Wynwood as Text

Wynwood and its many art filled collections were the focus of this week’s many excursions. As we traveled to the Margulies Collection, and later the De La Cruz Collection, we discovered a part of Miami that’s largely underground and unnoticed by both tourists and locals. Miami’s thriving and contemporary art are hidden behind the unique graffiti of Wynwood and the high end stores of the Design District, however, we traveled to a brand new part and learned about the artists and their works as part of Miami, and learned that not all art serves as just a decoration.

Margulies Collection

This collection was spectacular and inspiring, as different themes of hunger and oppression were shown through the many works. We were lucky enough to be given a tour by the very collector himself, Mr. Margulies. One of my personal favorites in this collection was the room with many people, filled with hollow, stiffened cloth made to look like headless people. The symbolism of the artist is shown through the way that the cloth was molded, all the same, but the folding completely different. The headlessness of these figures was a symbolism for the people who felt their identity and humanity was stripped of them as their names became numbers. This is an example of unappealing art, because the color of the fabric was just a brown cloth, and overall, not aesthetically pleasing, however this piece is not meant for that, it is meant to make you observe and look beyond, for a purpose or a meaning.

Another very moving piece was a replica of “The Bread Line” by George Segal, the real one being in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C. This shows the turmoil from a time of despair and disillusionment of the Great Depression, and the reality of people during this time period, and the emotions of the financial struggle. It shows how the lessons and events of history can be transported through time to show impact and emotion in something as simple as an art collection. This piece impacts multiple audiences globally, not unlike how the Great Depression impacted the entire world. The impact in this sculpture is truly meant to make you stop and think.

De La Cruz Collection

Felix Gonzales-Torres was one of the more impactful artists of this collection, and personally one of my favorites. His works mostly revolved around the idea and construct of time and how its many qualities are beyond culture and language barriers, and can relate to every human being. One of his works consisted of 31 paintings of charts set up similar to a calendar. The reason the collection shows to have it in this manner is due to the meaning behind the paintings, both literally and figuratively. Behind the canvas of each painting are photos, letters, and treasured items, but the meaning of the work is the end of Felix Gonzales-Torres in the month that he died, and the chart were the doctor’s report in his last days. The charts have been painted over with white as a way to ignore the truth, but once the paint dried, the charts would seep through the layer of white, and the reality would once again resurface.

Another work by Felix Gonzales-Torres were the lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling to the floor by the bare, electrical cords. Much like the calendar, the theme was also the universal construct of time, and the meaning behind this work was much easier to understand. Time for everyone is limited, just as the lightbulbs will eventually go out one by one. There are also 42 lightbulbs in total, which made me think of a possible allusion to a book titled “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” by Douglas Adams where the supercomputer says the answer to the meaning of life is 42, which although the two are most likely completely unrelated, personally finding meaning in a piece of art truly made the art not only more appealing to me, but gave the work a deeper meaning and a hidden mystery altogether.


For such an underappreciated part of Miami, I was truly impressed with the rich culture of modern and contemporary art that the city neglects to advertise. Miami is a culturally and historically rich city, however, the way we portray the city to tourists is a city that is filled with material wealth, high-class living, long-lasting parties, and lots of liquor. Although that does attract tourists, there should also be the display and appreciation of another part of Miami filled with moving art by incredible artists. We also, as a society, should stray away from this idea that art needs to be beautiful in order to be appreciated. Not all art serves to decorate or please, but instead is supposed to make you think, feel, and question the world you live in.

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.


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. 

ChickenKey as Text

ChickenKey as Text

On this week’s excursion, we met at the Deering Estate once again and visited Chicken Key, a beautiful island filled with flora, fauna, and unfortunately lots and lots of trash. Our goal in coming out here was to pick up and return to the Deering Estate with as much trash as we could collect in the time we were there, and as much as we could fit in the class’s canoes. Before setting out, we began forming pairs of the more experienced with the less experienced. Although the majority of the class traveled, in canoes, I was one of the fortunate few to travel in a kayak. I prefer kayaks to canoes because the wind resists less, and I have more experience with kayaks. After some safety tips and a crash course on manoeuvering the boats, we set out to Chicken Key.

On the way to the key, I paired up with Annette to go to the island together. Of the two of us, I was more knowledgeable of kayaks, and so because of that I went in the back and controlled the steering, while she went in the front and paddled. After a fairly short amount of time, we made a lot of progress, and because kayaks are so much faster than canoes, we waited until the rest of the group got closer before continuing and reaching the island.

We arrived at the key and I was immediately at awe at the mangrove habitat of the island and the life that flourished there. However, my amazement quickly turned to disappointment as we went to work, picking up trash we could find. I found what looked like a large dish rack and filled it three times, completely horrified by what I saw: liquor bottles, shoes, glass, plastic bottles, bottle caps, children’s floaties and so much more. As we piled it onto the kayaks and canoes, we decided to take a break and explore. 

We found many horseshoe crab shells and many hermit crabs about the island, even finding a few raccoons who were curious about our lunch. We then went swimming where we encountered two wild lobsters in a plastic tube that Professor Bailly triumphantly held above the water. We returned to our mission once more before leaving the island, however, we still barely scratched the surface on the amount of pollution on that island. It truly saddens me to see such a beautiful environment become a trashcan for human civilization. As we left we picked up some last-minute Pikachu balloon trash and went on our way. 

On the way back, Annette and I got caught in the mangroves trying to pick up some trash and I came face to face with a wild iguana. As a marine biology major, I know a lot about these creatures as I have studied about them and how they are an invasive species in south Florida, and how they are also very dangerous. Thankfully, my partner Annette didn’t see it as in order to safely get out of the situation, I needed to be calm and collected. My voice level dropped into a whisper, and I swiftly got us out of the mangroves. I later told Annette who was thrilled she remained ignorant during the situation.

In returning to the Deering Estate, we loaded all the canoes on the vehicle and disposed properly of all the trash. It was definitely eye-opening to see where some of these everyday objects go. The accumulation of trash is a big problem, and soon the solution will be too far out of our reach. In order to preserve our natural habitats and appreciate the environment, we need to help it flourish and prevent waste and other pollutants from entering the beautiful area our flora and fauna call home.

Deering as Text

Deering as Text

On the excursion of the Deering Estate, we encountered many incredible feats of nature. Although we will return as a class later in the semester, my first encounter with the residence was truly spectacular. The grounds of the estate include the building itself, and the nature-filled hiking trails. On this excursion, we focused on only the hiking grounds, more specifically the Pine Rocklands, and the Tropical Hardwood Hammocks.

Getting Started

Before going out into the wilderness, we were met with the Director of the estate, Jennifer Tisthammer, and she described the history of the hiking grounds and the geology about some of the sites where we were going. As there are many poison ivy and poisonwood, especially in the Hammocks, it was highly recommended we wear clothing that covered our legs and arms as much as possible and to be cautious of what we touch with our fingertips. She informed us that the site, called Miami Rock Ridge, was formed over 120,000 years ago and had elevations up to 25 feet above sea level, which is fairly impressive for someone who has only experienced flatlands for most of their lives. She also warned us to be wary of any holes on the trail, as they are archeological sites.

Pine Rocklands

Heading into the ridge, we started off at the Pine Rocklands, which true to its name, had many pine trees and cones in the area. It was incredibly eye-opening to see an environment so unlike the rest of Miami’s tropical oasis, however, it still being able to thrive. As promised, there were many holes in the path which thankfully I did not fall in. Ms. Tisthammer informed us that most of these holes are archeological sites usually about 1 meter wide and 1 meter deep. Many animal and even human remains have been found in these archeological sites, such as one particular site that we visited where human remains were found in the corner of what may have been a living area. Seeing this was amazing and being able to stand where history happened is even more awesome.

Tropical Hardwood Hammock

The Hammocks was a completely different environment from the Rocklands, needless to say, it was incredible seeing how two completely different ecosystems coexist so perfectly. Subtle differences such as temperature, humidity, and even the smell of the air seemed so drastic. It was here where Ms. Tisthammer once again warned us to be extra wary of poisonous plants and told us for cautionary reasons, to push aside any plants with our arm or our wrist so as not to expose our skin to the poisonous plants. It was here where we learned that in many of the holes animal remains were found due to what is most likely a tar pit. In these traps, and animal is put in a ‘sticky situation’ where they can’t move, therefore their predator comes to hunt, and a similar effect happens to them, causing and affecting the lives of animals and the food chains.


This visit to the Deering Estate and its hiking grounds was truly awe-inspiring as we learned about the history, background, and geology of the grounds by not only discussing it but by experiencing it. The beautiful wilderness of this estate is truly captivating and I recommend visiting to anyone in Miami, whether you are a local or a tourist. I had such an amazing time, and I look forward to returning for our next excursion to Chicken Key.

Study Abroad Info Session October 2019

15 October, 2019 AT 03:30 PM IN SASC 160

Join Professor Bailly and Program Assistant Sofia Guerra for an introduction to the France, Italy, & Spain study abroad programs of the FIU Honors College. Whether you are going to Europe in Summer 2020 or considering 2021 or 2022, this session will be helpful.

Check out #fiuhonorsabroad2019 on Instagram for photos from Espana, France, & Italia. Check our FIU Broadcast Media major Lily Fonte’s video and webpage of the 2019 Italy program.



Espana Study Abroad
France Study Abroad
Italia Study Abroad

John William Bailly  15 October 2019

Art Society Conflict: Rebeka Josil

My name is Rebeka Josil and I’m currently a Junior, majoring in Biology. I have hopes of attending Medical School in the future. I love learning about different cultures through art and whenever I get the chance, I visit museums. I also love travelling and spending time with family, but one of my favorite hobbies is going camping. I believe the world’s greatest art is nature and it’s better to experience going outdoors.

Art Society Conflict “Norton as Text” – Rebeka Josil

The visit to Norton Museum was a memorial one, and was worth drive to West Palm Beach. I got to experience the changes of paintings throughout the centuries and step into the shoes of each painter’s life in each era. I learnt that painters weren’t respected back then, and they weren’t allowed to paint outside the rules of painting. However, as time progress, more printers broke that barrier and developed new type of paintings. I gained knowledge of each painter trails and achievements throughout that era.

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Wangechi Mutu’s painting was really interesting and caught my eyes immediately. The name of the painting is called, “Your Story, My Curse” and captured the world of abstract by ‘manipulating paint and collaging images of animals, vegetables, fashion’. -Norton Museum. What made this even more interesting to me is the painting is a depiction of females. One sentence from the description perfectly states -‘Our use of makeup, clothing, and communication through physical appearance boils down to a very primal urge to attract and/or scare those we want around or afar from us’- Norton Museum.  I felt in the painting, you could of barley depict it was humans, but when you know the story behind the painting that made whole more beautiful and unique.

Deering Estate as Text by Rebeka Josil

Deering Estate is very special to Miami, as it holds the foundation of what Miami was before it became a city. The vast different I saw exploring the estate was astounding and I couldn’t believe that this was Miami before. I learnt that there was a tribe that lived there, Tequesta, but little is known of them. However, our tour guide Vanessa told us as much as she could and showed us the remaining of the Tequesta. We hiked in two trails. The first hike was to the Paleo-Indian archaeological Cutler Fossil Site. The second hike was to the Pre-Spanish Tequesta Burial Mound.

The overview of The Paleo-Indian archeological Cutler Fossil Site

The Paleo-Indian archeological Cutler Fossil Site was an adventure itself, walking through the thick, dense forest covered with poison ivy were both a challenge and a workout, that added to my excitement of what lied ahead, deep into the forest. It’s like a mini Amazon Rainforest in the Miami Metropolitan shores, that had a variety of trees that can be poisonous or not.  Vanessa explained and showed some of the tools the Tequesta tribe used for their everyday lives. For example, a conch shell that only had its core to dig holes into the ground and pieces of shells to scrape of tree bark. It was very interesting to know that they diet mostly consisted of fish, as they lived closed to the shores.

The second hike was to the Pre-Spanish Tequesta Burial Mound. It was easier to walk through, as there was a pathway with less trees in the way, however there were spiders everywhere. I loved how the various plants and trees of the Tequesta time are still present and Vanessa explained what purposes the Tequesta used them for. Our finally stop at a burial mound of the Tequesta. Above their burial ground, a huge and healthy oak tree stands. After learning about the horrible deed that was done to them and they were swiped out completely; seeing this site made me at peace knowing that this scared place was not destroyed.

The oak tree which a burial of the Tequesta members still remains.

This excursion of the estate was really enjoyable for me as I learnt and saw what life would be without technology. Life was more peaceful back then; nature was flourishing tremendously, and the food contained no chemicals. I hope this estate is preserve for a very long time as it hold history.

Wynwood as Text by Rebeka Josil

Wynwood I believe, is the central point for many forms of art in Miami. Going to Margulies Collection and De la Cruz Museum lead to a whole other view of what is known as art. That is contemporary art; it was like entering the unknown and each room had a different mood. Contemporary art, I would say, is defying the rules and creating art out of anything and everything. After visiting each museum, I saw art differently and became more open-minded.

In the picture below, I did not know what it was about or who the artist was. However, I was fascinated by the realistic features of the men and the overall theme it set. What first came to my mind was five men waiting on something, but I didn’t know for what. Mr. Margulies, the founder of the Margulies Collection stated, “The art has to have a visual idea or it’s just a component. It is not what the art is; it is what it’s about.” Later doing more research on the sculptor, George Segal and his piece below. I came to find out that this piece is call, “The Depression Bread Line.” According to Grounds for Sculpture- “The five male figures lined up by the wall on the sculpture pad represent a scene from the Great Depression, a period of economic hardship during which many people were in need of government assistance to survive.” I was surprised as I interpreted it wrong, but I believe the beauty of contemporary art is you interpret what you think it may be, you later find what it really is, challenges your mind to think outside the box.

George Segal, 1999, “ The Depression Line”


Vizcaya as Text by Rebeka Josil

Vizcaya is no doubt a replica of Europe- a mixture of Italian, Spanish, French and a sprinkle of Islamic influence; founded by James Deering, the brother of Charles Deering. James Deering had the money and wanted to hold value to his name. Since persons in America did not have a lineage of noble family members or households; for example, John de Mowbray, 1st Earl of Nottingham. James Deering built Vizcaya as a mean to show his nobility and therefore gain respect. He also built Vizcaya for a getaway from the cold up North.  Vizcaya was surreal to me as I did not need to step foot into Europe to experience the architecture or culture. I saw a little of France’s Versailles, Italian and Spanish Renaissance. Moreover, some of the art pieces were either a replica or brought from Europe and are worth thousands of dollars. What was quite funny to me was two portraits of unknown persons (both named Deering) hanged in the dining room of James Deering Estate, however they are in no way related. The building of Vizcaya had a sad beginning, unfortunately. Bahamian and black Americans were labored and paid little to nothing, later to be segregated to what is known as Coconut Grove’s today. However, like most historically buildings in America, I believe the black Americans should be recognized for what is known as America today. To end, I enjoyed my visit to Vizcaya as I got experience a day of what used to be James Deering’s life. I am still in awe by the richness of architecture of Europe seen in Vizcaya and I like to believe it is little Europe in Miami.

This picture shows how creative someone gets when resources are limited. The Bahamian and black Americans could not build the mosaic, so instead they used seashells.

Bocca della Verità- is believed if you never told a lie, your arm would not be bitten off.

The Lns Gallery

The LnS Gallery was something new I experienced. It is not a museum but a gallery that sells artists’ paintings and sculptures. I learnt how and why it is better for artists to have a company like LnS Gallery to sell their paintings as it is worth much more than they thought. Some paintings are worth up 4.5 million dollars and as low as 100 dollars.  The owners were very friendly and answered all the questions about their business. Moreover, I like how they help underground artists to sell their valued paintings at reasonable prices. And, I like how they have paintings as low as 100 dollars for students to buy and invest. The visit to LnS Gallery was pleasant and I gained knowledge of the process of selling paintings to buyers.

HistoryMiami as Text

On this week’s excursion, we explored the historical side of Downtown Miami and Vizcaya, and discussed the problematic issues and saddening truths, while also exploring the beautiful culture and creative background of the city we call home.

“Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels”

Starting at the Government Center Metrorail Station, we viewed a fountain by famous pop artist Claes Oldenberg of a broken bowl of oranges. This completely compliments Miami’s style, as it references the famous Orange Bowl football stadium, and Florida being the ‘orange state’. Although the positioning of the sculpture made it hard to see what it actually is, it is symbolic of Miami’s nature as this city and its downtown is not what it appears to be.

Miami River

As we continued down to the Miami River, we encountered Miss Lucia Meneses and she was kind enough to let us into the slave residencies of the last remaining building of Fort Dallas, a former plantation of Miami. Although the structure was altered with new wood beams and a concrete floor, the conditions of this house were unlivable. Even with adaptations over the years of being Miami’s first courthouse, to becoming the meeting area for the Daughters of the American Revolution, to stand where people of history stood before us was amazingly impactful, and extremely depressing.

Flagler’s Impact

Even after all these years, it’s amazing how Flagler’s railroads affected and created the city of Miami today. The search for citrus pushed the building of the railroad all the way down to the Florida Keys, and formed the need for a new city. However, the sad truth is a backstory of the racism occurring at this time as the slaves working we’re allowed to vote in support for a new city, but immediately after we’re segregated to the conditions of the previously mentioned Fort Dallas’s slave residencies.

Viscaya Styles

The mix of different artistic styles in the Vizcaya Villa is described perfectly by Professor John William Bailly; it makes no sense. From the outside of the villa, it has a very European style architecture, but the adventure begins when you enter the house. The statue of Dionysus and The Dancing Faun show that this residency is one of earthly pleasures and escape. The next room to the left then tells a different story of neoclassical art where the expressionless art gives a sense of intelligence, and the subliminal sense of structure give the space a uniformity and sense of harmony. However entering the next room is one of baroque and extremely emotional art, reflecting the Sun King’s palace of Versailles. The topic of cultural appropriation of art was frequent such as the Catholic painting of the Virgin Mary being used to cover up organ pipes, and Islamic art being used to describe the Catholic god. 

The mix of art in Vizcaya making no sense, to the contradictory nature of the creation of the city, are perfect representations of Miami and the mix of cultures that make no sense, but still collaborate and work together to create the historically problematic, yet extremely impactful city of Miami.

Art Society Conflict: Ruth Shmueli

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.

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 todays 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.

Miami in Miami: Jose Rosales

Photo by Lily Fonte


Hello everyone. My name is Jose Rosales, my family emigrated from Cuba about 10 years ago when I was 14 years of age. I am a FIU undergrad who is currently pursuing a bachelor’s in Biology. I plan to graduate next semester and attend Medical School with the goal of becoming a great neurosurgeon.

I basically grew up in Miami, but I have never exploited the fact that I live in such a popular city. If you go to any country (or any other state for that matter) and you say that you are from Miami, the first thought that goes into people’s minds is that you are a wealthy individual who lives a luxurious life and enjoys all the benefits that the magic city has to offer. I for one, have always taken for granted the fact that I live in such a popular city. I have never taken the time to get to know my own city. Hence, I decided to join professor Bailly this semester so that alongside him and my classmates we can truly discover everything that this weird, yet attractive city has to offer.

Metro as Text

Miami: A City Full of Hidden Treasures By Jose Rosales of FIU in Miami on September 11, 2019

I have lived in Miami for the past 10 years and never had it occurred to me to ride the metro. There is this misconception that people have that public transportation is unsafe and just not practical. I have lived in Miami for the past 10 years and never had it occurred to me to ride the metro. There is this misconception that people have that public transportation is unsafe and just not practical. As time progresses, our society becomes more and more dependent on technology. We try to connect with people through applications such as Facebook and Instagram when in reality we just end up isolating ourselves from other people. Applications like Uber and Lyft make it easier to get to a desired destination with the click of a button, some of their more affordable options even include carpooling which is great for the environment and helps decrease the number of cars on the streets. However, these benefits are nothing compared to the advantages bestowed upon us by public transportation. The first big difference we can see is price, the metro is a transportation method that is fairly inexpensive. Riding the metro allows you to connect and interact with people, you get to see how they go about their everyday life. Even if you do not approach the passengers and establish a conversation, you still find yourself encountering all kinds of different people and of different social classes. Hence, get to connect with the more humane aspect of your life. Not to mention how much faster you can reach your desired destination, since you are avoiding all the traffic that encompasses living in a city as overpopulated as Miami. One of the downsides of riding the metro (or any form of public transportation for that matter) is what is known as “the last mile”, which basically means that these transport methods can often warrantee to get you within a mile of your objective. However, I like to see it as an opportunity to exercise your body by either walking or riding a bike. Overall, I had a great time learning how to ride the metro and discovering areas of Miami to which I had never been before.

Vizcaya as Text

The Jewel of the shoreline By Jose Rosales of FIU in Miami on September 25, 2019

Vizcaya Museum & Garden is a place that is often associated with quinceañeras and weddings due to this historic landmark’s astonishing beauty. I have lived in Miami for the past 10 years and I had never paid a visit to this monumental village until our first trip with professor Bailly. Turns out Vizcaya is much more than just a magnificent architectural jewel, it is the epitome of cultural appropiation.

What once was an endless shoreline of mangroves and inland native forest, billionaire James Deering turned into an extravagant villa that would later embody Miami’s essence. As you disembark the train at Vizcaya Metrorail Station and you make your way towards the villa, there is a bridge that dances with the flora and moves out of nature’s way in a zig-zag pattern that is both beautiful and respectful. As you reach the west entrance, you are greeted by a sculpture of Ponce de Leon and two flowing fountains that lead the way to the estate’s façade as you walk under a massive arch formed by trees that rise from both side of the walkway. James Deering’s goal was to create an Italian Renaissance style Villa as authentic as possible, and he did, it looks as though a European architectural piece had been magically removed from its rightful place and it had been planted on the coast of Florida. Deering wished for his winter residence to be a representation of his wealth, and he made sure that his guests acknowledged that. A statue of Dionysus can be found at the entrance of the mansion that captures the essence of Miami –as Dionysus is the god of wine and pleasure. He wanted his guests to know that his residence was a paradise, a Garden of Eden. He understood the very nature of Miami, of what it should rise to be, a city that is as weird and extravagant as it is beautiful.

Deering Estate as Text

The Sister Jewel By Jose Rosales of FIU in Miami on October 13, 2019

The Deering Estate is a four hundred- and forty-four-acre time travel machine that allows you to retrace the steps of history. It grants you the opportunity to walk the same paths as our predecessors. Thus, facilitating discovery as you dive deeper into its prominent hammocks, which house the subtle secrets that it has to share with the eyes of the meticulous explorer.

As we ventured further into the grounds (avoiding certain poisonous trees and solution holes) we came across different fossils that date as far back as 50, 000- 100, 000 years. I was fascinated at the fact that I stood where many creatures now extinct, such as mammoths, once roamed free, the only thing that stood between us was time. Let alone the fact that it never crossed my mind that at any given point in time mammoths wandered in Florida. I will never forget the moment I got to hold in my very hands a fragment of such magnificent creature’s teeth, something that I can now proudly check off from my bucket list.

Paleo Indians, Tequesta’s and Seminoles have lived at different times in the land encompassed by the Estate. During our hike we also stumbled upon many artifacts that serve as living proof of the Tequesta’s trading methods. We discovered different colored pieces of pottery that hail from different parts of the nation. We know this based on the elemental composition of such fragments. These native Americans would trade pottery items for conch shell tools, which were modified by them to serve various purposes. We also had the opportunity to visit a Tequesta burial mound where their loved ones now rest in peace. A colossal oak tree lays at the center of the burial, serving as its very own Taj Mahal. I can only hope that more people would take the time to enjoy this magical experience, and by effect learn more about our past.

Chicken Key as Text

In Preservation of our Shoreline By Jose Rosales of FIU in Miami on October 23, 2019

A week had passed and I found myself back at the Sister Jewel. This time, however, with a different goal in mind, to save the lives of many marine animals that struggle to fight against the wreckage that we as human leave behind. As we gathered by the bay, professor Bailly detailed out the instructions on how we were to proceed once we got to Chicken Key. I remember having a hard time keeping focus due to the inexplicable beauty that lay before me. It was a sunrise like no other, and I just kept thinking that it was at last the time for me to make a positive impact on our local environment. We traveled by way of canoe, after paddling for approximately 45 minutes we arrived at a small island that would prove to be the beginning of our adventure. Once there, we were faced with an overwhelming amount of marine debris. There were plastic bottles, shattered glass, plastic bags and all kinds of rubbish scattered all around. It was just a heart-breaking moment, to come to the realization of how much unnecessary harm humans can cause not only to the beautiful and innocent creatures that inhabit our waters but to the planet itself. Freeing up the island from so much pollution is definitely one thing that brings peace to my mind and something that I can be proud of. I wish people would become more conscious of all the damage that we are doing to our planet. We as human are so proud of our technological advancements and exalt ourselves as a superior species. Yet, in truth, we are just the most brutal, selfish and cruel organism of them all.

Wynwood as Text

A look into Contemporary Art By Jose Rosales of FIU in Miami on November 6, 2019

People often spend months, even years, planning trips to European countries such as Italy and Spain in order to visit museums and experience masterpieces by the greatest artist of all times, such as Picasso and da Vinci. However, something that I did not know is that we have on our very own backyards (metaphorically speaking), some of the leading contemporary art collections in the world. Collections that people from Paris, Rome and from all over the world desperately long to visit. It is funny how everything is a matter of perspective, how one finds more desirable that which one cannot easily obtain (or have access to for that matter). To be honest, art has never been one of my strong suits. Though I was excited for the visit to the art collections, I did not expect to be truly captivated by anything. I was expecting to see what I always believed to be overpriced abstract paintings that I couldn’t understand. However, much to my surprise, we came across some fantastic and very unique works of art. At the Margulies Collection, we were extremely fortunate to have Mr. Margulies himself take time out of his busy schedule to give us a tour of the premises. As we walked by the different rooms, he explained how art was not only about being visually appealing to the audience but that it was also about conveying a message. Art can take on many forms, from a simple photograph to a sculpture, to a urinal hung up on the wall. I remember he said, “if you take a shirt and hang it on the wall, then it becomes art… that does not mean it is good art, but still art nonetheless”. When he said this, everyone laughed because it was so funny, yet also true. He gave us a little insight on how he collects the works that he believes in and he even let us take a peek to what he had in storage. After visiting both, Margulies and the De la Cruz Collection, I finally understood that, as the saying goes, you cannot judge a book by its cover. One must first approach the piece and try to understand it whether it be visually appealing or not, and only then should we decide whether we like it or not. I will be definitely be coming back with my family and friends and share with them a little bit of what I have learned.

Miami In Miami: Daniel A. Perez

Hey, my name is Daniel Perez, I’m 19 years old and I am currently a sophomore at FIU. I am majoring in Mechanical Engineering with hopes to continue onto the field of law as an IP attorney.

I am a Miamian born and raised. First generation born in the United States from a Cuban background. I was brought up in the land of sexy people, summer fun year round, and everyone owning a Ferrari or something like that. So of course I wanted to see even more of my home.

I decided to take this course because I’m a bit curious and adventurous. I love learning the ins and outs of things and what better thing to learn about than your own home. I’m hoping to learn about things I didn’t even think you could find here in Miami, and I’m looking forward to the adventures we’ll go on together.

Metro In Miami

The first off-campus meeting for the Miami in Miami class began with us gathering at the Dadeland South Metro Station. Here the class would be one of the few in Miami to purchase a day pass to be able to get around the city via the metro. Public transportation is definitely not the most popular means of transport for Miamians.

Professor Bailly pointed out an interesting observation at our first stop. He talked about the size of the sidewalk, and how here in Miami the sidewalks are generally smaller when compared to those of other major cities and other countries. Considering I have had the chance to travel and visit areas with more emphasis on public transportation, this simple and seemingly minuscule detail about our standards here in Miami surprised me. I had not taken the time to notice the size of our sidewalks because of that reason. We simply don’t walk to our destinations on a regular basis. Miami isn’t focused on its public transportation, and the areas that it does are fairly closed off to people like me that live in the Kendall area. It took me about an hour to reach the station by car, which was the closest stop to my home. The thought of using public transportation instead of a personal vehicle is not a bad idea at all, as a student it would make things easier honestly. I would have one less expense to worry about and there are the ecological benefits to think about. Less cars on the road means less emissions which generally mean a greener lifestyle by having a smaller carbon footprint. I feel like Miami could focus on that instead of its expansion on highway

Walk In Miami / Viscaya


On this meeting with the Miami in Miami class our trip around downtown was sidetracked by a small gem found by the professor in the form of Fort Dallas. A military base formed at the mouth of the Miami river to safeguard during times of war against Native Americans. The Fort has its own share of history. Much like Miami it was a place of change and became what it needed to be throughout the years. The small building began as a soldier’s barracks and then became a slave’s quarters. It then went on to become a military barrack once again during the war against Native Americans, followed by a courthouse and then as a meeting place for the Daughters of the Revolution.  

We continued the day by going to Viscaya. This time we had the chance to go through the individual rooms of the villa. To say the least Deering was a very intricate man. He didn’t care about certain social constraints. He cut a painting of the Saint Mary in half to be able to hide the pipes of an organ. He held a mosaic of Islamic art depicting Spaniard noble arms and placed a miniature replica of the Boy with Thorn and placed it next to a landline. Was there a significant purpose to it? Aesthetic most likely considering the type of man he was. Deering truly wanted to paint himself in an eccentric light, he wanted to be at the top, to seem like he was extremely cultured with a lineage. He was able to own the latest in technological advancements from refrigerators to vacuums to telephones. Deering displayed his need to be perceived as cultured from old European Deering portraits depicting people with no relation to him or his family, as well as the cut-out book spines that he held in his library. He painted that illusion in a very believable way, it took the form of his estate, and it is one of grandeur and extravagance the likes of which were very rare in Miami at the time.

Deering Estate


Photo Credits to Ashley Diaz
Photo Credits to Ashley Diaz

James Deering purchased the Richmond inn and renovated it in 1916, 6 years later the estate was completed with the addition of the Stone House, is home to several archeological records. The area holds thousands of years of interactions between humans and their natural environment. Native American groups such as the Tequesta and the Seminole resided in the area. Some fossils found even depict Paleo Indian and mega fauna dating back to the Pleistocene era. Within the estate one can also visit the archeological sites where bones and fossils can be found from ancient wildlife that once roamed the area, such as mammoths. The estate also held on to the ancient tools made of shells that the Native Americans used to survive in the natural world.  

The Estate is still home to a variety of endangered wildlife as a result of freshwater areas found alongside the Native American trail. This population concentration of animals caused the area to be nicknamed the “Hunting Grounds” by the Seminole tribes that once occupied the area.

When learning about the estate I thought to myself about the importance of areas such as this, how they connect our past to our present and as a result can be preserved for our future. That it is important to keep these places alive to prevent wildlife from becoming extinct, resulting in their study and observation to be strictly available in the form of books or skeletons.

Chicken Key

Daniel Perez 10/27/19

Photo credits to Nicole Patrick and Juliana Pereira

Chicken key is located roughly one mile out from the coast of the Deering Estate on Cutler road. In order to get on the island, we had to travel on canoes provided from the estate and paddle across the bay. The bay had generally calm waters with a max depth of four to five feet, allowing for even inexperienced paddlers to make the trip in about forty minutes.

Though we did not travel to the estate again to just merely site see, this time around we came with the goal to try and clean as much of the marine trash that washes onto the key over time. The amount and types of garbage we collected was quite astonishing. Things from glass bottles to parts of shoes, even an inflatable was picked up.

Upon arrival to the key we found places to dock along the shore and tied down the canoes to the mangroves surrounding the area. Once disembarked we quickly found piles of bottles, both glass and plastic to sort through, ropes and strings that were discarded from passing boats, plenty of plastic bags, and even what I think could have once been the border to a window. We began by organizing the trash to a central point, which would later become a picnic area for us, where it was then taken to the canoes parked on the outskirts of the island. This would all then be paddled back to the estate for final pickup.

I have always been a person to appreciate nature, especially that found in the water. It was both astonishing and a shame to see how nature had overcome its struggles with pollution. The mangroves were able to grow around and through some of the trash that was found on the island, animals that were living on and around the key found ways to make homes out of the pollution. It makes me very sad that people are so inconsiderate of the things they interact with, they dump and discard what was used, and this results in the poisoning and harm that comes to these natural areas. Something that can be simply avoided if we picked up after ourselves.



This time around we decided to travel to the Wynwood region of Miami. We viewed not the famous walls but pieces of art that were less well known in Miami. It surprised me to know just how many modern art collections we had here in Miami. As a resident of the city I felt ashamed at how unaware I was about the culture held within my city. I have always been a fan of the arts, but I was completely oblivious to the collections, we were told about different principles of art, and how this thing known as conceptual art started, a type of art that did not necessarily have to visually appealing but a stimulation of the mind, a message, an experience, something all sorts of people could look at and not have the same thought on.

Our second destination was not far from the Wynwood I didn’t even know about the design district during that region. It was a definite wakeup call and a bit of a call to action, regarding getting the word across about Miami being a center for the appreciators of art. To take it past the yearly event of art Basel here in Miami. To think about people considering Miami to be not only a place to party and have fun, one that is filled with sexy people, but a place where art can flourish and be displayed with a population of cultured people and not just party animals, but cultured party animals.