My name is Ruth Shmueli and I am a Junior studying International Business and Management at Florida International University. My goal is to help media/publishing companies expand and grow into international markets. I love exploring different cultures through food, art, and by interacting with people. I am passionate about traveling, art, photography, and culinary arts. Photography is the main way that I express myself creatively. The purpose of my photography is to make it possible for other people to view the world from a new perspective. I believe that the world is not black and white, and being able to expose the grey areas in my photography is essential to the perception of the world around us.
Biography: Tony Chirinos
Tony Chirinos has been practicing photography for the past 34 years. He was born in Venezuela but grew up in Miami. Tony received his BFA at FIU and received his MFA at Columbia University in New York, where he later became a professor. Tony trained at the Miami Children’s Hospital as a bio medical photographer, and he later created the photography department in Baptist Health. Tony is currently the Associate Senior Professor of Photography at Miami Dade College. Tony always had an affinity for art. In High school he would specifically practice in mediums of drawing with pencil and paper, however in 10th grade he took up photography and realized that you could do more with photography than with sketching and drawing. That’s were his love for photography originated from. His primary focus is on black and white film photography. You can explore Tony Chirinos work on his website https://www.tonychirinos.com/
Get to Know Tony
Is there anything specific about the photography process that you like?
“I love the process! There isn’t a specific a specific part of it that I would say I like the most, but every part allows for someone to be creative and inventive.” Tony then proceeded to show me the innovations that he created for the photo process which allowed for easier photo processing and the production of beautiful photographs.
Do you think that social media has added or taken away from the integrity of fine arts?
“Social media definitely is good for some things, like getting your name out there, and for other purposes, but is not beneficial to photography and fine arts.” In today’s age you have people claiming to be photographers on social media using fancy cameras, but many miss the mark with elements of photography. Essentially, what is important to a camera is great lenses and knowing how to utilize it as well as your surroundings.
Which type of photography do you prefer, black and white or color?
“My preference would definitely be Black and White film photography; it allows for a wider variety of contrast and highlights that could get lost in color photography.”
Do you believe in photoshop?
“I believe in the enhancements of photography that could be seen as ‘natural’ but not so much in doing it that would alter the photographs natural elements – for example to make a person’s eyes bright purple.”
Tony then proceeded to show me that photoshop can be done before we even take a photograph. He went on to explain that in film photography there is a technique that allows for someone to double expose an image. This creates optical illusions that look as if the photograph was photoshopped. An example of photographer that utilized double exposure photography is Dora Maar, Picassos girlfriend and muse. She created images that appear as if they were photoshopped giving them a surrealist look.
Before Tony took a photograph, he told showed me that moving objects like a table or a chair to a different angle could also been seen as altering reality in the same way photoshop does. Thus he showed that changing natural elements does not solely reside within the software of photoshop.
What are your thoughts on publishing your work in a book?
“Publishing is very difficult. If you want to self-publish, you need to have the ability to raise a lot of capital. You need to work on trying to find investors that believe in your work and what you do. Luckily I am currently working on publishing a book with the help of investors and a nonprofit center based out of New Mexico.”
“Subject matter is important, people take pictures but they don’t understand that the subject matter needs to be respected.”
There have been 5 key figures that have had a profound influence on Tony. The first is a former high school teacher named Susan Maguire. He was inspired by her generosity as a teacher. An anecdote that Tony shared was when he was still in high school he bought an enlarger so that he could print photographs at home, however he did not have a lens yet. He was very exited and told Susan about his new purchase. He then gets called into her class on a Friday and has a box with a lens ready for him. She said, “Here is a lens that you could use with your new enlarger, and you can bring it back on Monday.” He then used it on weekends to print his photographs. Another person who had an influence on Tony was Bill Maguire of FIU, who inspired his technical photography with his night photography. Additionally, husband and wife, Ed Delvalle and Mirta Gomez of FIU, influenced Tony’s photography. Ed taught Tony all about how to be collaborative in photography while Mirta taught that learning from others is essential to growth and the fact that subject matter is important. Lastly, Thomas Roma, Tony’s professor in Columbia University, taught Tony all about the importance of articulation when explaining one’s photography.
“The dark room is where the art is finished.”
Art Historical Context
Some artistic influences on Tony’s work include Larry Fink and Andres Kertesz. Larry Fink inspired Tony in his usage of light. Larry Fink had a love for the painter ,Caravaggio’s work and for his use of lighting in his paintings. Meanwhile, photographer Andres Kertesz was always reinventing himself. If you take a look at his work when he was living in Hungary, France and, New York, the style is so fluid that there is a new and inventive style seen throughout his projects.
Tony explained that his cultural context pertains to how he visually says what people think about or should be considering. He wants people to ask questions when seeing his art. He wants the subject matter to spark questions about different aspects of culture and their serious connotations. A good example would be his body of work that talks about death and the vulnerability of life. He expanded that elements such as the aesthetics of the photograph are also very important to the quality of the work. He used an analogy relating to food that really brought together all the moving parts. He said that we can describe a photograph as a bag of chips – satisfying for a little bit, but your left with just air in the bag. While a good photograph could be described as a thanksgiving meal – it contains many layers and is satisfying once the meal is done. Tony’s photography exemplifies these ideals. His photographs are layered and culturally relevant to today’s time.
Tony considers himself a Documentar-Style photographer. Every image is real and never staged or created. Documentary photography stems from the real world, then becomes art.
Formal Elements of Art and their Correlations
In Tony’s photography we see a utilization of space, contrast and highlights. This is especially important with Black and White photography.
The photograph’s elements are enhanced with the utilization of formal elements. There is greater emphasis on shadow when trying to show a scene with a dark connotation. Meanwhile highlights are utilized when trying to convey happiness and cheerfulness.
Changes in the Artistic Work- Stylistically, Conceptually
The stylistic and conceptual change that Tony’s work went through goes hand in hand. At first, the stylistic change pertained to trying to solve the problems that arose. From a technical standpoint, he doesn’t have to think about the details of the process anymore, because of his years of experience and expertise. However, something that is constantly evolving is the question of, “How do I make the subject matter understood?”
Relation to a Broader Social & Cultural Context
In a broader social and cultural context, Tony deals with subjects that people don’t want to talk about. There are things that people just don’t want to address, and Tony brings it to light. For example, his work on death and vulnerability featuring “Surgical Theatre”, “Uncommon Tools”, “Farewell”, and “Requiescat in Pace”. We see the relevance of his work in today’s world, where we are living in fear of our lives due to the pandemic. No one is safe, and it really brings forward the vulnerability of our lives. We also see Tony’s philosophy with his work in the photo series “Cocks”. Cock fights are something that people look down upon, but as Tony explained,the “cock fights” happening within society’s elite are socially acceptable. Examples of these include lawyers showing up to work in new suits and creating a social competition of a person’s value based on their appearance. Or in respect to politics, elections are considered one of the greatest “cock fights”. The reason why these are accepted, is because the game is played by the rich, not the poor. Tony’s work roots for the underdog and challenges us to do the same.
Below is a summary of the process for Film Photography:
Take the photograph on a film camera.
Go to the dark room and place the film in the reel then, place it in a special film cannister.
Add water and developer at 60 degrees Fahrenheit into the film cannister.
Develop for 8.5 minutes and swish the contents of the canister in a back and forth motion.
Add water to the canister to wash out the remaining developer for 2 minutes.
Add fixer to the cannister and swish it for 5 minutes. This removes all the unused silver hay lights. But DO NOT flush down the sink since the silver is very bad for the environment. Once this process is done look for a grey lavender color on the film to know that the process was done correctly.
Perma wash is then added into the cannister. Essentially it tells the silver to get off the film and removes any excess fixer left. Discard the Perma wash when done.
Photo flow is then added to remove water marks.
The reels are then removed and placed in water.
The film is removed from the reel and hung up to dry.
Once the film has dried, it is cut and placed in clear storage pages for negatives.
Next, the safe light is turned on in the darkroom.
Place developer in the first tray. Stop bath in the second tray and Perma wash in the last tray.
A contact sheet is made to determine which photos will be printed.
The paper is light sensitive, so an enlarger is used to expose the image and the developer develops the image. The image develops when the developer is agitated in the tray.
The paper then moves onto the stop bath tray where it will again be agitated until it finally reaches the Perma wash.
The photograph is then washed and placed on a drying rack to dry.
Tony is currently working on a new project centered around a trailer park in Miami. I had the chance to accompany him, and a student, Lazaro who he is collaborating with on this project, to shoot some photographs in the neighborhood. In his current work, Tony is exploring things that are unique to him, but may be ordinary to others. Tony’s philosophy when creating a body of work is to photograph and see how things develop. Location of the photograph is integral to what it becomes conceptually. Tony’s current project photographing the trailer park is conceptually developing.
Shadowing Tony throughout the entire photography process was a great experience in order to gain insight into the world of a Fine Arts photographer. I learned many tips and tricks about photography and what it takes to be a part of the profession. My first meeting with Tony was accompanied by another student, Lazaro with which he is collaborating with for his next exhibition. We all met at a trailer park in Miami near Florida International University. We spent our time talking and photographing the trailer park.
Some of the new things I learned was the purpose of a light meter and how it works. It’s a very useful tool that allows for someone to gauge the light of their surroundings to determine what to place their exposure at. I also learned that if it’s a windy day, like the one we spent at the trailer park, then you would need to lower your ISO. Another trick I learned regards how to focus your lenses effectively when using a digital camera. The problem when using auto focus, is that the camera only registers to focus what is in the middle of the image. Therefore, if there is nothing in the middle of the image the camera is unable to focus. He showed me that if you turn the camera to an object near what you are trying to photograph and focus on that, you can then move the lens over and take the photograph you want while its on the previous focus setting.
We then met at Miami Dade College to continue to the next phase of the photographic process. Tony developed the film and then proceeded to set up for the printing process. In my opinion, this is one of the most interesting parts of the photographic process. It allows for one to be creative on how they want to portray an image. Tony set up the enlarger, exposed the paper, and then placed it in the corresponding chemicals. Tony explained that depending on how much time you place your paper in the chemicals, determines the amount of contrast and highlight you can gain from the photograph. Once the photograph was done developing, it was placed in water to rinse out the chemicals left over on the paper. Once that was done it was placed on a drying rack where it would be picked up later when it was dry.
Overall my experience working with Tony gave me greater insight into what it takes to be a Fine Arts photographer and how one needs to be a pioneer in the art world to thrive. I saw how his work is an innovative way of showing us how we should question the world around us.
My name is Ruth Shmueli and I am a Junior studying International Business and Management at Florida International University. My goal is to help companies expand and grow in international markets. I love exploring different cultures through food, art and interacting with people. I am passionate about traveling, photography, and culinary arts. Photography is one of the main ways that I express myself creatively and I want to make it possible for other people to view the world from a new perspective through my photography. I believe that the world is not black and white and being able to expose the grey areas in my photography is my mission.
Wynwood Walls is located in 2520 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127 in the vibrant Wynwood neighborhood. Wynwood Walls is comprised of several buildings which makes up the prominent mural and sculpture park in Miami. The property also contains two restaurants, Joey’s and Wynwood Kitchen and Bar. It also houses two galleries, The Peter Tunney Experience near the entrance of the walls and GGA Gallery placed at the end of the walls. Originally the Wynwood area was not the art hub that it is today, but with the inception of Wynwood Walls, the area has grown exponentially. There has been an increase in tourism which resulted in an increase in development of this Miami neighborhood.
Wynwood wasn’t always the art hub
that it is today, it once was a district riddled with windowless warehouse.
However, the late Tony Goldman saw this as an opportunity to revitalize the neighborhood.
In 2009 Tony Goldman created Wynwood Walls which currently features six
different buildings between 25th and 26th street. Back in
NYC, Goldman was a real estate developer who revitalized SoHo and the NY Financial
District. He then moved his efforts over to Miami where he revamped South Beach
and then focused his efforts on reinventing a desolate warehouse neighborhood that
no one knew about and turned it into the Wynwood that we know and love today. However,
modern critics bring up the issue of the role of gentrification in the creation
Tony Goldman was known for his
eye for art and his appreciation of graffiti artists. Goldman felt that graffiti
and street artists were underappreciated for their craft and he decided to give
them a platform where they could express themselves. He created Goldman properties
who own Wynwood Walls and continue to develop the neighborhood. After interviewing
the Goldman Global Arts Project Manager of Curation, Troy Kelly, I discovered
that the reason why Mr. Goldman took such a liking to Wynwood was because it
reminded him of NYC’s SoHo neighborhood. His vision was to make Wynwood into the
SoHo of Miami. Miami is prominently known for its “upper-eastside”, South Beach,
However, Goldman saw that Miami was lacking a “lower-eastside” which would be hip and attractive to younger
crowds and thus, Wynwood was created.
Over the years Tony Goldman worked with prominent street artists from around the globe in the curation of the walls. A notable artist, Jeffery Deitch, Co-Curated the first walls in 2009 which turned out to be a wild success! He is now the Director of the MOCA Museum in Los Angeles, but his mark was forever made in Miami’s culture. As Wynwood walls became more successful many business owners and restaurateurs saw the vison and opportunity and moved their business to Wynwood. This expanded the neighborhood further and has attracted millions of tourists over the years. In 2012, however, Tony Goldman sadly passed and the operations and development of Wynwood Walls was left to his daughter, Jessica Goldman. In 2015, Jessica Goldman founded Goldman Global Arts whose purpose is the curation of the murals. Wynwood walls is now known as the heart of Wynwood and the inspiration for future visionaries like Tony Goldman.
Interview Conducted by Ruth Shmueli with Goldman Global Arts Project Manger of Curation, Troy Kelly.
Wynwood walls does not explicitly have a mission statement. However, Goldman Global Art, the company that oversees the curation and maintenance of the walls, has a mission statement that perfectly encompasses Wynwood Walls purpose. “We use art to become a leading creative force offering the best products, services and experiences. We inspire human interaction and start conversations by providing platforms for messages that align with our core values.” This is exactly what the walls has started, conversations that were otherwise not had about street art as an art form. Historically street art and graffiti was always seen as something deviant that was punishable with jail time. However, by instigating these conversation, Wynwood walls has created a platform for street artists to express themselves without the repercussions that are normally linked with street art. However, there is a big distinction that needs to be made. Graffiti tags are not the same as street art. They also fulfilled their mission by creating an environment that inspire social interactions with one another. With the creation of the restaurants and the mural and sculpture park at Wynwood Walls there is now a place where people can congregate and socialize.
was created with accessibility in mind. It has an open-air concept which means
that the gate is open, and anyone can enter within their hours of operation. On
Monday- Thursday they are open from 10:30am- 11:30pm, while on Friday and
Saturday they are open from 10:30am-12:00am and on Sunday they are open from
10:30am-8:00pm. Their hours of operation give ample time for visitors to make
their way through Wynwood Walls.
The best part
about Wynwood Walls is that it is free to the public. The galleries on the property,
the Peter Tunney Experience and GGA Gallery, are also open and free to
the public. Additionally, it was designed in a way that would make it easy for
the elderly and for families to walk through without any problems. This is very
important since it makes the art accessible to people from every age group.
prominent struggle in Wynwood is parking. To address this, Goldman Properties
has developed a parking garage for visitors to feel safe and comfortable and to
address the shortage of parking. Additionally, there is metered street parking
throughout Wynwood, were you can use Pay-by-phone to pay for parking. The issue
with both of these though, is the cost. The street parking is $3.25 an hour
while the parking garage is free for the first hour then, $3.00 for every 30
minutes. The cost of parking can limit the accessibility to many people.
The concept behind Wynwood Walls
is that every year during Miami Art Week, street artists from around the world
are commissioned to paint/spray-paint murals on the walls. Therefore, there is
no permanent collection. There are however, works of art that are more established
than others. Some include the work of Martin Whatson and Felipe Pantone. Additionally,
because the work is always changing, it can take time for management to update
the current artists on the website. At the moment, many of the artists that
were seen during Miami Art Week 2019 are not currently present on the website.
The walls that stood out the most were ones painted by Filipe
Pantone and Martin Watson. The image to the right depicts the wall painted by
Filipe Pantone. He utilized the contrast between black and white to complement
the colors of the rainbow. Felipe is an Argentinian- Spanish artists who
started his career in graffiti at the age of 12. He started doing graffiti in
its traditional form, but he then changed his style when he gained inspiration
from kinetic and op art. He now exhibits his work all around the world.
The second mural that really appealed to me was Martin Whatson’s, “Behind the Wall”. He created this piece of work during the Art Basel 2015 and it has stayed there ever since. The Norwegian artists is known for his abstract illusions that features graffiti art and black and white stencil work. Another amazing thing about Martin Whatson’s work, is that his artwork is easily identifiable through his distinct style. His work has also been featured around the globe.
Wynwood walls does not necessarily have the conventional museum format with collections and exhibitions, however every year they replace the walls with new art done by artists from around the world. The image above shows the art of graffiti artist Tats Cru. Wilfred “Bio” Feliciano was born in NYC in 1966 and first emerged as a graffiti artist during the early eighties when there was a large movement of graffiti art. He is well known for the way he portrays characters through graffiti and the depth he creates.
This year Wynwood walls celebrated their 10 year anniversary and as expected there were many events. However, every year Wynwood walls hosts a series of events throughout Miami Art Week that are free and open to the public. This week is always during the first week of December, however the dates vary every year. This year it took place from Dec 3rd through December 9th. In Anticipation of Art Basel and Miami Art Week, November 24th through December 2nd were designated days that hosted a live, public viewing of artists painting/spray-painting the walls. This is a great experience because it allows people to see the creative process to make the artwork they experience.
Throughout the year there are no public events available, however there are tours that you can book. The Official Tour is one hour long and is $20.00, while there is also a University and Education Tour available for students that costs $10. The tours are a quintessential part of going to Wynwood Walls because they provide you with the history of the walls and information about the artists currently displayed.
There are also many events that take place in the surrounding area. Every year, there is a very large Halloween party in Wynwood called Hallowyn that is free and open to the public. The streets of Wynwood are completely closed off and people roam the streets with wild and creative costumes. This is very reflective of Wynwood’s overall environment. Wild and Free. Additionally, about two blocks away there is an area called Wynwood marketplace which features food trucks, street vendors, a bar and a venue. This area is very well known for its laid-back environment during the day and night life during the evening. There are also many events hosted there every week, so it is advised to always stay up to date with the venue since most of the events are free.
During my time at Wynwood Walls I conducted an interview with a visitor from Austin. She was a curator for the fine art consulting firm, Eaton Fine Arts. She was specifically in Miami for Art Basel and came to visit Wynwood to scout for muralists and local artists to commission their work for hotels. She had a background in art history and photography from the University of Texas where she gained all of her knowledge about the art world. When asked what her thoughts were about the sustainability of Wynwood she responded “ My main concern is that with further development, Wynwood Walls will start to become forgotten and will eventually be demolished. This exact scenario happened in Austin, were graffiti parks were demolished when the areas around it started to get overdeveloped.” Hearing her perspective made me realize that Wynwood may not be as sustainable as we may think.
I spoke with the Project Manager of the Curation of Wynwood Walls, Troy Kelly. Through his position he provides all of the material and sets up all of the logistics for the artists to create their work on Wynwood Walls. The curation process involves creating a theme or “brand” for the upcoming renewal of the walls. Then once this has been done, Jessica Goldman gives her final approval of artists that will feature their work in the upcoming Miami Art Week. I asked him about the sustainability of Wynwood as a whole and he explained that Goldman Properties works with small business and entrepreneurs to open their business in the area surrounding the walls to further develop the neighborhood. Additionally, there are private contractors and developers building office building and apartment buildings, making Wynwood a place to live, work and play. Additionally Troy expanded that social media has had a huge influence on the growth and publicity of Wynwood Walls.
As a whole, I think Wynwood is an incredible place to take friends and family of all ages. It is very accessible to the public and affordable. Additionally, most events that happen within the Wynwood area are free and accessible to the public. A major problem for the youth of Miami is that there is not much to do in if you are under the age of 21. Wynwood addresses the age group of 18-20 year old through their events and public areas within Wynwood that are open to people who are underage. However, what I see as the major deterrents of Wynwood are the issues with parking and the pricing of restaurants. Wynwood’s theme is to be a “lower-eastside” sort of neighborhood that is more affordable than its “upper-eastside” counterpart. However, as Wynwood has grown, restaurateurs have taken advantage of the immense number of tourists visiting Wynwood and have inflated their prices. Additionally, more events within Wynwood Walls would be beneficial to bringing in the locals who have already seen the art. This would create a higher turnover of visitors and retain more local involvement into Wynwood Walls. Furthermore, it would be advantageous if the website was updated every year after the walls have been repainted by artists for Art Basel. The website currently shows only half of current artists, while others were the original artists and no longer have any work on display. Overall as an institution, I think that Wynwood walls is a must see to truly understand the street art scene and the culture of Miami.
*All images were taken by Ruth Shmueli. All information was either opinion based or based on facts that were cited accordingly. Any images used for historical purposes were cited accordingly.
Formerly known as the Rubell Family Collection, the Rubell Museum, was established in 1964 by Mera and Don Rubell in NYC. The collection was later moved to Miami to establish itself as one of the largest privately-owned contemporary art collections. They have works from renowned artists such as Jeff Koons, Keith Haring, Yayoi Kusama, Takashi Murakami and Jean-Michael Basquiat. Additionally, the Rubell Museum is well known for loaning exhibitions to museums around the world. This furthers the reach and contribution that the art can make, as well as educate people globally about contemporary art. Additionally the new location has a garden in the courtyard, a café and a restaurant that will be open to the public in January.
Recently, the Rubell Family Collection changed its name to the Rubell Museum. As stated by Mera and Don Rubell “Our intention was to make it accessible to the public, and we felt the calling it a ‘collection’ really created a barrier that was that was totally misunderstood. I mean, people know what a museum is.” There has always been a longstanding misunderstanding of access to the private collection, now that the name has changed, more people will feel that they are able to go and explore the art. Additionally, the collection has changed its location from Wynwood to a neighborhood in Miami called, Allapattah. The collection is now placed in a modern, 100,000 square foot warehouse designed by a New York based architect, Annabelle Selldorf. This neighborhood is known to be an industrial hotspot, however it is quickly developing with the arrival of the Rubell Museum. Allapattah still has a long way to go, but with recent trends in real estate pricing, it is very likely that there will be continued development into the neighborhood.
When I first arrived, I was shocked by the amount of
security and police presence in the area but it instilled a sense of security.
Since this was the first time I visiting this neighborhood, I had no idea what
to expect. However, I realized that this level of police presences was not the
norm and it was mainly due to the festivities of the night. As I entered the premise,
I saw that there were events taking place at the same time as Museums’ Grand Opening.
In the gardens, Bank of America was having s corporate cocktail party, while
one the left side of the Rubell Museum, the Dior Fashion Show was taking place.
At the center of it all, the Rubell Museum was having its grand opening. I was
shocked by the extravagance and grandeur of the events happening. After further
inquiry I found out that both of these events were accomplished in
collaboration with the Rubell museum, so although they were separate events,
they were all interconnected in a way. My first task during my shift
volunteering, was doing security for the Jeff Koons artwork they had on display.
I was making sure that no one touched the artwork and occasionally I was taking
photographs for people in front of the art. After about an hour, I was given
another task, which ended up being the highlight of my night. I was placed
inside the Dior Fashion Show side of the property. My job was to escort people
from inside the fashion show into the Rubell Museum.
I met many interesting people through this experience. I got
to know other volunteers who were art students or professionals in the art world,
as well as, museum staff and event security. Each person was friendlier and
more welcoming than the next. It was interesting
hearing their perspectives on different topics relating got life and art. The environment
in this area was extremely different than within the museum. Every person there
was dressed more extravagant than the next in anticipation of the show. The energy
was charged with excitement as designers waited for Dior’s unveiling, professionals
networked, and celebrities caught up with old friends. I was able to observe
how other people who lead a drastically different lifestyle, interact with each
other and act when they are at an event like this. Additionally, there is a completely
different way in which people interact with each other that is not instantly
visible if you just walk past them on a street. I saw the Dior models standing
in front of the car being treated as if they were just an intimate object that
was not human in any way. This is unnerving to see, since they were bossed
around and treated by many as just mannequins that did not deserve basic human respect.
This experience made me understand the meaning of the phrase
fake it till you make it. Everyone there held themselves with such confidence
and poise that even if I was not aware of who they were or their status, I knew
that they were important. What if I too, held myself with that level of confidence
and poise , would that lead others to believe that I was someone important and significant?
Miami Art Week
The second time I came to the Rubell
Museum was when I volunteered during Miami Art Week. This was a completely different
experience due to the fact that I was not volunteering for an event at an
institution, but rather for the daily operations of the institution. I arrived
a bit early, so I was walking around the area taking photographs. I had not
previously known that it was not advised to bring a digital camera when in the
area, so I ran into a few uncomfortable situations. As I was taking photographs
a car stopped by me and started asking me many questions to which I gave very
curt responses. When they were done speaking, one man said to the other to park
by the curb where I was walking. Alarms went off in my head and as the car
moved to park in front of me, I ducked behind a truck and walked towards the
entrance of the museum and avoided any possible confrontations. This was a
stark contrast with the sense of security I felt the other night. When the
museum opened Laura, the staff that coordinated my volunteer shifts, gave a
little tour of the museum and I proceed to work my shift. I was tasked that day
with greeting guests and keeping count of guests using a tally counter. I had a
very enjoyable time doing this job. Since I am a person that likes to be on
their feet and talking to people, this job fit perfectly. I met may people that
day and had the perfect opportunity to people watch. It was interesting to see the
different types of people that came to see the art. I noticed that the
contemporary art movement catered to many elderly people and it is not solely appreciated
by younger generations.
Overall, I had an amazing experience
volunteering at the Rubell Museum, and I would definitely do it again. Additionally,
they had amazing pieces of contemporary art by artists whose work I admire. I encourage
others to volunteer at art institutions, since it will give them a new
perspective of the art world.
For further verification of service hours please contact Laura Randall:
Laura Randall Registrar Rubell Family Collection/ Contemporary Arts Foundation 1100 NW 23rd Street Miami, FL, 33127 (305)573-6090
My name is Ruth Shmueli and I am a Junior studying International Business and Management at Florida International University. My goal is to help media/ publishing companies expand and grow in international markets. I love exploring different cultures through food, art and interacting with people. I am passionate about traveling, photography, and culinary arts. Photography is one of the main ways that I express myself creatively and I want to make it possible for other people to view the world from a new perspective through my photography. I believe that the world is not black and white and being able to expose the grey areas in my photography is essential to the perception of the world around us.
Norton as text:
The link between love, death and sensuality by Ruth Shmueli of FIU in the Norton Museum on 9/22/2019
Out of all the extensive and diverse collections at the Norton Museum I chose Jeff Koons painting “Antiquity” to analyze. What initially captured my attention was its large size and how it spoke to my sensibilities for classical and abstract art. It was interesting to see these both combined in a harmonious way that doesn’t clash with one another. The size gives it an air of grandiose that imposes on the viewer. My initial observations without any context was that Koons is making an overall statement with Ancient, formal and abstract techniques to represent female form and anatomy. He shows how people view the female form throughout different time periods.
After gaining more information about Koons and the painting I developed some different views of the artwork. In the background we see Pablo Picasso’s Le Baiser from 1969 which depicts Picasso’s kiss with his final wife Jacqueline, while Titan’s Venus and Adonis from 1554 shows Venus holding on to her lover before he goes to war and eventually die in battle. Then, the sculpture with an exposed front and back that we see were not a mere rendering of renaissance era sculptures but a sculpture of Aphrodite (the goddess of love, beauty and pleasure) from 100-200 CE. Lastly, the “tribal” sculptures are known as Uli, which are funerary sculptures in Papua New Guinea. After learning that most of the components of the painting were renderings of famous artwork, I think it diminishes the level of originality that I initially thought the painting possessed. However, there is a very clear use of skill and technique throughout the entire work of art as well as a very moving and well thought out message behind the painting. Through the image of Aphrodite there is a representation of love and passion, while in the middle we see the Uli which represents death. Then under the painting we see the patchwork of Le Baiser which depicts a final kiss and Venus and Adonis which depicts a final embrace before death. Koons then paints an abstract rendering of female anatomy to portray sensuality. We realize that there is an overall message that love, death and sensuality are all interconnected. Before death, Koons shows us that there is some force within us- either love or sensuality- that draws us closer into the person for the comfort of a final connection and final touch between two beings. This final interaction before death is seen with tension, love, and passion because of the fear of finality. It is interesting to see how differently we interpret things with and without context.
Deering as Text:
A Journey of Civilization and Nature By Ruth Shmueli of FIU in The Deering Estate on 10/02/19
The Deering estate brings together many different aspects of cultural connections within a civilized society and an untamed ecosystem . Nature comes together with art, history, and architecture in one condensed area, allowing for the perfect environment to take a cultural journey where one can take stops along the way to explore each subject. When you first enter the property of the Deering estate you are welcomed by nature in all its glory. As you walk further you will be in the presence of a beautiful house with Spanish architecture. The house was built for Charles Deering who had a specific taste that was inspired by the Spanish architecture of Maricel, enhanced by Moorish influences throughout the structure of the house. Art comes into play with Charles Deering’s extensive collection of Spanish paintings. In the theme of decadence and luxury, Charles Deering housed paintings of famous artists, El Greco and Goya. Currently the paintings are not present at the house, but we can see other paintings hung on the walls of the estate. The Spanish art blends perfectly with the Spanish architecture, furthering the connection of Charles Deering’s heritage.
After visiting the estate, we ventured out to explore the history of the area surrounding the estate. After a long hike through undisturbed nature, we arrived at a spot were the remains of Paleo-Indians were found. That exact spot is a revered archaeological spot due to the fact that many fossils from the paleolithic era were found there. Standing in the sinkhole, I was able to see history and nature interacting with one another and I felt as if I could now more fully understand our part within the environment.
We then hiked to other sights where we explored the history of the Tequesta’s at the Tequesta burial mound. This was one of the last remaining burial mounds of the Tequesta’s, but we see nature yet again overpowering the historical sight. There were overgrown trees and debris from one of the last hurricanes to hit Miami. We see through these historical sights that no matter how intensely we attempt to preserve history, nature will take its course. As much as we think that we have dominated nature, at the end of the day, nature dominates us.
After taking this journey exploring how art, history, architecture and nature coincide with each other, I was able to then incorporate these concepts into a photograph I took on the trip. The photograph above brings together history and nature by showing that when an animal passes, their remains stay but nature will eventually prevail and assert its dominance. Art and architecture are also tied into this photograph through the distinct structure and “architecture”’ of the leaves and the animal’s body, as something that should be admired and something that is unique. By appreciating these connections, these objects and concepts that we see everyday are transformed to art. My visit to the Deering Estate allowed me to take a cultural journey where the path taken, and the stops made along the way, broadened my perspective of how interconnected civilization and nature really is.
Wynwood as text:
Contemporary Art and Productivity by Ruth Shmueli of FIU in the Margulies collection and the De la Cruz collection on 10/16/2019
Through our visit to the Margulies collection and the De la Cruz collection we were able to explore the progression of contemporary art through time and the usage of various mediums. Each collection held pieces monumental to the contemporary art movement which shaped the conceptual understandings that we have of this type art. Mr. Margulies mentioned something that really resonated with me. He stated that in reference to the sculpture of a white cube: “this piece of art is considered contemporary art, but, what is so special about it isn’t always the sculpture itself, rather the concept behind it that makes it special.” This is true for many contemporary art pieces where there is a movement of people who are interpreting the world through art with several visual representations. The context of where the art is exhibited is also relevant. Wynwood has been a hub for contemporary art with a pension for turning old things into new works of art. This results in the perfect setting for collectors to showcase their collection due to the continuous theme of “concepts in creation.”
I saw this for myself in a piece that stood out in the De la Cruz collection made by Cosima Von Bonin called “In the Grip of a Lobster”. This piece was made entirely out of German dishrags that were carefully stitched together. On top of these dishrags were hands on a raised surface. Additionally, stitched in the bottom left corner was the phrase “Tomorrow we have go to get organized” with two figures that have their feet on a table. My interpretation of the painting was that Cosima Von Bonin was giving a metaphor of productivity in the modern age. With the placement of the German dishrags on the painting and the hand doing various movements, this shows a person productively cleaning and executing certain actions which make the hands an asset of productivity. The size of the phrase stitched on the canvas is a motif for how small our motivation can be in relation to the gargantuan tasks we have in front of us to complete. This piece was exactly the concept that Mr. Margulies was teaching us. The piece itself was not made with classical mediums such as oil paint, nor does it have techniques we would typically see, rather this work of arts’ value comes from the message it conveys.
Vizcaya as text
Art as wealth by Ruth Shmueli of FIU at Vizcaya museum and gardens and the LnS Gallery on 10/30/19
Vizcaya is the essence of opulence and wealth and it is elegantly displayed in the architecture, sculptures and landscaping. South Florida at the time that Vizcaya was built, was highly segregated in terms of class and race. With this in mind, we are able to get a better understanding of the architectural planning of the estate. Outdoors there is an area called the secret garden. This place was used for rendezvous between people of different classes and races. Sporadically throughout the estate there are benches set up for people to go about their affairs. There is also a lot of artistic European symbolism throughout the estate. We see European statues as well as portraits in the same style of European monarchs, however the people in the paintings were not James’s family. He also had many different pieces in the house that were imported from Europe like the curtains, furniture and art.
Some of the European symbolism includes the Deering crest of the sailboat that has a very Spanish trademark of conquest associated with it. Additionally, entertainment was the main goal of the estate. There was a secret door to hide alcohol during the prohibition era, designated areas for affairs, boat rides through the mangroves, a maze, and a barge. Every one of these aspects of the estate alludes to a lifestyle of grandeur and opulence in a time when the surrounding people had nothing. James Deering took note of that fact and placed a moat around the estate to make sure unwanted people could not get in. With this all in mind James created Vizcaya as a haven for people to express their inner desires and live in an environment isolated from the realities of the world around them .
At the Lns gallery we were able to explore the industry of selling art. This is a new perspective, being that it is not a private collection, nor is it a museum, so this allows for art to be sold commercially. Most times we see art as a sign of wealth and prestige, and we see the same approach in art galleries. The main consumer base for these galleries are people 40-50 years old with a very large income. Even though in today’s society art is more easily accessible to the normal consumer, we can still see the difference in class structures and income through commercial art sales.
Art is a show of wealth and James Deering made sure to make a point of that in the landscaping of the gardens, the art in the house, and the design of the architecture. We see art as a sign of wealth at the Lns gallery due to the varying price points and sales structure of the gallery.
Design District as Text
State of Mind by Ruth Shmueli of FIU at ICA and Wynwood Walls on 11/13/19
When first entering the neighborhood that the ICA is located in, I realized that it has a very affluent atmosphere which affects the mentality of those that congregate there. Thus, this allows for the setting to affect the way we perceive things. We then entered our first stop, the Kusama exhibition. Her work and personal life is riddled with the complexities of the mind. Throughout her life, Kusama had been in a mental institution and her work reflects an existentialist state of mind. She explores something that I think of as interactive conceptuality. In my eyes this type of art allows you to interact with it to understand a concept. The exhibition makes you feel small in a world where we perceive things as vast, even though, in reality, our world is smaller than, and not as daunting as we think. This is exemplified with the infinity mirrors covering the walls of the box the exhibition is placed in.
At the ICA, we encountered contemporary art by Sterling Ruby that was conceptual in nature. Conceptual art is made for those that want to explore a deeper meaning in something that might not otherwise have meaning. That is exactly what Sterling Ruby has done. He just created art pieces with no meaning and has allowed the world to pin their own ideas to it. If you consider this, it very likely that how we decide to interpret the art is reflective of our state of mind and biases. Thus, how we chose to interpret the art is reflective of ourselves and calls into question the validity of our interpretations.
Lastly, we visited Wynwood walls where we encountered political and philosophical art. In Wynwood, street artists paint beautiful murals that convey political ideals or philosophical satire. It is not made solely for the aesthetics even though that it what we, the consumer, has made it. Not only that, but the wealthy that developed Wynwood, converted a rebellious street art movement to one that increases tourism to increase profit. People can pay to have specific ideas conveyed through art to the masses and that can create waves in political movements. Understanding how vital our own state of mind is to how we see the world, can allow us to understand how others think and how they translate and manifest their thoughts into their creative processes.
MiamiArt as Text
The Concept of Time through Art and Traditions by Ruth Shmueli of FIU at Untitled and Art Miami on 12/4/19
Miami art week is quintessential to the contemporary art world. There are various gallery’s exhibiting artists work to celebrities, the public, collectors and museum directors. Each of these groups of people are important to the survival of art in a modern era. The two satellite fairs we visited were Untitled and Art Miami. Each had an extensive collection of contemporary artworks that is extremely relevant to our modern era. A constant theme I saw throughout the fair was time.
This was seen through the art exhibited at the fairs, and the overall structure of the fairs. There is the concept of time being explored in different settings and contexts, so it gives it different meaning depending on each scenario. We see an emphasis of this theme in a specific gallery’s exhibition of artist, Faig Ahmeds, rugs woven in distorted shapes that utilize different aspects of space, yet they are very traditional in nature. By doing so, Ahmed is questioning the juxtaposition of the fluidity and uniformity of time. The picture above shows a rug that looks as if it is a traditional Persian rug, however it has been changed to a more contemporary rendering of the original form. Some view his artwork as surrealist in nature. His work also challenges time in the context of history. When introducing new concepts to a culture with strong traditions it can very well be rejected by the people of that country. He explores these concepts in the context of history and the progression of one state of being to another as a result of time. Additionally, the introduction of art into the marketplace needs to be timed perfectly. If one were to introduce a piece of artwork that is too radical it will very likely be rejected automatically. However, contemporary art has already seen some radical artwork so Ahmeds rugs will not be seen as something too out of the ordinary.
The theory of time is also relevant in the conception and
construction of the satellite fairs during Miami Art Week. There is a large
amount effort put into the planning process of the fairs that requires precision
and punctuality. A gallerist from Ghana told us about a past struggle that she endured,
which involved the artwork arriving only thirty minutes before the opening of
the fair. When the pieces arrived, everyone came together to help her hang up
the paintings and set up her booth. We can see the importance of time when it
comes to the planning and procurement process.
Art’s meaning and logistics are all intertwined with time and
we see it all come together in Miami art week, specifically through the satellite
fairs. This is something important that we must consider when going forward in
our lives. Time is something that many of us take for granted or its something
that we don’t consider when making decisions. There are many instances where we
look at a tradition and try to reinvent it or we see a tradition and we try to
abide by it, due to its historical importance. But as generations change, and
as times change, we must consider if we should be reinventing or preserving
history both in traditions and in art. We also need to explore how we are at
the mercy of time and its uncontrollable nature.
Bakehouse as Text
Effects of Opacity on History Editing By Ruth Shmueli at Bakehouse Art Complex on 1/15/20
Alder Guerrier explores the line between the legible and opaque in the context of a place in his curation of the exhibition, Between the legible and the opaque: Approaches to an ideal in place at Bakehouse Art Complex. Bakehouse is an organization that provides studios to artists to fulfill their creative journeys and have a platform for freedom of expression. One of their artists in residence is Adler Guerrier who curated their current exhibition and whose personal artwork incorporates elements of nature and bright colors. The exhibition calls attention to opacity and legibility in the context of “place”, however, a place can mean many different things. A place can be a physical location, state of mind, or a stage in time.
The piece that compelled me the most was The Malediction of Cham by Marielle Plaisir which explores the opacity of time (history). This series of art utilizes inks, pencils, and gold thread on paper. Each one shows a rendering of a monarch during the renaissance era. They wear the same garments as would be seen in classic portraiture, however it is represented through abstraction. It brings current and modern painting methodologies like, watercolor and gold stitching within the sketch paper, while applying them towards historical subjects. It makes one expand further about the opacity of time in the context of historical facts and data. Many times, because we do not have any concrete facts about historical figures we unconsciously attach our own modern perceptions to facts so that we can relate to the historical figure better. This causes an opacity in our history and calls into question the validity of our so-called facts. In this context, opacity of a place does not have a positive connotation to it. There are other problems that arise with opacity as it allows the distortion and manipulation of history and facts by oppressive leaders. For example, if there was a period of time within the history of a particular country, in which people were mistreated by a governmental leader, we would not want there to be an opacity of history, because it allows oppressors to edit history and add their own modern spin to something that happened in the past. It is important in this modern era of misinformation to become aware of opacity in history. Legibility of something is crucial to history. If there is no clear and legible fact of the past then can it still be considered history, or is it a mere concept of what the past was?
There was even a level of opacity needed to curate this art collection. If artists made a concrete meaning and definition of their work they might not have been included in this exhibition. The opacity was needed to attach the theme of the exhibition to the art being considered. Therefore, you come to realize that different levels of opacity are seen in different levels and forms in the context of place.
Rubell as Text
Exploration of the Child Psyche by Ruth Shmueli of FIU at the Rubell Museum on 1/29/20
The Rubell Museum has a coveted collection of both up and coming artists and world-renowned contemporary artists. Their collection embodies the entire contemporary art era and what it represents. The artist whose work compelled me the most was that of Takashi Murakami. Murakami was born and raised in japan and his style is identified as Pop Art/ Manga. He is also known as the “Warhol of Japan” due to his struggle with the western interpretation of fine art. The Rubell Museum features two of his works, one is a sculpture, while the other is a painting. The sculpture is called “DOB in The Strange Forest” while the painting is called “Po+Ku Surrealism (Blue)”.
Both of the pieces present a surrealist expressionism of Pop Art that explores the child psyche. There are bright colors and cartoonish characters drawn vaguely like Manga cartoons. The sculptures consist of mushrooms with painted eyes obscurely shaped and a character seemingly dancing. This looks like something straight out of a children’s cartoon. However, the painting features the same characters in a different format. The child psyche is one that live in the clouds, dreams of the future and can see things in their simplest form. This is also what Murakami present sin his art. As an adult, people tend to shy away from seemingly childish narratives so that they can appear “grown up” to fit in with this society. However, Murakami seems to challenge that by showing that this art may seem childlike, but it is also fine art that should be appreciated in the adult world. We tend to want to grow up and attempt to become more refined and sophisticated that we forget the inner child and many times abandon our creativity in the process. His work represents the conflict between fine art and society’s interpretation of the child psyche.
MDC Printmaking as Text
The Artistic Method of Innovation by Ruth Shmueli of FIU
at MDC on 2/12/20
Printmaking entails a distinct process different than other
art forms, such as painting and sketching. Professor Jennifer Basile of Miami
Dade College spoke to us about the intricacies of printmaking and the different
types of printmaking processes. There is one type of printmaking which requires
the artist to carve their intended image into piece of wood. Once that’s done ink
is applied and it can then be stamped on to the specialized paper. This process
allows for an artist to create identical editions of their work.
The type of print we made was a Monotype print which creates
unique pieces by painting on plexiglass using specialized ink. The process involved
placing a paper on top of the painted Plexiglas and then rolling it through a press.
After it comes out of the press the paper is lifted to reveal a uniquely amazing
print. Different objects are able to be used to create different shapes,
textures and shadows. In order to get the
white shapes seen in the print above, you can use a piece of paper to prevent
the ink from leaking into the paper as a result of the pressure of the press, this creates a white silhouette
on the paper as seen in the image above. As much as the process was forgiving
on the art, it was not forgiving on skin and clothing. A special soap was
needed to remove the ink from hands.
The beauty of
printmaking is that its very forgiving and allows for someone to expand their creativity.
By allowing for more mobility in the art you have the ability to expand creatively.
Compared to other art disciplines, printmaking is very similar to painting and
sketching. In the same respect that oil paint takes a while to dry, you can
play around with the paint. Meanwhile, sketching allows you to make marks as
you please and to erase any marks you don’t want.
It is my belief that mobility and flexibility allow a person
to explore unknown territory that leads to innovation. That’s why there is a
lot of conversation about how conventional school systems kill creativity due
to its rigidity and structure. Based on this information, I believe that
disciplines like printmaking are essential to allowing young minds to retain
creativity. Even if a person does not plan to pursue a career as an artist, the
skills of adaptability, patience and creativity can then be translated into any
future career. The result is a student who is well rounded and can innovate at
will. By having these types of members in our society, advancement of
industries will be more prevalent and frequent. Printmaking and art in general,
provide a pathway to a new artistic method of innovation.
Deering as Text
The Cycle of Tranquility
and Turmoil by Ruth Shmueli of FIU at Deering Estate on 3/25/20
The Deering estate was built as a sanctuary for peace and
tranquility. Charles Deering built his estate to preserve Florida ecology while
also creating an environment that allows for an escape from reality into an oasis
of mangroves, manatees and ospreys. The Deering estate is also home to many other
flora and fauna which enables the biodiversity within the estate to flourish.
After my first time
visiting the Deering estate with professor Baillys class I returned with a
friend and we took advantage of the 15$ student membership. We did a self-guided
tour through the trails that were open to the public. We saw solution holes, plants
and animals native to Florida and were able to comprehend the importance of our
interactions with nature. After our hike we set up our yoga mats on the peoples
dock which was built by afro Bahamians in very harsh conditions. Its interesting
to think that an activity that bring peace was done in an area that was built
We see an ever-present connection between tranquility and turmoil. In times of peace there is little thought into a future with possible turmoil, so people neglect each other, the environment and the things that are important to them. This then descends into turmoil which exposes the demons that were within us all along. Once the patterns are revealed we as a people begin change the way we act to focus on the important things that unite us. This then leads to a prosperous time of peace and tranquility. And the cycle begins again. Its important to notice the connection between turmoil and tranquility to realize the origins of our actions and their corresponding results. The Deering estate was founded upon principles of ecological preservation but along the way, there were tumultuous times that lead to the creation of the estate. This cycle is akin to what we describe as the “roller coaster” of life, the ups and downs that create the journey and path of our life story. We think that we can be the break in the cycle but the reality is that no matter how perfect we try to become, each and every one of us is flawed and there are extraneous conditions that lead to disorder. It’s the way that we adapt and react to circumstances that define the severity of the cycle. The Deering estate allows one to connect with nature and self-reflect on our role in society and the environment. The estate brings about peaceful aura that can ground an individual and expose what is really important in a life with so much noise.
Miami Beach as Text
Faith in Technology
by Ruth Shmueli of FU at South Beach on 3/29/2020
When walking through South Beach one is bombarded with an
array of different smells, colors and sights unique to Miami Beach. Although South
Beach is the most well-known part of Miami amongst tourists, Miami as a whole
is not represented by the Ocean Drive strip. South Beach has a subculture of
its own, constantly evolving yet stuck in the past. The facades of many of the
historic South Beach buildings stay the same due to preservation laws, but there
is constant real estate development to try and increase the output of what South
Beach has to offer. South beach is known for its beaches, nightclubs and many
opportunities to go shopping. In a way it could be seen as a very hedonistic area
with many ways for one to be entertained.
When walking through Miami one is struck by the Art Deco architecture
that surrounds them. Art Deco was created in the 1920’s, also known as the Roaring
20’s. During this time there was an abundance of economic and cultural growth. This
allowed for the exploration of the previously suppressed sexual and social
mores that reflected a Victorian past. This was a time when people were forward
thinking and developed a hedonistic social life while also developing a faith
for the evolving technology and the change that came with it. Some of these
same ideals can be seen in South Beach today.
The Art Deco architecture is reminiscent of futuristic idealism. It makes an emphasis on creating visual effects that allows the architecture to look like technology. This shows the idealism of a hope and faith in a future with technology, represented through art. It utilizes ziggurat rooflines, neon lights and pothole windows to try and mimic objects like airplanes and ocean liners. The best way to understand the architecture and context of Art Deco is by watching a popular 1960’s TV show, The Jetson’s. This television series shows a family living in the future with technology that people only dreamt of and a lifestyle to match. It also contains many Art Deco references that create the basis of the “look” of the show. The faith in technology seen in the show and in Art Deco reflects the hope that with technology life can be better and we can advance to a happier society.
This now begs the question; can technology really make us happier? Technology is seen by many as a support tool to make life easier, increase our well being, and in today’s generation- create social connections. However, for others it is see as a corruption of human connection that will ultimately come to haunt us. The way one views technology is based on their generational experiences. Those that grew up without smartphones see today’s youth struggling with poor social connections, while the youth think that they have a well cultivated social circle aided by technology. This bring into consideration the following: Was the Art Deco movement forward thinking or naïve?