend of nature and art. The European architecture of this historical landmark juxtaposes the Latin-American and Caribbean culture found all across the city of Miami and its suburbs. Vizcaya offers the community a variety of programs and activities that promotes bonding among the attendants. Additionally, many of these programs preserve the hopes of James Deering, a known environmentalist, by encouraging the community to learn to care of the environment and appreciate art. The estate promotes knowledge in the arts, history, flora and fauna, making it the perfect destination for the youth of Miami. The location is in the less hectic part of Miami, Coconut Grove, offering a tranquil and welcoming environment; it is the perfect location to encourage both tourists and locals to visit. The art within the estate itself is a magnet for art enthusiasts all over the world, which is only elevated by the ambience of the location. The European-Renaissance style architecture, the art, and the history make it a perfect educational, calm place within the restless Miami life.

The Vizcaya is a stunningly designed showcase, which captivates visitors from all over the world. It offers an amazing educative experience to people of all backgrounds with its affordable prices. The Vizcaya Gardens have been one of the most popular spots for coming of age or “quinceañera” pictures for generations among Hispanic families, as well as wedding and maternity photoshoots, holding a dear place among the memories of many Miamians. This landmark offers a magnificent blend of art, the ocean and the fauna of Miami, displaying a peek into Miami: a place filled with ecological wonders and a mixture of cultural art forms. These gardens are a form of art themselves, displaying beautiful, intricate layouts of plant strategically meant to complement the beautiful architecture of the house and its surroundings. This piece of land creates a world of its own within the city of Miami, it has served its original purpose of preserving the environment from future construction.

 

References

https://johnwbailly.com/lectures/vizcaya/

https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/the-painting-the-holy-trinity-seat-of-mercy-is-on-display-news-photo/687386

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Art Society Conflict: Fengxin Ma

Hi, my name is Fengxin Ma, but you can also call me Francine. I’m currently a junior at FIU, majoring in Finance. I love to travel and explore new places. Lately, I’ve been quite into photography, I hope to capture different view of Miami through this class.

Art Society Conflict “Norton as Text”

Garden by the villa by Fengxin Ma of FIU in Norton Museum on 9/22/2019

Exploring throughout the Norton Museum, I was greeted by numerous beautiful paintings. From Gothic Paintings to Modern Art, every piece seems to be telling a story.

Professor Bailey walked our class through the museum, introduced us about different art pieces in different eras and different artists. He lectured us about the history of the arts, the styles of the art, and its influence on society. There was one painting specifically that I just could not stop thinking about: Garden of the Villa by Monet.

There is something about that painting that I just could not stop starring at it. It first caught my eyes was the colors in the paintings. It was lively and vibrant. It instantly brought me into the summer haze. Staring into the painting, I could see what my professor was talking about – the flow of the brushes the artist utilizes – it looks like the plants were dancing along with winds, moving gracefully like a ballerina. The painting brought me a sense of ease, a sense of relaxation. It brought me back to a piece of my childhood memories, where I could just wander into the forest, skip through bushes of flowers, and run into squirrels that are looking for their favorite treats. I just could not take my eyes off it. The painting just seems to sparks a little joy into my heart and brought me a sense of peace.

My encounter with this piece made me realize that less is more. This piece might not be the one that tells the most exciting story, but it did bring in something to me that other paintings fail to do.

Garden by the Villa by Monet

Art Society Conflict “ Deering as Text”

I’ve lived in Miami for ten years, I thought I knew every side of Miami until this day. Hiking through the woods at Deering Estate, I encountered the other side of Miami. A side that not many people know of, including me, a side that seems to be forgotten by the world. 

The hike opened my eyes to a different perspective of Miami. It introduced me to the history of Miami. It shared the artifacts and the remains of the natives that origin in Miami. 

One of the sites that I encountered was the Paleo-Indian archaeological Cutler Fossil Site. It was surrounded by an environment that you would think it is from the Amazons. It was so beautiful that I could not stop myself from taking pictures. It feels like you stepped into a jungle, only you and nature. The sacred site was filled with the history of Miami; It lies the Paleo-Indians’ remains, the tools they used, and even animals’ remains. Our tour guide, Vanessa, shared some pieces of the tools that the Paleo-Indians used, she also shared some of the archaeological findings that came out of the site. It was fascinating. 

We went on two hikes at Deering Estates. The first hike was to the Paleo-Indian archaeological Cutler Fossil Site. The second hike was to the Pre-Spanish Tequesta Burial Mound. On this hike, I was greeted by numerous spiders and mosquitos, but most importantly the beautiful scenery. Vanessa introduced us to solution holes and other plants that I’ve never seen before throughout the hike. Seeing all these allow me to have a better understanding of Miami. It allows me to connect with nature once again.

Art Society Conflicts “THE MARGULIES COLLECTION AS TEXT”

The Margulies collection is not something new to me. I’ve visited a year ago. Though I was there a year, the interpretation of each art piece seems to change a bit. A year ago, I walked into this gallery to only take pretty pictures; today, I walked in intending to understand each art piece. Two art displays caught my attention. One is the display of the superheroes in their senior years at the Margulies Collection. I was especially touched by this display because it reminds me of “nothing lasts forever.”  Seeing this display brings me a lot of thoughts. The thought of growing up, the thought of the time, and the thought of reality. Like these superheroes in the display, age is inevitable. We will all reach that point of life where we won’t be the same anymore, even if you are superheroes. Superheroes are human too, they will age too. Nothing lasts forever, but you could always cherish the memories that were made. 

Another art piece that caught my attention was a painting from the De La Cruz Collection. I cannot pinpoint what exactly made me felt so in touch with this painting, but when I saw it, I was like “wow”. Maybe it is something I’ve been desired: peace. The painting might predominately be painted in a very aggressive color- red- but somehow I found peach within. It like a summery night, with stars glazing and the boat rolling. I could almost feel the wind and peacefulness of the ocean in the middle of the night. Sometimes, less is more.

Another art piece that caught my attention was a painting from the De La Cruz Collection. I cannot pinpoint what exactly made me felt so in touch with this painting, but when I saw it, I was like “wow”. Maybe it is something I’ve been desired: peace. The painting might predominately be painted in a very aggressive color- red- but somehow I found peach within. It like a summery night, with stars glazing and the boat rolling. I could almost feel the wind and peacefulness of the ocean in the middle of the night. Sometimes, less is more.

Art Society Conflicts ” Vizcaya as Text ”

After living in Miami for ten years, I’ve finally visited the Vizcaya for the first time. I’ve always heard of it but never been to it. I’ve always loved European culture, its arts, architecture, and way of life. Visiting the Vizcaya has truly opened my eyes to a true European style Mansion. I was mostly impressed by the interior design of the house. It’s like a box of chocolate, you never know what’s next. Every room in the Vizcaya mansion is a different theme in different periods of history, from the Romans to the Renaissance. Every room is elaborately decorated as you can feel how detail-oriented James Deering is. 

One of my favorite rooms in the Vizcaya is the room that is inspired by the Romans. This room particularly caught my eyes is the fact that the room was not installed with real marbles. The room was instead decorated with painted marbles. Because of the painted marbles, it created a large societal influence at the time. This is what fascinates me the most, such simple action to make up for the demand of what others have has instantly become a fashion statement that stormed the upper society at that time. 

The Garden of the Vizcaya also took my heart by storm. From the secret garden to the intricate landscaping that is utilized throughout the whole back yard of the mansion, the attempt of implementing European style gardening is certainly impressive. It demonstrated the power of men trying to dominate nature and showcase the exercise of power. 

The trip to Vizcaya is unforgettable. Not only it showcased the other side of Miami, but it gives me a deeper understanding of history. 

Design District as Text

It almost seems surreal as I step into another great art work by Yayoi Kusama. I had an opportunity to visit Japan in the past summer, and one of the most memorable moment was when I step into one of the infinity light rooms designed by Yayoi Kusama. It was miraculous. I never thought I will be able to see one of them in Miami. 

            It took me by surprise when I found out that ICA had Kusama’s work in display. The opportunity that I get to be in the room full of pumpkins and polka dots sparked a little joy in me. The room was lighted up in a warm yellow tone. It almost seems like it is bringing those pumpkins alive. The 360 degree surrounded mirrors makes the room feels like it is filled with endless amount of pumpkins and polka dots. There wasn’t just one of me in the reflection of these mirrors; there was thousands of me. It is quite magical, a tiny little room that is built on a space of less than 100 square feet but once you step inside, it brought you into a world that seems ongoing forever. 

            When I walked into the room and the door closes behind me, it felt like the world is all left behind. The warm toned room and the thousand reflections of me, it brought me peace. It made me want to dance because it seems like the world are moving around by me. It was calm, relaxed, and peaceful. I did not want to leave the room because it felt like a safe house for my emotions and stress. It is a place where I could concentrate on nothing but myself. There are billions of pumpkins in the room, but I was undistracted by.  I could not understand the obsession of pumpkins that Kusama has, but these pumpkins had put together a picture-perfect art work like no one else. 

Miami Art as Text

As the last class of the semester, we have the chance to visit two of the largest Art fair for Miami Art Basel Week : CONTEXT and UNTITLED. 

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UNTITLED is located right on the sand of Miami Beach, where you have an overview of the sea. UNTITLED welcomed exhibitors all around the world and is a first-hand market. Walking through UNTITLED is like taking a world tour on multiple galleries at once. One second you are in a gallery from Cuba and next, you are in a gallery from Ghana. Knowing the fact that each piece of art that is hanging on the wall is worth thousands of dollars gave me a sense of excitement yet uneasy. We had an opportunity to visit multiple galleries in the fair, each one of them displayed a different content with a different meaning.  Like the gallery from Ghana, one of the artists utilized the sewing technique on her artwork, it captured the scene of daily life. On a second thought of the artwork, it also captures a sense of feminism by the usage of pink and pastels throughout the piece. One of the exhibitors that we visited caught most of my attention. It is not like traditional art- paintings or structures- but it is planted. The exhibitors explained to our class that the artist utilizes the plants she found through the Everglades to make art as well as bringing those plants into our awareness. This project is also used as a stepping stone of another project which they use to bring awareness to the coral reefs in the Caribbean

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CONTEXT is located on the bay side of Miami, right next to the Adrienne Arsht Center. CONTEXT has a very different vibe compared to UNTITLED. CONTEXT is primary a second-hand market for artworks, although there is some first hand. CONTEXT felt a lot busier and more commercial. There will be some with a price tag on it and some with the price upon request only. With over hundreds of seller and thousands of paintings, CONTEXT seem like an upscaled thrift store for art, everywhere is a treasure. Like UNTITLED, we had a chance to walk through multiple booths, each one of them shared their unique pieces with us. One of the most eye-catching pieces of art from CONTEXT was a pentagonal sculpture that looks like it has an indefinite bottom to it. It seems to go on and tangles in the lines forever. There are many forms of art available for sale, from traditional paintings to digital art designs.

Visiting the two biggest art fair during Art Basel week certainly emphasized the importance of art in life.  Art is used as an expression of emotion but also a powerful tool to spread awareness. The visitation of the two art fairs is like an introduction to the Art Business world. It opened my eyes to how influential art can be. It can bring in a billon dollar and people from all around the globe yet it can influence the thought of something. Art Basel week has brought in thousands and thousands of visitors around the world into one place, it brought up the local economy and tourism and generated over millions of dollars. This is what I called the power of art.