Following their visits to Vizcaya Museum & Gardens on November 1st, 2018, the FIU Honors students of Art Society Conflict 2018-2019 and Poetry Art Community 2018-2019 shared their voices and opinions through photographs and personal reflections.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, which sits on Biscayne Bay in Miami, seems so elegant in her tree lined, gentle waters. Her natural appeal drawing you in, only to leave you blankly staring mid-thought, confronting your imagination. All the chatter of worlds and times traveled in a blink of an eye. Completed in 1922 by James Deering, an international businessman for his family’s business, the Deering Harvester Company, and socialite.
Was it first Vizcaya or Biscay? Shall we reminisce on the Tequesta; or, the Vizcaynos as they now can be called. Buried histories uncovered solemnly by a reshaping, some sort of reconfiguring we have learned to craft with our words and images. With all the splendor that is her fine marbles, fabric lined walls, contorted concoctions of statuesque treasures abound. What fantasy is relived through her intertwined, intricate gardens and roomy pleasures, promising tomorrows that may never arrive.
Such softness juxtaposed against her tragedies. How many hostilities raged against her magnificence; sometimes, even the most beautiful of things are accompanied by the trying of times like details lost to hurricanes. Touched by the sadness that her vastness hides within the lushness of life. We fell here together, fast and freely, into a paradise only the spirit of life and living could declare upon her coast.
In high school, I heard of this magical place where all the girls, who will soon become young ladies, took their quince and sweet sixteen photos. These photographs typically included a young girl wearing a large, extravagant gown looking dramatically into the distance. I myself never experienced this critical moment in every Miami girl’s life. Instead, I got to experience the structure and gardens for what they are: a piece of Miami’s history. Everywhere you turn, you are amazed by its design and its avoidance of rules. As we learned, James Deering did everything in his power to forget tradition and design his home to his own liking. As a result, he created a one-of-a-kind property that receives over 275,000 visitors per year, impressing all who enter. In the end, I experienced the basic quince pictures because why not.
Immediately upon entering the gates at Vizcaya you could tell that this is a special part of Miami. As someone who just recently moved here, I was eager to soak up as much information as I could in the time I was there.
As an architecture major, I was obviously most excited to tour the inside. I was not expecting the merging and sometimes near clashing of cultures i saw upon entering. I found James Deering to be quite an interesting figure according to his decisions. Personally I admire the way that he assimilates various cultures and styles of design into his fantasy; although I recognize where it is problematic, without this we would never be able to experience all of the history in the unexpected way that Vizcaya has to offer.
A few weeks after our visit to Vizcaya, our class was involved in a discussion on finding “truth” in art. I feel that this is a great way to evaluate Vizcaya, as a place where maybe the design and architecture is not completely truthful as far as what was typical for the time and culture of miami at this time, I feel that all of the “lies” in this aspect are reconciled in order to reveal a greater truth about Miami, that it is the place where countless cultures have merged and created something brand new and it’s very own.
Unfortunately I was not able to visit the gardens during my visit since I had to make it back to campus, but this is just another reason for me to return. Landscape architecture is fascinating to me and I would love to see how Deering chose to arrange the gardens to reflect the French precedents.
ASC / PAC Fall 2018 Student Gallery from Vizcaya Museum & Gardens