VOX

ASC Art Service Project: Rubell Museum

By Ruth Shmueli on 12/10/2019

Sculpture in the Gardens at the Rubell Museum

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.

Grand Opening

Dior model standing in front of a vintage car at the Dior Fashion Show

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

Image of the Rubell Museum with the garden reflection

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

*Ten service hours were recorded on MyHonors

Citations:

https://rfc.museum/

https://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/visual-arts/article237420414.html

https://www.wlrn.org/post/new-rubell-museum-hopes-show-more-public-face-art-collector-family

See Miami 2019 Lowe Art Museum: Molly Schantz

Student Biography

My name is Molly Schantz. I was born in Miami, but grew up in Asheville, North Carolina. I am majoring in Political Science on the Pre-Law track. After I graduate from FIU, I would like to go to law school and eventually practice environmental law. I’ve always believed that travel and cultural experience is the best way to get an education and being in a class such as Art Society Conflict where I can learn about topics outside of my major while also being outside a classroom is my ideal honors class. 

Geography 

Map of Coral Gables

The Lowe Art Museum is located on the campus of the University of Miami in Coral Gables. The address of the museum is 1301 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables FL. In order to get to the museum you have to enter the University of Miami campus located right off of Ponce De Leon Boulevard and South Dixie Highway. While it is technically a private campus, the museum is open to the public. There is limited parking, but the university offers shuttles directly the museum and the campus is accessible by Metrorail. 

History 

Lowe Art Museum in 1952

The Lowe Art Museum was originally founded inside three classrooms at the University of Miami in 1950 as a teaching resource. It was originally established as a gift from Joe and Emily Lowe. It was the first art museum in South Florida. The museum opened to the public in 1952. The majority of collections over the museums history have been donations. The first large donation was a collection of Native American art from Alfred I. Barton. Soon after the museum became part of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation which brought 41 works of Baroque and Renaissance art which became the main focus of the museum’s permanent collection until the 80’s. In 1984, Robert M. Bischoff donated 531 works of ancient American art which shifted the concentration of pieces astronomically. Over the years, the Lowe has expanded with a vast collection of works from Asia, South America, and glass and ceramic collections. It was originally meant to be an on-campus field trip for students, but quickly grew into a staple art destination in South Florida for residents and visitors alike. It is now a hub for contemporary art and politically charged exhibitions. Artists and collectors such as Martin Margulies of the Margulies Collection, collaborate with the Lowe and gift works that will further benefit the everlasting history of the museum. 

Mission

Mission Statement: An integral part of the University of Miami, the Lowe Art Museum offers its diverse audiences opportunities and resources for engaging with contemporary culture through 5,000 years of human creativity. 

Because the museum is located on a college campus, it fulfills its purpose of being an educational resource. The mission statement is broad because the museum is constantly receiving works of art from all different countries and eras in art history, making the museum uncategorizable by genre. The museum strives to radiate culture from around the world and is currently successful in completing that mission.

Access

The Lowe is a public art institution located on a private campus. Parking is metered around the campus, but there is a free lot in front of the museum with limited spaces. The museum is also accessible by metro and campus bus. Tickets are $12 for adults and children 12 or older, $8 for students and seniors with ID, and free for students/faculty/staff of UM with ID as well as children and members of the museum. Memberships range from $40 to $5000 depending how much you are willing to give. Memberships include free admission to the museum for one year as well as invitations to special events and exhibit previews. 

The Lowe Art Museum is open from 10am-4pm Tuesday through Saturday and from 12pm-4pm on Sundays. They are closed on Mondays. 

Specific Denominations of Memberships

  • Student – $40
  • Educator – $50
  • Individual- $60
  • Dual – $80
  • Family – $120
  • Sustaining – $225
  • Contributor – $500
  • Curator’s Circle – $1,200
  • Director’s Circle – $2,500
  • Benefactor – $5,000

Potential Membership Benefits 

  • Admission to the museum for one year
  • Admission to most lectures and special events
  • Invitations to exclusive exhibitions previews, receptions, and other museum programs
  • Special members-only events
  • Travel opportunities
  • Eligibility to join the Volunteer Docent Program
  • Admission to the Lowe After Hours
  • Admission to participating cultural institutions during Miami Museum Month in May

Collection

Le Neveu de Rameau by Frank Stella

The permanent collection has works that span from 500 BC with the Art of the Ancient Americas collection all the way to the mid 1900’s and 2000’s with contemporary work from Frank Stella, Carlos Alfonzo, and many more. Not only do the works stand the test of time, but works from all over the world are represented. The Art of Asia collection features sculptures from the Ming Dynasty. The Art of the Native Americas collection features musical instruments that trace back 2000 years. Each collection represents a different part of the world and the diversity of pieces is of the same quality as world renowned museums. 

List of Permanent Collections

  • Art of Africa 
  • Art of Asia
  • Art of Central and South America 
  • Art of Egypt and the Near East 
  • Art of Europe
  • Art of North America 
  • Art of the Ancient Americas 
  • Art of the Ancient Mediterranean 
  • Art of the Caribbean 
  • Art of the Native Americas 
  • Art of the Pacific Islands 

Exhibitions 

Ciudad en Ascenso by Juan Roberto Diago

The current special exhibition featured at the Lowe Art Museum is by Afro-Cuban artist, Juan Roberto Diago. Diago makes contemporary pieces that represent his view of the history of Cuba and dark past of slavery and colonialism that still haunts the nation today. His works serve as commentary race, poverty, and general discrimination in the present day that closely mirrors Cuba’s history. Diago uses mixed media such as wood sculptures, canvas, and spray paint. This exhibit exemplifies the museums mission to serve as an educational tool. Discrimination and conflict between Cuba and America are very relevant topics today and are important for students to be knowledgable about as it does affect them whether they realize it or not. Diago’s exhibit allows people to learn through his art.

List of Recent Exhibitions

  • DIAGO: The Pasts of this Afro-Cuban Present 
  • ArtLab @ The Lowe: Russia Unframed 
  • Carlos Estevez: Cities of the Mind
  • Binomial: Claudia DeMonte & Ed McGowin 

Special Programs 

The Lowe Art Museum offers painting classes called Sip & Sketch as well as weekly mindfulness seminars.  Along with these special events, the museum offers family/group tours and monthly socials called Lowe After Hours. 

In furthering their mission to provide cultural experience, the Lowe offers travel programs. The most recent travel opportunity was to Iceland. Participants experienced the culture of Iceland while getting to see galleries, studios, and museums alongside tourist exhibitions. 

Visitor

Untitled by Vladimir Lebedev

During my visit to the Lowe, I spoke to museum visitor and student, Alex Anacki. 

Have you visited the Lowe Art Museum before today? 

  • I have been here before, but this is a place that you could come back to multiple times and find something new and interesting that you didn’t see before. 

What do you find most impressive about this museum?

  • The Lowe has a collection diversity much like the Hirshhorn in the National Mall in DC or even the Met in New York, but on a much more intimate scale in the middle of Coral Gables. 

What is your favorite collection or exhibit?

  • The Diago exhibit is dark and thoughtful and has so many layers to it and so many things to learn about inside it, but I am always drawn to the contemporary collection and its purposeful incohesiveness. It is just purely great art pieces. 

Portrait

Americanoom by CHRYSSA

I spoke to the receptionist, Maria Cardenas. She has been working at the Lowe Art Museum for over 8 years now. She does reception and assists in special events for the museum as well as training desk assistants. 

What is your favorite part of the museum right now?

  • I think the new temporary exhibition, Diago. I think all the concepts are very powerful, being a Latin American and being Cuban also, the meaning is very powerful and at the same time very political. I also love the contemporary pieces, they are always my favorite to look at. I love the Lichtenstien. I also love the Renaissance collection from the Kress Foundation. It is always quiet in there so I sit in there during breaks sometimes. 

Do you think it is beneficial having an art museum on a college campus?

  • Oh yes! Definitely. I think students are a really good point of view to have around art. Art is educational and the history of art has to be part of our education. Even if you are not interested in art or pursuing a career in art, it is still a good way to gain knowledge and be able to have conversations about art. For students who are studying art or are interested in art, the museum is a great way to get connected and meet people that are part of the art world. 

Summary

Overall, the Lowe Art Museum exceeded my expectations. Because of its size and location, I did not think there would be enough resources for it to be so interesting, but I was very wrong. The layout of the museum is well done, each collection has its own room and the special exhibition has ample space to truly feel special. Not only is the layout successful, but so is the content. The history of art is represented throughout the space and the diverse variety of pieces is endlessly intriguing. The staff is kind and engaged from what I experienced. Unfortunately, the location within a university makes foot traffic in the museum a little slow from outside visitors, but that is a blessing for those who want to spend time inside and really appreciate the art without feeling rushed or crowded. 

MIM Fall 2019 Service Project: Nicole Patrick

Photos by Vivian Acosta, John Bailly, and Nicole Patrick (CC by 4.0)
Video by Nicole Patrick

By Nicole Patrick of FIU at Chicken Key, 10 November 2019

In order to understand a community, one must serve it. As one of the most rewarding parts of this class, we serve our community through volunteering. Miami In Miami, as a class, volunteered at the Deering Estate’s Chicken Key, which is an uninhabited island located inside of Biscayne Bay.

Through the power of social media, I was able to recreate our class’ experience for other students. Solely through word of mouth, I was able create a group of 22 FIU students and alumni to volunteer in the Chicken Key Cleanup. With my professor John W Bailly, I had participated in the cleanup two times, so I knew what to expect. In order to have a successful time, I created a schedule and structure for the entire day:

Chicken Key Faciliation sheet by Nicole Patrick.

In anticipation of the cleanup, I sent messages to members via our WhatsApp group chat explaining what we will be doing, what time we will be meeting and finishing, and what items to bring. This way, all the volunteers were aware of what we were doing.

On November 10, 2019, the current was very strong, so I encouraged the volunteers to partner with someone who balanced their canoeing experience. For example, someone who had no experience with someone who had a lot of experience. This way, they could work together in canoeing about one mile to Chicken Key.

It was pretty nerve-wracking to be hosting my first ever cleanup, but something that I learned it that sometimes your position is to lead. It was hard for me to see everyone working so hard while I made sure everyone was alright and posted on The Deering Estate’s Instagram page and story. This may seem very minuscule, but it was very different for me. Typically with cleanups, I attempt to feel accomplished by picking as much debris as possible. However, as Bailly had put it, my role brought everyone together. Without me taking the initiative, the cleanup would not have been possible.

I am very humbled and grateful for my leading experience and all of the volunteers that came. Together, we filled eight canoes with debris that we collected off of Chicken Key. During our reflection, each volunteer had taken something out of this experience from communicating directions while canoeing to paying attention to the details in collecting micro plastics. I am very excited to take what I had learned from November 10, 2019 and use it on my next cleanup, which will be on December 21, 2019.

Below, you can find the posts I had done on Deering Estate Instagram:

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MIM Fall 2019 Service Project: Alexandra Rodriguez

LnS Gallery

Photo by Audri Rodriguez at LnS Gallery

I had the opportunity of doing service work with John William Bailly at his first solo exhibition at the LnS Gallery. This gallery, in specific, is geared towards showcasing contemporary art by Miami based artists (Laino). Sergio Cernuda and Luisa Lignarolo have managed to create such a unique and inviting space. Surprisingly, this was my first time ever visiting a gallery, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The minute I walked in, I noticed everyone dressed in their best attire and an extremely welcoming environment. I eagerly glanced at all the pieces in the gallery, trying to decipher what each of them meant. After taking in the art and familiarizing myself with the space, it was time to help Sofia Guerra, the curator of Bailly’s project room, greet the guests and display the art for others to see. I had never seen anything like this before, nor knew how to properly open the drawers and speak to the viewers. After putting on my black gloves, I quickly got the hang of displaying the pieces for people to see and explaining the exhibit. It was interesting to hear everyone’s perceptions of the art pieces, as they all had a different view. This was probably my favorite part of the night because being there allowed me to view the pieces in a way I would have never seen them. It amazes me how much detail is put into every piece, and how people catch on to these slight details. Being an Accounting major, the furthest thing possible from an Art major, I never expected to volunteer in a gallery, let alone explain art pieces to potential buyers. It was a side of me that I never knew existed. I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone, as I now feel confident in a place like an art gallery.

Camillus House

Photo by Alessandra Laricchia at Camillus House

The second institution I did service work at was Camillus House. This non-profit agency offers aid to those who are homeless, in need of food, or even seeking rehabilitation (Camillus House). I had always thought of Camillus House as just a place to receive food and donations. To my surprise, they had an extensive about of benefits and programs for anyone seeking help. As soon as we arrived, the director, Alessandra Laricchia, gave us a tour of the campus. We visited the emergency housing center, the clothing and shower rooms, and the mailroom. The emergency housing center consisted of several beds and night tables lined up next to each other. The first thing I noticed when walking in to the emergency housing was the fact that every single bed and sleeping area was occupied. Homelessness is a leading problem in Miami, especially in neighborhoods like Overtown, where Camillus House is located. They explained that less than ten beds become available every few months, which is certainly not enough to help everyone seeking a roof over their head. The clothing and shower rooms were places that made those staying there feel like they were at home. Every Tuesday and Thursday, Camillus House allows everyone to choose clothing from several racks of shirts, pants, business attire, shoes, etc. I thought this experience was something extremely special. We pick out clothes from our closet everyday and don’t think twice about it. These people are picking up an old pair of shoes and thinking about it for weeks. They are relieved to be able to save their weeks’ worth of money to buy necessities. Another area that I thought was interesting, but didn’t think much of, was the mailroom. I found it helpful for those living there to be able to receive their mail at the location they were currently residing. However, I quickly learned that the Camillus House mailroom is an extremely important place, even for those individuals living in the streets. The organization allows people, who have no address to send mail to, to use Camillus House as their mailing address. This means people receiving welfare, money from other places, or even immigration papers can finally have a place to collect their mail from. Something as simple as receiving mail is especially difficult for those with no place to call home. Visiting Camillus House made me reflect on the aspects of my life that are customary. I wake up every morning in my bed, I take a hot shower every night, and I receive my mail almost every day. To most, these routine activities sound so mundane, but to the people in Camillus House, they sound like a dream.

Contact:

Alessandra Laricchia- Community Relations Manager

Cell: 786.775.8192, Email: alessandral@camillus.org

Citations:

Laino, Jessie. “LNS Gallery: Artists, Art for Sale, and Contact Info.” Artsy, 2019, www.artsy.net/lns-gallery.

“Camillus House – Camillus House.” Camillus House – Camillus House, 2019, www.camillus.org/.

ACS Art Service Project Fall 2019: Molly Schantz

Photo by Ruth Shmueli 2019

For my art service project this semester, I had the opportunity to work with the Rubell Family Collection at their brand new museum, the Rubell Museum. Their opening day was the first day of Miami Art Week and they offered free admission to celebrate art week and the grand opening of the museum. I reached out to one of the employees, Laura Randall, who was coordinating volunteers for opening week. I could tell they were eager for help and I figured it would be fun because I love contemporary art and it was a museum I hadn’t experienced before. Little did I know, this experience would open up doors for me that I never would have considered if I hadn’t picked the Rubell Museum as my service destination. 

My first day volunteering, Laura let my classmate Ruth and I experience one of the Kusama installations they have at the museum before visitors arrived. Kusama is one of my favorite artists and I always find her work intriguing. I can’t believe I was so lucky that I got to experience two Kusamas’ this semester. My job for the day was to be security for the “gold room”. This room featured an installation of John Miller sculptures. The sculptures were made of fiberglass items that resembled trash, but were all painted in gold. My instructions were to make sure no one touched the art which I thought was self explanatory in the art world, but i was proved very wrong. About 20 minutes into my shift, a group of high schoolers who were visiting on a school trip knocked into one of the sculptures and broke it. I had a small panic, but realized there was no time for panic as more and more people were coming in as the day went on. We decided to be resourceful and create a line for the exhibit and only let 6-8 people inside at a time to avoid congestion around the artwork. Thankfully nothing else drastic occurred that day. 

My second day volunteering was much longer and much calmer. I was doing security for a Maurizio Cattelan sculpture. Cattelan is the artist behind the infamous Art Basel Banana that went viral this past week. There was roping around the sculpture I was watching which essentially eliminated the need for me to do anything. I spent most of the day eavesdropping on the hundreds of people from all over the world that came into the museum that day. The art world is so vast and I learned that everyone, and I mean everyone, seems to have an opinion about every piece of work they see and they are not afraid to say it. 

I came into this experience expecting it to be finite. I was going to spend 10 hours at this place, get my requirements for class completed, maybe see some cool art, and move on. After volunteering over the weekend, the Rubell Museum offered me a part time job doing security on the weekends. They are flexible and enthusiastic about getting people who are willing and dedicated to help out. Since they are a brand new institution, they are still working out the kinks within the space and everyday something new comes up that they may not have planned for in the beginning. They realized that some extra pieces and spaces need security and offered me the opportunity to make some money while helping them out. Without taking this class and without volunteering at the Rubell Museum, I would have never thought to look for a job in the art world, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with such a well revered organization. 

Molly Schantz (2019)

Contact:
Laura Randall
Registrar
Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation
laura@rfc.museum
(305) 573-6090
www.rfc.museum

* A total of 10 service hours were completed at the Rubell Museum and were logged on the FIU Honors website

ASC Fall 2019 Service Project: Ingrid Rocha

The Deering Estate in Miami, FL
The Deering Estate

The first service project I partook in was at the Deering Estate in Miami, Florida. The Deering Estate was built by Charles Deering and contains two houses on the 444 acres of land. There are also two Tequesta Indian burial mounds and a burial site belonging to Paleo-Indians. There is about 10 thousand years of continuous human inhabitation on the Deering Estate’s land that not nearly enough people are familiar with. Charles Deering himself was a Chicago industrialist who purchased the Deering Estate land in 1913. The Deering family gained their fortune through the Deering Harvester Company which manufactured agricultural machinery.

The event in which I participated in was during Mercury’s transit across the sun. During the event the job I was given was to act as a security guard in the Stone House. This was the second home that Charles Deering built in order to house his vast collection of tapestries, paintings, books, and antique furnishings. The task of security involved simply asking visitors not to touch any artwork or furniture within the house. This act of service was extremely important to me because I had never actually had such a close encounter with such a pivotal part of Miami’s history. It was a precious experience to be a guard to such vital pieces of South Florida’s history, as well as volunteering for an institution so central in the education of many people who live in Florida as well as tourists.

The Deering Estate offers education on art, why it is important, and on conservation of the environment. I am very conscious about how I affect the environment and volunteering for an institution that cares about the earth as much as I do felt like I was truly making a difference. Furthermore, not only does the Deering Estate inform the public on Mercury’s transit, but they also provide a safe means of witnessing the event without causing any damage to the eyes by using the correct equipment. Mercury’s transit across the sun is a phenomenon that is rarely seen and the fact that the Deering Estate facilitates this experience is great because it can be an inspiration to many to pursue careers in the arts or sciences.

Contact:
Vanessa Trujillo, PhD  
Conservation & Research Specialist
Deering Estate
Vanessa.Trujillo@miamidade.gov
305-235-1668 ext. 241
Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation & Open Spaces

The Rubell Museum in Miami, FL
The Rubell Museum

The second service project I partook in was at the new Rubell Museum location in Miami, Florida. The Rubell Family Collection is a private contemporary art collection founded in 1964 by Mera and Don Rubell in New York City. The collection holds artwork belonging to a variety of renowned artists including, but not limited to, Keith Haring, Jeff Koons, Yayoi Kusama, and Cindy Sherman. The Rubell Family Collection also established an internship program that encompasses an artwork loan program that facilitates exhibitions in museums around the world. The Rubell Family Collection is also engaged in a partnership with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools system. This program allows thousands of students to enrich themselves each year by visiting and engaging with the Rubell Museum, it’s many exhibitions, and vast public research library.

The Rubell Museum is working on setting up its brand-new location in the Allapattah neighborhood of Miami. The new location is eagerly awaited and will be opening on December 3, 2019. The task I was given involved helping set up the new research library at the Rubell Museum’s new location prior to the grand opening on December 3rd. The importance of this library is that it allows anyone who visits to do research on any artist or piece of artwork within the museum. This is essentially a location in which those interested in learning may immerse themselves in their subject matter.

This service project was important to me because it allowed me to be a part of education, something I place a lot of value in being a student myself. The fact that I was setting up a library, a place that anyone and everyone can learn in, was truly close to my heart. I myself learned a lot while I worked at carefully organizing and placing the variety of books onto the shelves. I have always felt comforted and safe in libraries so the fact that I was helping construct one felt like I was truly making a difference in other students’ lives. I was also ecstatic to see the Rubell Museum’s new location prior to its grand opening. The small preview I was given of the new location was enough to exemplify the magnificence of the Rubell Museum. I feel as if I have truly benefitted from volunteering at the Rubell Museum and I highly recommend that, given the chance, everyone should pay the foundation a visit.

Contact:
Laura Randall
Registrar
Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation
95 NW 29th Street
Miami, FL 33127
laura@rfc.museum
(305) 573-6090
www.rfc.museum

*A total of 10 service hours were completed between the two institutions discussed above, The Deering Estate and The Rubell Museum. For further inquiry contact information is provided for each institution.

Citations

https://rfc.museum/about-us
https://deeringestate.org/

See Miami 2019: The Wolfsonian by Ingrid Rocha

Student Biography

Hello, my name is Ingrid Rocha and I am a pre-med student at Florida International University. My majors are in both Biological Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies, and my minors are in Portuguese and Chemistry. I am pursuing these degrees in order to prepare for the difficult road to medical school. I am unsure of which area of study I will choose once I become a doctor, however I am interested in surgical specialties. Although I was born in Miami I moved away as a young child and did not get to grow up enjoying the many sights Miami has to offer. As a result, I decided to immerse myself in the culture by partaking in the Art Society Conflict class with the hope of broadening my horizons and becoming a more well-rounded individual.

Geography

Photography by Lynton Gardiner

The Wolfsonian is located right in the heart of South Beach’s Art Deco District at the corner of 10th Street and Washington Avenue. The Wolfsonian’s address is 1001 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139. There are city garages conveniently located between Washington and Pennsylvania Avenues on 12th Street, on Collins Avenue at 7th and 13th Streets, and on Drexel Avenue at 12th Street. There is also an open lot across the street on Washington Avenue on 10th Street next to the Washington Park Hotel, as well as metered street parking along the entirety of Washington Avenue. It should also be noted that parking is allowed in the nearby residential zones from 7am to 6pm on non-holiday weekdays.

As a result of The Wolfsonian’s many parking options the museum is easily accessible to both tourists and residents of South Florida alike. Before or after a day of strolling on South Beach people may be interested in visiting The Wolfsonian as it is a great destination for anyone interested in the arts or the history of Miami itself. Furthermore, it is hard to miss The Wolfsonian as it sits right on the corner of 10th street and Washington avenue. As a result, The Wolfsonian’s impressive architecture stands out from the typical South Beach buildings and does a splendid job of attracting curious visitors. Most prominently, however, is the fact that The Wolfsonian in located in Miami and that it holds a great deal of art pieces that play an important role in the recitation of Miami’s history.

History

Collection of Miami Beach Architecture
Martin L. Hampton, Henry Hohauser, Lawrence Murray Dixon, Robert Swartburg, Florida Each Coast Railway

The Wolfsonian, originally a Mediterranean revival building, was built in 1927 by Robertson and Patterson in order to hold the Washington Storage Company. The building was later enlarged and remodeled in 1992 into the museum that it is today by architect Mark Hampton. Fascinated by the role that architecture and design take on shaping the human experience Mitchell “Micky” Wolfson, Jr. established The Wolfsonian in 1986. Wolfson was an author, philanthropist, and former diplomat who had invested in a vast collection of objects in which The Wolfsonian, the Mediterranean revival building at the time, would serve to document and preserve within its walls. From about 1986 to 1993 staff members were primarily tasked with unpacking and cataloging the collection.

The Wolfsonian now houses an auditorium, The Dynamo Museum Shop and Café, administrative offices, a library, storage of small objects and paintings, and three exhibition galleries. All remaining objects are housed in a historic warehouse in Miami Beach known as the Annex. Wolfson founded The Wolfsonian with the intention of paying tribute to his international upbringing and varied taste for collecting artwork. It may be noted that Wolfson is also the founder of The Wolfsoniana, The Wolfsonian’s sister museum located in Genoa, Italy.

The Wolfsonian focuses it’s exhibitions on the monumental era of progressivism between the years 1850 and 1950. The Wolfsonian’s exhibitions depict the journey from early colonialism to urban living, in which important events such as the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, the Cold War, and the invention of technology is expressed in the form of rich artwork and a variety of objects. Furthermore, The Wolfsonian holds a rich collection of more than 200,000 pieces that contain objects such as household appliances, industrial era technology, and architectural plans that were all monumental in the formation of today’s society. The Wolfsonian’s core focus is on material originating from both Europe and the United States, however there are select pieces whose origin can be traced to Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The Wolfsonian has been a proud part of Miami since 1995, however in 1997 it became a part of Florida International University following Wolfson’s donation of his collection and historic building to the state of Florida. The Wolfsonian is now known as one of the most enriching, monumental, and educational American university art collections. As a result, the Wolfsonian is able to profoundly impact the lives of thousands of students, educators, art and design lovers, and tourists each year.

Mission

The Wolfsonian’s mission statement is as follows:

Window Grille by William Harold Lee & Armand Carroll

“The Wolfsonian–FIU uses objects to illustrate the persuasive power of art and design, to explore what it means to be modern, and to tell the story of social, political, and technological changes that have transformed our world. It encourages people to see the world in new ways, and to learn from the past as they shape the present and influence the future.”

The Wolfsonian’s mission is essentially to inform visitors of their roots in a multidisciplinary manner. As the mission statement reads, in order to learn from the past, the past must first be understood. By understanding the past groundbreaking conclusions can be made about the present that allow for new opinions that can aid in society’s advancement. The exhibitions on social, political, and technological innovations give perspective of how far society progressed in order to reach the modern age we live in. In this way The Wolfsonian encourages the next generation by giving them the knowledge and tools that they may need to excel and make wise decisions as they rise into positions of power. The Wolfsonian promotes its mission statement through exhibitions, publications, educational programs, and individual scholarship opportunities.

Access

The Completed Buildings of Schultze and Weaver by Lloyd Morgan

The Wolfsonian promotes accessibility by making the fee for entering the museum on Friday’s from 6pm to 9pm free. Additionally, during the entirety of Miami Art Week 2019 admission to The Wolfsonian is free. Any student, staff, or faculty of the State University System of Florida, as well as members and children under 6 years old, enter free. There are free tours of The Wolfsonian every Friday at 6pm.

The Wolfsonian encourages all members of the Florida International University community to utilize its resources and promotes the use of its collection for research projects. Additionally, The Wolfsonian provides internship opportunities and collaboration on exhibitions, publications, and programs. To FIU faculty The Wolfsonian extends an offer to provide teaching support and encourage any opportunity for faculty research.

Those part of the members program at The Wolfsonian receive a year of unlimited free admission, invitations to VIP preview parties, invitations to members-only tours and special events, a 10% discount at The Wolfsonian Design Store and Coffee Bar, five complimentary guest passes, access to the SEMC reciprocal membership program, and priority access to public programming. There are eight membership levels ranging from $50 to $5,000. The levels are Popular ($50), Dual/Family ($75), Propagandist ($125), Diplomat ($250), Ally ($500), Patriot ($1,000), Futurist ($2,500), and Loyalist ($5,000).

Also offered by The Wolfsonian is the opportunity to become a Corporate Ally. All Corporate Allies receive a year of a 10% discount at The Wolfsonian Design Store and Coffee Bar, advanced notification of a range of public programs and private events, a $50 employee rate for Dual/Family memberships, corporate name recognition on public signage in lobby and in triannual newsletter, a private guided tour of The Wolfsonian, and five copies of The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts. There are three Corporate Ally levels ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. The levels are Comrade ($5,000), Attaché ($15,000), and Protagonist ($25,000).

The Wolfsonian’s Regular Hours of Operation and Admission
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday | 10am–6pm
Wednesday | closed
Friday | 10am–9pm (free 6–9pm)
Sunday | noon–6pm
 
The library’s reading room is open by appointment only:
Monday–Friday | 9am–5pm
Saturday | 11am–5:30pm
 
Members: FREE
Adults: $12
Seniors, students with ID, and children 6–18: $8
Children under 6: FREE
Students, faculty, and staff of the State University System of Florida: FREE

Collection

Deco: Luxury to Mass Market

This ongoing collection is focused on “Art Deco.” Art Deco is known as the styles that emerged in the 1920’s and 1930’s from the pursuit of merging the worlds of art and industry into a singular entity of modernized design. Art Deco is not limited to artwork, the collection at The Wolfsonian encompasses a variety of art from handcrafted objects to common household appliances.

The Wolfsonian puts on display a visual of the migration of Art Deco from Europe to the United States, as well as its evolution along the way. The Wolfsonian’s aspirations for its Deco collection exemplify the process over time of American designers combining style of European luxury with the demand for an industrial level of production.

The poster pictured above is by designer Weimer Pursell and Neely Printing Co. called “Chicago World’s Fair. A century of Progress.” This poster perfectly exemplifies the Art Deco ideals of combining luxury and industry through the illustration of luxurious, yet practical, architecture. The 1933 Century of Progress International Exposition in Chicago greatly impacted Florida. The Florida Tropical House was central in pioneering a sleek modernist design that dramatically clashed against the traditional Mediterranean revival architecture that was so popular.

A Universe of Things: Micky Wolfson Collects

For over three decades Miami Beach has been bearer to a massive collection of stained-glass windows, paintings, books, prints, vases, and furniture. This collection belongs to non-other than Mitchell “Micky” Wolfson, Jr., who sends his growing collection back to Miami from his travels in order to be compiled, researched, preserved, studied, and either exhibited or published. The collection A Universe of Things: Micky Wolfson Collects studies the life of Wolfson through the articles and objects he collects, a force that encompasses a variety of time periods and cultures.

Art and Design in the Modern Age: Selections from the Wolfsonian Collection
Graf Zeppelin by Hugo Eckener

The Wolfsonian has a large variety of artifacts that range from the years 1850 to 1950 which is all compiled into one collective overview in the Art and Design in the Modern Age collection. The exhibition was inaugurated in November 1995 and is periodically updated with art in a multitude of formats including books, posters, postcards, decorative art, architectural models, paintings, and sculptures. This collection focuses specifically on design-reform movements, urbanism, industrial design, transportation, world’s fairs, advertising, and political propaganda. Notably, this collection studies over time how art and design influence the modern world.

The model pictured above is based on the original Graf Zeppelin designed by Hugo Eckener in Germany. This model thoroughly depicts what the Art and Design in the Modern Age collection strove to exemplify through its exhibition in which the zeppelin depicts both industrialization and transportation in one. Attempts at flight were made in the 1890’s, however the dream of motorized flight was not realized until the beginning of the new century.

(LO & BEHOLD) (MIRA & VE): An installation by Lawrence Weiner

This ongoing installation is part of a larger installation for Art Basel Miami Beach 2006 by Lawrence Weiner, however Mira & Ve has become a permanent part of The Wolfsonian’s central lobby fountain. Much of Weiner’s artwork uses language and symbols in order to convey his exploration of the interaction between elements such as shape, color, and punctuation. Weiner’s prosperous career originates in the early 1960s when he became a founding member of the Conceptual Art movement. He enjoys challenging traditional notions, as well as taking on difficult concepts such as the complexity of simplicity. Weiner expertly recognized Miami’s rich and diverse culture and combined both English and Spanish in his artwork to illicit a profound effect from onlookers.

Exhibitions

Cuban Caricature and Culture: The Art of Massaguer
(June 7, 2019-March 1, 2020)
Self-Portrait by Conrado Walter Massaguer

The visualization of Cuban culture in the 1920’s and 1950’s was made possible by graphic artist Conrado Walter Massaguer’s through his cutting-edge political satire, published illustrations, and various famous caricatures. The dazzling installation Cuban Caricature and Culture was a gift from Vicki Gold Levi to the Wolfsonian Library. The installation is able to portray Massaguer’s monumental expertise through the depiction of dozens of pieces, such as the work he did for his magazine Social as well as graphics that envision tropical paradises for the Cuban Tourist Commission. Massaguer’s reach of influence extended far beyond Cuba, as shown through cartoons of visiting personalities including Walt Disney, the King of Spain, and Albert Einstein. Most notable, however, is Massaguer’s work for the magazines Collier’s and Life for which he designed the covers.

Caricaturas
(August 29, 2019-January 26, 2020)

In conjunction with Cuban Caricature and Culture the exhibition Caricaturas highlights the works of many of Conrado Walter Massaguer’s colleagues from Mexico and Cuba, two locations in which, during the 20th century, caricature was vital for its contribution to political analysis. On display are caricatures of notorious figures throughout history such as Charlie Chaplin, Queen Elizabeth II, Fidel Castro, and Adolf Hitler. Additionally, there is a collection of portraits and self-portraits of famous caricaturists such as Conrado Walter Massaguer, Miguel Covarrubias, and Xavier Cugat.

Pictured above is a self-portrait of Massaguer on a carousel. Depicted behind him are an angel and a demon, also riding the carousel. This is a single piece of artwork out of many in a collection of self-portraits done by Massaguer. He is very well-known for caricatures drawn of celebrities, as well as his successful magazines, however his self-portraits aren’t as prominent. What’s interesting about this piece of artwork is that as the carousel winds around in circles the angel and devil will always be behind Massaguer, following him and helping him make both good and bad decisions.

Special Programs

The Wolfsonian has prided itself for its work in conjunction with teachers and students for over twenty years. These programs are created with the intention of encouraging the next generation to become involved with and excited about art. Some programs that have been organized in the past are Teen Thoughts on Democracy, Page at a Time, Shenandoah Middle Museums Magnet Program, Artful Citizenship, and Artful Truth. The active program at the moment is a free public high school outreach program in partnership with Miami-Dade County called Zines for Progress (Z4P). Zines for Progress’s main goal is to open up a platform for students to address big ideas in a free, encouraging, and safe environment. The students are encouraged to be provocative in their ideas and opinions which allows for the fortification of critical thinking, research, and visual learning skills. Additional events are announced each month, however common events include Free Friday Guided Tours, Miami Beach Culture Crawl, Second Shift, and Sketching in the Galleries.

Visitor

Sophia Gandarillas | Student at Florida International University

Have you visited The Wolfsonian prior? What is your reason for visiting?

  • I have never been to this museum before, I didn’t even know it existed until about a week ago. I’m visiting because I enjoy art and wanted to see what this museum had to offer. I am also a student at Florida International University, so I was interested in learning about what FIU as an institution had collected and chosen to exhibit. I was interested in what opportunities The Wolfsonian had to offer specifically to students as a result of being a part of the FIU community.

What was your favorite exhibit or collection? Why?

  • Cuban Caricature and Culture was my favorite exhibit at the museum. I come from a family of Cuban immigrants, so it was interesting to see some of the caricatures and cultural references from the time before the takeover of Fidel Castro. 

What did you enjoy the most about visiting The Wolfsonian?

  • The museum offered an inside look to life in the past that is not usually seen. It transported me to American life back in the 20th century. It was interesting to see some of the things that my grandparents and parents grew up around and interesting to see how time has brought evolution and change to technology and cultural interests.

Would you consider visiting The Wolfsonian again? Why or Why Not?

  • Honestly, I would not visit again. As much as it was interesting to see elements of the past, I found this museum to be quite creepy and dark. It gave me an almost haunted feeling and made me feel really uncomfortable. I also did not like the collection as a whole as I feel it was not very good in my opinion. The collection as a whole was not my favorite because it was not a strong representation of its values and mission. It seemed to me that it was a half-hearted attempt at completing their mission. A lot of the objects they had in their museum were not pieces of outstanding merit and where almost disappointing in their presence. I was also let down by the fact that on the day of my visit, one of the floors was closed for the installation of a new exhibit. While walking on the floors above I was able to look down at the closed floor and some of the things I saw were vaguely interesting. It was disappointing that I did not get to see the full exhibition but the unsettling feeling that the museum gave me made me want to leave as soon as possible.

What do you feel is the impact art institutions, such as museums, have on society?

  • Society is influenced greatly by not only art institutions but also by art and creativity itself. It is an important facet to life as it allows freedom to express oneself in a world that often criticizes such expression.

Portrait

Dr. Francis Xavier Luca |
Chief Librarian at The Wolfsonian &
Adjunct Professor at FIU

Contact:
Office: The Wolfsonian–FIU, MB01 324A;
Modesto A. Maidique Campus, DM 371A
Email: lucaf@fiu.edu
Telephone: 305.535.2641

What is your name?

  • Dr. Francis Luca

What is your job title?

  • I am the chief librarian and an adjunct professor of history at Florida International University.

If you feel comfortable answering, how long have you worked for the Wolfsonian? 

  • I have worked at the Wolfsonian for about twenty-seven years starting in 1991.

What was your inspiration to work at the Wolfsonian?

  • I was fascinated by their unique approach to dealing with art. The Wolfsonian is not focused on big name artists, but more about using the objects on display to shed light and tell stories about the past. There is also a lot of propaganda art that helps people sort of see that this is not just art for art’s sake, but it is art in the service of ideas.

What does it mean to be chief librarian at the Wolfsonian? 

  • Being chief librarian means that I am in charge of doing a lot of administrative work. This includes maintaining the budget, dealing with potential donors, and cultivating donors. I am also on the collections acquisition committee in which we vote on what is appropriate for The Wolfsonian’s collection. We also determine where funds should be dispersed. Additionally, I curate library and main exhibitions as well as smaller exhibitions. We wear a lot of hats here at The Wolfsonian which is why I am in charge of so many aspects of the museum. For example, I also catalogue a lot of the books that are coming in.

What do you enjoy the most about working at the Wolfsonian?

  • I would say that some of the more creative things are my favorite. For example, I really enjoy when school groups from both Miami-Dade high schools as well as college students visit. Essentially the educational aspects of The Wolfsonian are the parts in which I most enjoy.

Do you feel that the Wolfsonian is easily accessible to the public? Why or why not?

  • I do, we have been digitizing much of the collection which has made it very accessible virtually. The only aspect that complicates accessibility is the hectic Miami traffic that also makes it hard to find parking, however this is a problem throughout Miami, especially by the beaches.

Do you have a favorite exhibit, piece of artwork, or collection at the Wolfsonian? 

  • The Wolfsonian’s collection is so diverse that it is hard to pick favorites, it would be difficult to focus on only one artist. If I truly had to, I suppose the work of the artist Lynd Ward would be among my top choices. I’m interested in his work because he is actually attributed with the introduction of graphic novels to the united states. They were first popular in Germany but in early 1929 Ward brought graphic novels to fruition in the United States.

Summary

Sintesi Fascista by Alessandro Bruschetti

The Wolfsonian does a fantastic job of conveying its mission statement through the selection of collections and exhibitions that are in place. As visitors walk through the museum, ascending the various levels, a story of progress is truly communicated. With collections such as Deco to Art and Design in the Modern Age there is no question just how influential art is on society’s progress. The Wolfsonian concerns itself with molding the younger generation into well-rounded individuals fit to someday take the reins in leadership. Their mission statement speaks of influencing the future, a feat they are accomplishing through educational programs that are accessible to thousands of high school students in Miami-Dade County as well as Florida International University students. Not only are events organized for the young adults, but monthly events are also available which encourages everyone, no matter your age, to get involved with the museum. These programs help make The Wolfsonian an accessible institution no matter your age, race, or socioeconomic status.

There are a few factors that infringe on The Wolfsonian’s accessibility. Although The Wolfsonian bears no fault for the horrid Miami traffic, it does make it difficult to visit the museum. There are plenty of parking options, however, many find them to be very inconvenient. The Wolfsonian would benefit from putting into place a system to facilitate parking, which I’m sure would encourage more people to visit the museum. Additionally, the museum does an amazing job organizing events for young adults, such as college students and high schoolers, however more events for younger children should be implemented. Unfortunately, as of late society has placed a greater emphasis on the science and math fields as opposed to art. If children are stimulated by art at a young age their interest in the subject matter will greatly improve, fashioning them into more informed individuals. Education is one of The Wolfsonian’s core ideals and both the museum and its enthusiasts would benefit from a greater selection of programs for art-lovers of all ages.

References

https://wolfsonian.org
http://www.museumsusa.org/museums/info/379
https://wolfsonianfiulibrary.wordpress.com/2019/05/31/the-artwork-and-caricatures-of-conrado-walter-massaguer/
http://zines.wolfsonian.org/
https://cri.fiu.edu/faculty/francis-xavier-luca/
*Additional information was obtained from The Wolfsonian’s official brochures and pamphlets.

ASC Fall 2019 Service Project: Sophia Gandarillas

Ten volunteer hours were completed between two institutions, the Deering Estate and the Rubell Museum, by Sophia Gandarillas.

The Deering Estate

One of the service projects I completed this semester on November 11, 2019 was my day of service at the Deering Estate for their event which allowed visitors to view Mercury’s transit across the Sun. I worked in the historic houses, The Stone House and the Richmond Cottage, watching over the collection and artifacts that are on the property. My job was to make sure that none of the visitors were touching any of the antique items or taking anything from the houses. This service project was important to me because I helped to protect the preservation of history at a historic site here in South Florida. I also served at a location that educates people on the history of South Florida, provides efforts in conservation and preservation, and allows people to become educated about the arts, the importance of art, and scientific discovery and advancement. The Deering Estate is important in the history of South Florida and it has become a focal point of historic importance to our state. It serves the community by educating the public as well as allowing access to many scientific, artistic, and conservational opportunities. This event was no different as it allowed visitors to see the rare occurrence of Mercury’s transit across the Sun with the proper equipment. The allowance of the public to see such scientific occurrences is important because it can inspire people to work towards scientific improvements that could benefit the nation and the human race, as well as the planet. 

The Rubell Museum

The second service project I completed this semester on November 23, 2019 was at the Rubell Museum which was formerly known as the Rubell Family Collection. It has now expanded and moved to a new location. I served by helping organize and set up the library that the Rubell family chose to set up in their museum. It allows for anyone to have the opportunity to do research on any art piece in the collection to have a place to research, watch, and read about the work and its artists. This was a good opportunity to help education flourish and to give people a place to become educated about the art they love and want to know more about. The Rubell Museum aims to discover and show new art or art that was overlooked. They aim to give a multifaceted narrative to contemporary art as they have seen it. I was happy to be able to help an organization that is as dedicated to contemporary art as the Rubell family is. I was also excited to be able to help set up their library which will allow for the education of the public, students, or anyone interested in further information on the collection to have a place to satiate that thirst for information and knowledge. It is amazing that they have allowed the public access to their library collection which as I have seen is a very complete and immense collection, and I’m glad to have served an organization so committed to showing and giving the public all that they have to offer.

See Miami 2019: Norton Museum of Art by Sophia Gandarillas

Student Biography

My name is Sophia Gandarillas and I attend Florida International University. I’m a pre-med student currently double majoring in Biological Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies with minors in Chemistry and Spanish. I hope to one day attend medical school to become a doctor, however I do not yet know what branch of medicine I want to commit to. I have always loved art and I believe this passion was instilled in me by my abuelo, who was an artist.

Geography

The Norton Museum of Art is located at 1450 S Dixie Hwy, West Palm Beach, FL 33401. The original museum, built in 1941, was at this same location in West Palm Beach. It was recently remodeled and expanded into a 59,000 sq. ft building, with a 35% increase in gallery space. It also added the William Randolph Heart Education Center a space where there’s a student art gallery and classrooms for adults, families, and schools. There’s also a Stiller Family Foundation Auditorium for lectures, films, performances, and other activities. They have the Pamela and Robert B. Goergen Garden which houses sculptures, a lawn, and seating for reflection. There’s also the Ruth and Carl Shapiro Great Hall which serves as a community space. Lastly, on the southern side of the Museum property on Cranesnest Way, there are newly restored historic houses for the artist-in-residence program. All of these wonderful additions show how committed the Museum is towards helping and educating the community. A vast majority of the additional footage that was added to the original museum was added to serve the community whether it be through education, larger exhibition space, ability to present more programs or space for the community to utilize. They have created a beautiful space for the “culturally underserved community” to come and enjoy the new space and all that it has to offer in terms of art and culture. Its mission is to serve and educate the community through its diverse and numerous opportunities and programs, as well as through its large and multifarious collection.

https://www.norton.org/building/building-about

History

Ralph Hubbard Norton and Elizabeth Calhoun Norton, his wife, founded The Norton Museum of Art in 1941. The Norton’s began collecting art to decorate their home but eventually his interests became so large that he amassed a formidable collection of paintings and sculptures. Mr. Norton was semi-retired in 1935 and therefore began vacationing and spending increasing time in the Palm Beaches. They soon decided to found a museum in West Palm Beach along with a school of art, which was the first institution of its type in South Florida. Construction began in 1940 under the commission of Marion Sims Wyeth who designed the art-deco inspired Museum. On February 8.1941, the Norton Museum of Art was opened to the public. It housed Mr. Norton’s collection, which he continually added to until 1953. The works he and his wife acquired, are the core part of the Museum’s core collection today. Mr. Norton created and left an endowment to purchase new works of art which has allowed for the many notable additions that have been made to the collection. Today, the permanent collection houses over 7,600 works in the five curatorial departments: Chinese, European, Contemporary, Photography, and American.

The Norton launched the annual Recognition of Art by Women (RAW) in 2011. This is a series of solo exhibitions which honors living female painters and sculptors. In 2012, The Rudin Prize for Emerging Photographers was instituted by the Norton. It biennially awards cutting edge photographers from all over the world who have not yet received solo exhibitions. Then, in 2013, the Norton’s Trustees saw the need for more education and exhibition space as the population in Florida was increasing rapidly. The Board of Trustees then commissioned the firm Foster + Partners to design the new and larger building. The newly remodeled and expanded museum opened on February 9, 2019. This included the remodeling of the six 1920’s era cottages for the artist in residence program and the home of the Museum Director.

https://www.norton.org/about/history

Mission

“The Mission of the Norton Museum of Art, when founded in 1941, was ‘to preserve for the future the beautiful things of the past’ while providing ‘education and enjoyment’ for the public.”

“Today, continuing its original mission, the Norton Museum of Art strives to preserve, develop, exhibit and interpret its outstanding permanent collection and to educate the public through special exhibitions, publications and programs. The Norton seeks to strengthen awareness of the arts in our region through encouraging participation, reaching out to improve the quality of life in all communities through appreciation of visual arts and cultural patrimonies. The Norton Museum of Art will continue to be the pre-eminent art museum in Florida and one of the finest museums in the United States.”

http://www.museumsusa.org/museums/info/409

The Norton Museum of Art has continually striven to achieve its mission since its opening by providing an accessible artistic and cultural hub. It continually amazes me how much they do not only for art lovers but how much they do for their community and for the education of children and adults alike. The museum provides a wonderful space that allows for the appreciation of art over a wide range of history for a comprehensive view on how art has changed over the centuries. They also provide a large array of programs, exhibitions, events, and publications for the public to become more involved, educated, and engaged in the arts and culture.

https://www.norton.org/about/history

Accessibility

The Norton Museum of Art is very accessible to all visitors. They have ample accessible parking adjacent to the museum’s entrance and in the free lot across South Dixie Highway. They also allow visitors to be dropped off at the northwest corner of the museum. Not only is the parking accessible but the inside of the museum is also widely accessible by people with a wide range of disabilities. They have fully accessible restrooms and a free but limited supply of manual wheelchairs for borrow. They also allow visitors to bring their own wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters. Lastly, they offer American Sign Language interpreters by request but only if they’re given notice two weeks in advance. Therefore, the only downsides to their accessibility are they do not allow Segways, only have a limited supply of manual wheelchairs, and that those who need an American Sign Language interpreter need to do so ahead of their visit and cannot spontaneously visit and hope to be assisted.

As for the monetary accessibility, the Museum has free admission on Fridays and Saturdays. It is also free for members, children of ages 12 and under, Florida teachers (with a valid ID), and Active US military members with their immediate family (with a valid ID). Students get entrance for $5 with a valid ID, seniors of ages 60 and over have entrance for $15, and general admission is $18. These prices are very good for the vast and diverse number of pieces they have in their collection as well as the upscale polished ambiance of the museum itself.

The Museum itself extends the opportunity for visitors to become members. They offer different types or levels of membership as well as a plethora of exclusive benefits that last for a full year. The ten types of memberships as well as their costs are as follows: Student ($25), Individual ($80), Supporter ($145), Contributor ($300), Patron ($700), Sustaining Patron ($1,250), Donor Circle ($2,500), Benefactor Circle ($5,000), Chairman’s Circle ($25,000), and Director’s Circle ($10,000). The exclusive benefits that are offered to all members includes unlimited free entrance for the member and their children (ages 18 and under), access to member exclusive events and exhibition previews,  a 10% discount in both the Museum Restaurant and Coffee Bar and Museum Store, discounted for special events, discounted guest museum admissions ($12 for up to two guests per visit), opportunity to access subscription programs, delivery of the quarterly member newsletter and e-newsletters, eligibility to become a volunteer or docent, and those that are a part of the supporter level or above receive free admission to the over 350 museums that are a part of the Reciprocal Organization of Associated Museums (ROAM). There are further benefits extended to each type of membership individually. They offer a large array of options that allow a large array of people to contribute in their own way. Overall, the benefits outweigh any cost that they could ask, and all contributions are used to further the impact that the museum has on its community, its visitors, and the public.

“Visitor Guide” of the Norton Museum of Art Pamphlet

https://www.norton.org/get-involved/membership/membership-benefits

Collection

The collection is split into five different segments: American, Chinese, Contemporary, European, and Photography.

The American Art collection has about 1,000 works dating from as early as the 18th century up until 1960. Some notable works include Childe Hassam’s “Gloucester Harbor”, George Wesley Bellows’ “Winter Afternoon”, Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Ranchos Church No. 1” and “Red Flower”, Stuart Davis’ “New York Mural”, Charles Demuth’s “After All…”, Robert Motherwell’s “Personage”, Jackson Pollock’s “Night Mist”, Man Ray’s “Chess Set”, Alexander Calder’s “Grasshopper”, and many more. https://www.norton.org/collections/american-art-collection

The Chinese Art collection has pieces spanning 5,000 years and has more than 700 objects. There are pieces dating back to Qing dynasty as well as the Republic period. There is also a work commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor, a painting by Tang Yin a Ming Dynasty master, 17th century lacquered cabinets from the Qing dynasty emperor Kangxi, and a painting from Li An-Zhong a Southern Song dynasty quail painter. Some notable pieces are the “Tripod Wine Vessel (Jia) with Cover” and “Wine Ewer (Gong) from the Anyang Period of the Shang Dynasty, “Pendent (Pei) in the Form of a Rabbit” from the Western Zhou Dynasty, “Pendant (Pei) in the Form of a Dragon” from the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, “Cup and Saucer” from the Five Dynasties Period–early Northern Song Dynasty, “Hibiscus-Form Brush Washer” from the Jin Dynasty-Yuan Dynasty, “Five Quail” from the Southern Song-early Yuan Dynasty, “’Shonzui’-Style Gourd-Shaped Sake Flask (Tokkuri) from the Ming Dynasty, Tianqi-Chongzhen Reign, “One of a Pair of Lacquered Cabinets” from the Kangxi Reign of the Qing Dynasty, “The Nine Bends River” by Tang Yin from the Ming Dynasty, “Alms Bowl with Seven Buddhas” from the Qianlong Reign of the Qing Dynasty, and many others.

https://www.norton.org/collections/chinese

The Contemporary Art collection was established in 2009 but the museum has been acquiring works since the 1990’s. Some notable works include Louise Bourgeois’ “Unconscious Landscape”, Dan Flavin’s “Untitled (to Janie Lee) two”, Teresita Fernández’s “Nocturnal (Rise and Fall)”, Nick Cave’s “Soundsuit”, Jenny Saville’s “Mnemosyne I”, Mickalene Tomas’ “Naomi Looking Forward #2”, Njideka Akunyili’s “Super Blue Omo”, and many more.

https://www.norton.org/collections/contemporary

The European Art collection has works from 1300 to 1945 and it has works from the major artistic movements from the Renaissance to Impressionism and Modernism. Some of the Renaissance and Baroque artists whose works they have include Lucas Cranach the Elder, Ludovico Carracci, and Peter Paul Rubens. Some of the 18th century artists whose works they have are Horace Vernet, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Guillaume Coustou the Younger, and Bartolommeo Cavaceppi. The early Modern period (which includes the Realist, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist movements) are represented by artists such as Gustave Courbet, Claude Monet, Paul Gaugin, Constantin Brancusi, Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Chaim Soutine, and many more. Some notable works include Lucas Cranach the Elder’s “The Betrayal and Capture of Christ”, Sir Peter Paul Rubens’ “Study for Head of Saint John the Evangelist”, Claude Monet’s “Gardens of the Villa Moreno, Bordighera”, Gaetano Gandolfi’s “Jacob Stealing Esau’s Blessing”, Paul Gaugin’s “Christ in the Garden of Olives”, Paul Cézanne’s “Portrait of Alfred Hauge”, Pablo Picasso’s “Head of a Woman”, Chaim Soutine’s “Landscape at Céret”, Constantine Brancusi’s “Mademoiselle Pogany II”, Joan Miró’s “Woman, Bird and Star”, and many others.

https://www.norton.org/collections/european

The Photography collection was begun in 1998. Some notable works include Edward Weston’s “Shell and Rock Arrangement”, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s “Brussels”, Bruce Davidson’s “Wales”, Graciela Iturbide’s “Nuestra Señora de las Iguanas, Juchitán, México”, Candida Höfer’s “Spiegelkantine III”, Sarah Charlesworth’s “Nike”, Simon Norfolk’s “North Gate of Baghdad”, Thomas Demand’s “Landing”, and many more.

https://www.norton.org/collections/photography

Exhibitions

On the day of my visit, September 22, 2019, there were three temporary exhibitions on view. The first, “See and Be Seen: Picturing Notoriety”, contained about 50 pieces spanning from the 17th to the 21st century. It captures glimpses into the lives of famous personalities and their desire to be seen as such. Works by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, George Hurrell, Andy Warhol, Nan Goldin, Annie Leibovitz, and John Baldessari are on view. The second, “Film Posters from the Dwight M. Cleveland Collection”, is composed of more than 200 posters. They are posters for musicals, comedies, dramas, sci-fi thrillers, Westers, and other categories from the 20th century to the late 1980’s. The third, “Posters by Toulouse-Lautrec”, exhibits Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s post-Impressionist style posters which promoted Paris’ nightlife and a new wave of graphic arts. Toulouse- Lautrec helped launch modernism in the 20th century and this exhibition showcases and uncovers this.

“Exhibitions and Programs Summer 2019” Pamphlet

Special Programs

In the month of September, there were many exciting events happening in the Museum.  Three lectures and presentations such as “Defining Marilyn”, “The Moon in Chinese Art”, and How Posters Work” were being held. Other events include “Art After Dark” which occur every Friday from 5-10PM at the museum. The “Art After Dark” event has a wide array of programs and activities that changes every week therefore the four events in September were all unique. The Museum also has concerts, during the month of September the Museum hosted a performance by Drew Tucker. The Museum also shows Outdoor Film Series and Classic Movie Matinees. In September, the 1957 classic “Jailhouse Rock” was shown. In Art Education, Workshops are given and in September there was a workshop on “Photomontage Film Posters” (a one-day workshop) and “Drawing in Metalpoint” (a four-session workshop). The also host events such as “A Closer Look”, which in September, took in in-depth look into Eileen Cowin’s “Mirror of Venus”. The Museum also hosts Family Studio which hosted “Perpetual Paint” where families looks at how paint was used in various forms and they later went into the studio to try out some of the techniques they observed. There are also Family Workshops, Mini Book + Art, and Teen Fridays.

“Exhibitions and Programs Summer 2019” Pamphlet

Visitor Interview

Carol, a retiree from Broward County, decided to visit the Norton on September 22, 2019 as her new pledge to do something fun and exciting ever weekend. She decided to come to the museum for the first time after it had come up in conversation with a few friends and had piqued her interest. Her favorite piece on display was “The Fishermen” by Claude-Joseph Vernet (pictured above). She enjoyed the piece specifically because of its use of a warm palette that was not only pleasing to look at but also because of the sense of tranquility that drew her in. Mrs. Johnson really enjoyed the feel of the whole museum especially the fact that some of the rooms were painted in a certain color that helped set the mood for the artworks and also helped emphasize the beauty of the artworks. Her only complaint was that she did not see many opportunities for younger children to get involved. She would love to bring her grandchildren but did not see any advertising for fun activities for the kids. Another thing that she was disappointed about was that the entire second floor was closed for remodeling or for the set-up of a new exhibition. However, she also saw this as another opportunity to come back again and explore the completed exhibition. She explained that she would definitely come back again, and next time bring some of her friends with her. She thoroughly enjoyed the selection of artwork that the Norton holds and displays because she is a fan of traditional artwork as opposed to the contemporary styles.

Employee Interview

Rachel Richardson, the Digital Communications Officer at the Norton Museum of Art, has been employed at the museum for a year and a half. She was inspired to join the staff of the Museum because of its large renovation and expansion; she saw the opportunity to join a growing team and be a part of a world-renowned Museum. The Museum is one that she believes actively fulfills its mission as an active member of the community that is very accessible to all people in the community. Rachel emphasized the two days of free admission, Fridays and Saturdays, which aid in the accessibility of the museum and is a very important factor of the Museum. When asked about her favorite exhibition or artwork, she revealed that the current temporary exhibition of the works of Georgia O’Keeffe are her favorite. However, they do offer a large array of different types of art and it was a tough decision to make.

Summary

The Norton Museum of Art, especially with its new expansion and remodel, is a fine institute that houses and displays a wide array of artworks. Their display of their entire collection is beautiful. The permanent collection is just as impressionable and is beautiful as their temporary exhibitions. The amount of effort they put not only in their museum but also in the programs, lectures, and events that they set up are astounding. Not only do they put in a lot of effort, they also make sure that all of these things are accessible to all people in the community. This shows how the Norton Museum of Art has continually striven to achieve its mission since its opening by providing an accessible artistic and cultural hub for the people of South Florida as well as visitors and tourists. It has one of the largest and most diverse collections of art in Florida. It continually amazes me how much they do not only for art lovers but how much they do for their community and for the education of children and adults alike. The museum provides a wonderful space that allows for the appreciation of art over a wide range of history for a comprehensive view on how art has changed over the centuries. They also provide a large array of programs, exhibitions, events, and publications for the public to become more involved, educated, and engaged in the arts and culture.

However, there are a few downsides to the museum. The first issue I see with this great institution is the lack of better advertising on all of their programs and activities. If someone is not in the area or connected to their emails, it’s hard for them to find out all that the museum has to offer its visitors. The next issue was due to the sheer immensity of the museum. The size is great for the showing of all the great art. However, the size can make it quite confusing to navigate at times. There is full accessibility though in the way that there are elevators and all the amenities that anyone might need. The last issue is the fact that it takes a two-week advance in order for someone who is in need of an American Sign Language interpreter. It takes away from the spontaneity of a visit and doesn’t allow for the full experience for someone who visits without enough time to call for the accommodations. The Norton Museum of Art is an otherwise perfect institution that I advise everyone to go visit its incredible collection and enjoy all that the Museum has to offer.

All images were taken by Sophia Gandarillas, writer of this article, of artworks within the Norton Museum of Art. All information was either opinion based or based on well sourced information as sited in the links above. Any images taken from said sources are also linked above.

“Build Over Baptist”

Photo by Dina Denord (CC by 4.0)

built on the backs on blacks is this city 

a piece of our history

disrespected   because           

it          was      not       their   story

they felt removed

city sought to expand                                           

never an issue

through where they asked

somewhere obscure, no one will notice

somewhere that won’t miss growth

somewhere that won’t miss success

somewhere people will forget

a fissure was caused in a forgotten community

a community once filled with people

white and black alike

a community where the hustle and bustle was the everyday norm

growth and progress were the tales passed on to children

in an era of negativity, there was a small beam

a millionaire was even seen

education for all

music for all

life for all

until there wasn’t anymore

build it straight through, they decided

doesn’t matter how we split it, they won’t care

to us, it was demeaning

damaging, painful

memories stolen

from playing in the streets to 

drinking lemonade in the miami heat

religion, a daily injection of spirit in our lives

the meeting place where everyone feels the vibes

even though they are built through

they don’t falter

it doesn’t shut the praise down

voices carry over the highway noise, 

spirit lifted hands in the air

static electricity charging the atmosphere

the meeting place is not compromised

built over baptist, they showed 

no remorse

no respect

no reverence

providing no space to move, 

to grow 

to         s          p          r           e          a          d          

relegated to a corner so we don’t spread our wings

in the city where we once were kings