ASC See Miami Fall 2020: Luzmariana Iacono

The NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale

STUDENT BIO 

Luzmariana Iacono in Doral, Florida, 2020

Luzmariana Iacono is a driven individual in her junior year at the honors College in Florida International University. She is double majoring in Marketing and International Business and is passionate about the entrepreneurial aspect of business. Artistic by nature, Luzmariana recently started her own career in the beauty industry as a professional Makeup Artist with a specialization in Editorial and Avant-Garde makeup.

GEOGRAPHY 

The NSU Art Museum is located in South Florida Art Coast (1 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale) right next to the amazing Las Olas Boulevard, which is characteristic for its shops, galleries, and al fresco dining options. Thanks to a cultural partnership with other museums, performing arts centers, and music entertainment, the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment Consortium brings joy and a fun experience both by day or by night by allowing people to walk around along the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale to enjoy different activities and shops. There are different parking options around the area including public parking, city park garage, parking meters, and handicapped/disabled parking is FREE for up to 4 hours.

HISTORY 

Luzmariana Iacono at NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale, December 2020. Photo Taken by Alfonso Montero

The NSU Art Museum was founded in 1958 and since then it has become the perfect destination for viewing exhibitions that come from all around the world – which fits perfectly with the multicultural reality that is Miami. The museum’s permanent collection was established with acquisitions of American and European paintings and sculpture, Pre-Columbian, African, and Native American art. It holds the largest collection of Cobra art and several strong collections of works by Latin American and Cuban artists. However, the museum was not always this successful, as it suffered a fire incident in 1967 that destroyed valuable artworks by George Inness, Rufino Tamayo and Diego Rivera, which meant relocating the museum. After struggling to find a home base, in 1984 it finally found the perfect place and in 2008 the museum began a partnership with Nova Southeastern University.

MISSION 

From the NSU Art Museum Website: 

“The mission of NSU Art Museum is to provide exceptional opportunities to access, learn from and be inspired by the highest level of visual artistic expression throughout time and from around the world, and to engage a wide audience by offering diverse and innovative exhibitions, dynamic education and public programs, and by developing an exceptional collection, and fostering original research and intellectual inquiry.”

What this mission strives to communicate is that the NSU Art Museum is committed to bringing art from all around the world and of different times. Given the variety of art exhibitions and collections, guests receive a full dynamic and innovative experience upon entering the museum. It fosters original research and offers public programs and education to enrich the curious mind.

ACCESS 

Coronavirus Update: the museum reopened to the public on Tuesday, September 15. Meanwhile the opening times will respect the schedule, the capacity of the museum is reduced (at 25%) for the safety of all visitors, staff, and volunteers. There are also new health and safety procedures and guidelines, including social distancing, face coverings, enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols. In-person tours are currently limited to smaller groups and upon inquiry; live tours are available by contacting the group sales office or through email.

Museum Hours: The museum is open Tuesday – Saturday from 11 a.m – 5 p.m. Sunday hours are from 12 p.m to 5 pm, Monday is the only day closed. 

“Sunny Days”: Free Admission the first Thursday of every month 11 a.m – 5 p.m; initiative presented by AutoNation. 

General Admission Ticket Fees: 

Adults: $12

Seniors and Military: $8 

Students (13-17) and college students (with a valid ID): $5

FREE for NSU Art Museum Members, NSU students, faculty and staff, and children 12 and under. 

Membership Levels and Benefits: 

Student ($25 with valid student ID)

100% Charitable Contribution 

  • Includes Individual Member benefits  

Educator ($55 with valid educator ID

100% Charitable Contribution 

  • Includes Individual Member benefits  

NSU Alumni Membership ($55) 

100% Charitable Contribution 

  • Includes Individual Member benefits  

Individual Membership ($80): 

100% Charitable Contribution 

  • Free, unlimited general admission
  • Free or discounted admission to Museum programs
  • 10% discount at the Museum Store & Cafe 
  • Opportunity to join Docents, Beaux Arts, Friends Auxiliary groups

Museum Enthusiast/ Family ($160) 

  • $10 Value of Goods & Services 
  • Includes Individual level benefits 
  • Membership benefits for a family ( 2 adults and children 13-18 years old) 
  • Two complementary Museum guest passes
  • Free admission and select member benefits to cultural institutions within NARM

Patron ($525) 

  • $50 Value of Goods & Services 
  • Includes Enthusiast/Family level benefits 
  • Select Miami Art Week perks
  • 10 complimentary Museum guest passes

Benefactor ($1,075) 

  • $50 Value of Goods & Services
  • Includes Patron level benefits 
  • Special annual donor reception
  • Priority notice for lectures and performances
  • Membership in the NSU President’s Associates 
  • 15 complimentary Museum guest passes

Collectors Circle ($5,000) 

  • $225 Value of Goods & Services
  • Includes Benefactor level benefits
  • Private, guided tours of select exhibitions, collections or galleries with Museum Director and Chief Curator
  • Opportunity to vote on new Museum Acquisitions 
  • Recognition on Annual Donor Wall in Museum lobby 
  • 25 complimentary Museum guest passes

Cobra Circle (By-Invitation only $525) 

  • $50 Value of Goods & Services 
  • Includes Patron level benefits 
  • Members play a leadership role in the Museum’s future, and the events and programs hosted provide educational and social opportunities.
    • Exclusive invitations to those events and tours of private collections

One East Society Individual ($150) / Dual ($250) 

  • $10 Value of Goods & Services
  • Includes Museum Enthusiast/Family level benefits 
  • Exclusive invitation to One East Society events and other customized programming for art enthusiasts (ages 21 – 40) 

COLLECTION 

NSU Art Museum has an extensive collection of more than 7,500 works, and it has recently received a generous gift of 100 works from the contemporary art collection of David Horvitz and Francie Bishop Good. The permanent collection embraces culture in all of its shapes and forms (works of Latin-American and Cuban modern contemporary art), and it values the work of several women artists.

Andy Warhol, Mao Tse-tung, 1972 . Photo taken by Luzmariana Iacono

Andy Warhol was considered part of the Pop Art movement and was known for using imagery from popular culture and mass media. He began working on this series of portraits of Mao Zedong after President Richard M. Nixon visited China in 1972. This turning point gave the opportunity to discuss diplomatic relations between Communist China and the U.S. 

Teresita Fernandez, Dew,  2003. Photo Taken by Luzmariana Iacono

This wall assemblage formed by small acrylic cubes in different shades to represent evaporating dew can leave the viewer perplexed. It is beautiful, but what does it mean? The author aims to explain that touch is a more reliable sense than sight and it has always been the way that infants first approach the world. Starting from the psychological explanation that perception is relative and sight is unreliable, touch seems to be a more exciting and curious way to interact with art and the world around us. 

Glenn Ligon, Untitled (I live on my shadow), 2009. Photo taken by Luzmariana Iacono  

Glenn Ligon gained recognition in 1989 for his paintings that consisted of text coming from literature and other sources. He explores American history, literature, and socio-economic circumstances through conceptual art and paintings. What I love the most about this neon sign is that the initial reaction to it was “this person is an introvert, mysterious” but in reality it refers to abolitionist Sojourner Truth’s carte de visite (1864). Truth was a former slave who would sell his photographs to tell his story, in fact, shadow refers to photography and he was living on that truth. It was an empowering move for him, and Glenn Ligon wanted to tell that story through these neon signs. 

EXHIBITIONS 

I Paint my Reality: Surrealism in Latin America

One of the displays featured in the second floor, dedicated to Latin American Surrealism. Photo taken by Luzmariana Iacono

Among the different exhibitions that will be on view until 2021, this one mostly caught my attention for its unique title and exceptional work as in the avant-garde Surrealist style. This exhibition follows the features works by Leonora Carrington, Frida Kahlo, Wifredo Lam, Roberto Matta, Carlos Merida, Amelia Pelaez among others. It is significant to the museum because it examines the Surrealist movement in Latin America in the 1930s and its continued impact today. The amount of imagery showcased in the different artworks is mesmerizing, as they also focus on topics such as dreams, mythologies, magical cultures, and indigenous cultures. 

Pablo Cano, Lady Liberty and St. Catherine, 2001. Photo taken by Luzmariana Iacono

Pablo Cano is known for utilizing marionettes, constructs, and stages them in elaborate performances to represent connections with mythical goddesses, or to symbolize political, religious, and visual significance as it is the case with Lady Liberty  and St. Catherine.

Cesar Menendez, La Fiesta del Disfraz, 1992. Photo Taken by Luzmariana Iacono

Cesar Menendez expresses through art various aspects of his culture by including religious processions of priests and other religious figures and costumes. This artwork might make the viewer feel uneasy and wonder what the meaning behind such figures is. These are aspects of Surrealism and Magical Realism.

Transitions and Transformations 

Transitions and Transformations transforms Remember to React, which was a previous installation in the museum. This exhibition will continue to change over the year as new works are added and removed. They all follow the same topic though: time and its changes.

Genevieve Gaignard, Nothing Can Dim The Light That Shines From Within, 2018. Photo Taken bu Luzmariana Iacono

One beautiful lady, with flowers protruding from her head. One interpretation could be growth, new ideas, and the representation of femininity. However, what the artist aims to explore is also issues of race, class, and the feeling of not fitting in. As a daughter of a mixed-racial couple she could identify with anxieties of intersectional identity. 

SPECIAL PROGRAMS 

The NSU Art Museum offers: 

  • “Sunny Days” – Free Admission the first Thursday of every month 11 a.m – 5 p.m
  • Group tours
  • Virtual tours
  • At-Home art activities 
  • Art talks and events
  • Creativity exploration (offering prompts to inspire creative ideas and promote self-discovery).
  • Education resources 

VISITOR 

Alfonso Montero, Miami Resident and FIU student 

Is it the first time that you visit this museum? What brought you here today?

  • I found it interesting when researching different museums around the area, and I thought I could check it out. 

What was your favorite part of the museum?

  • I really liked the modern art exhibits, the Surrealism section showing all the different viewpoints they had. I was not much of a fan of the drawings section but a lot of the pieces were interesting and diverse. The charcoal piece by Nathalie Alfonso was an amazing abstract art and it was a good way to bring some permanent fixtures that can seamlessly blend into any sort of exhibit they decide to put there. 

What have you learned from this museum? 

  • Some of the backstories of the artists were interesting. I remembered some of the pieces from the Mexican artist from the 1930’s and 1940’s were interesting because I was able to see the mentality of people based on the era they lived and where they lived in. 

PORTRAIT 

Cathy Iglesias, Front Desk Assistant at the NSU Art Museum 

How long have you been working here? And what has attracted you to this museum in particular? 

  • I have been working here for a year and a few months. This museum is closer to my home and my other job, it is very flexible with my school schedule and they are very accommodating. 

Are you studying anything relating to art? Why is this museum special in its own way?

  • Not at the moment, but I did art for 4 years in high school and enjoyed it. I feel like this museum is very diverse because we have the Latin American Surrealism, for example, and we have the new art South Florida which allows local artists from 3 counties (West Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami) to have exhibits here now as well. 

Given the current situation with the pandemic right now, how many visitors do you receive on a daily basis?

  • It could be as low as 10 people to 50 or 60 on average. The weekends are more packed, but at the moment we do not host any in-person events, just online, in order to maintain social distance. 

Out of all the exhibitions there are, which one would you say is your personal favorite? Why? 

  • As a Latino myself, it would be the Latin American Surrealism because it represents all of us and tells our story through art. 

SUMMARY 

The NSU Art Museum is captivating to the eye of young adults for its vibrant building and “Happy Clouds” that most people post on their social media representing the museum. It is a type of museum that allows people to enjoy their time admiring beautiful paintings, an impactful section dedicated to Constructivism exhibits, and upstairs several art installations capture the eyes of visitors. Beyond such beauty there is a sense of unity through a diverse culture as several artists are represented and each given the appropriate value and importance –  Latin American, African, Native American, and an emphasis on women artists. Moreover, time can be felt through these exhibitions as they all come from different eras and showcase their importance in history, including the effect of the current pandemic; in fact, one of the art installations is a live camera that records life during COVID-19, facing a park where people usually play but now it is empty or with a few people covered by masks. This museum is inspiring and it allows you to connect to your inner self and, as an immigrant, you feel understood in the Surrealism section found on the second floor. As a museum lover, I appreciate the fact that there is a balance between colorful, joyful, and light-hearted type of art with history and deep meaning behind each artwork. 

CITATIONS 

Goethals, Kelley, et al. “About the Museum.” NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, Kelley Goethals Https://Nsuartmuseum.org/Wp-Content/Uploads/2015/07/Nsu-Art-Museum-Logo-Blk-v2.Png, 23 June 2020, nsuartmuseum.org/museum/about-the-museum/. 

Valys, Phillip. “A Brief History of the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale.” SouthFlorida, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 5 Apr. 2019, http://www.sun-sentinel.com/entertainment/theater-and-arts/sf-nsu-art-museum-fort-lauderdale-timeline-history-20170706-story.html. 

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