Fengxin Ma: Miami as Text 2019

Hi, my name is Fengxin Ma, but you can also call me Francine. I’m currently a junior at FIU, majoring in Finance. I love to travel and explore new places. Lately, I’ve been quite into photography, I hope to capture different view of Miami through this class.

Art Society Conflict “Norton as Text”

Garden by the villa by Fengxin Ma of FIU in Norton Museum on 9/22/2019

Exploring throughout the Norton Museum, I was greeted by numerous beautiful paintings. From Gothic Paintings to Modern Art, every piece seems to be telling a story.

Professor Bailey walked our class through the museum, introduced us about different art pieces in different eras and different artists. He lectured us about the history of the arts, the styles of the art, and its influence on society. There was one painting specifically that I just could not stop thinking about: Garden of the Villa by Monet.

There is something about that painting that I just could not stop starring at it. It first caught my eyes was the colors in the paintings. It was lively and vibrant. It instantly brought me into the summer haze. Staring into the painting, I could see what my professor was talking about – the flow of the brushes the artist utilizes – it looks like the plants were dancing along with winds, moving gracefully like a ballerina. The painting brought me a sense of ease, a sense of relaxation. It brought me back to a piece of my childhood memories, where I could just wander into the forest, skip through bushes of flowers, and run into squirrels that are looking for their favorite treats. I just could not take my eyes off it. The painting just seems to sparks a little joy into my heart and brought me a sense of peace.

My encounter with this piece made me realize that less is more. This piece might not be the one that tells the most exciting story, but it did bring in something to me that other paintings fail to do.

Garden by the Villa by Monet

Art Society Conflict “ Deering as Text”

I’ve lived in Miami for ten years, I thought I knew every side of Miami until this day. Hiking through the woods at Deering Estate, I encountered the other side of Miami. A side that not many people know of, including me, a side that seems to be forgotten by the world. 

The hike opened my eyes to a different perspective of Miami. It introduced me to the history of Miami. It shared the artifacts and the remains of the natives that origin in Miami. 

One of the sites that I encountered was the Paleo-Indian archaeological Cutler Fossil Site. It was surrounded by an environment that you would think it is from the Amazons. It was so beautiful that I could not stop myself from taking pictures. It feels like you stepped into a jungle, only you and nature. The sacred site was filled with the history of Miami; It lies the Paleo-Indians’ remains, the tools they used, and even animals’ remains. Our tour guide, Vanessa, shared some pieces of the tools that the Paleo-Indians used, she also shared some of the archaeological findings that came out of the site. It was fascinating. 

We went on two hikes at Deering Estates. The first hike was to the Paleo-Indian archaeological Cutler Fossil Site. The second hike was to the Pre-Spanish Tequesta Burial Mound. On this hike, I was greeted by numerous spiders and mosquitos, but most importantly the beautiful scenery. Vanessa introduced us to solution holes and other plants that I’ve never seen before throughout the hike. Seeing all these allow me to have a better understanding of Miami. It allows me to connect with nature once again.


The Margulies collection is not something new to me. I’ve visited a year ago. Though I was there a year, the interpretation of each art piece seems to change a bit. A year ago, I walked into this gallery to only take pretty pictures; today, I walked in intending to understand each art piece. Two art displays caught my attention. One is the display of the superheroes in their senior years at the Margulies Collection. I was especially touched by this display because it reminds me of “nothing lasts forever.”  Seeing this display brings me a lot of thoughts. The thought of growing up, the thought of the time, and the thought of reality. Like these superheroes in the display, age is inevitable. We will all reach that point of life where we won’t be the same anymore, even if you are superheroes. Superheroes are human too, they will age too. Nothing lasts forever, but you could always cherish the memories that were made. 

Another art piece that caught my attention was a painting from the De La Cruz Collection. I cannot pinpoint what exactly made me felt so in touch with this painting, but when I saw it, I was like “wow”. Maybe it is something I’ve been desired: peace. The painting might predominately be painted in a very aggressive color- red- but somehow I found peach within. It like a summery night, with stars glazing and the boat rolling. I could almost feel the wind and peacefulness of the ocean in the middle of the night. Sometimes, less is more.

Another art piece that caught my attention was a painting from the De La Cruz Collection. I cannot pinpoint what exactly made me felt so in touch with this painting, but when I saw it, I was like “wow”. Maybe it is something I’ve been desired: peace. The painting might predominately be painted in a very aggressive color- red- but somehow I found peach within. It like a summery night, with stars glazing and the boat rolling. I could almost feel the wind and peacefulness of the ocean in the middle of the night. Sometimes, less is more.

Art Society Conflicts ” Vizcaya as Text ”

After living in Miami for ten years, I’ve finally visited the Vizcaya for the first time. I’ve always heard of it but never been to it. I’ve always loved European culture, its arts, architecture, and way of life. Visiting the Vizcaya has truly opened my eyes to a true European style Mansion. I was mostly impressed by the interior design of the house. It’s like a box of chocolate, you never know what’s next. Every room in the Vizcaya mansion is a different theme in different periods of history, from the Romans to the Renaissance. Every room is elaborately decorated as you can feel how detail-oriented James Deering is. 

One of my favorite rooms in the Vizcaya is the room that is inspired by the Romans. This room particularly caught my eyes is the fact that the room was not installed with real marbles. The room was instead decorated with painted marbles. Because of the painted marbles, it created a large societal influence at the time. This is what fascinates me the most, such simple action to make up for the demand of what others have has instantly become a fashion statement that stormed the upper society at that time. 

The Garden of the Vizcaya also took my heart by storm. From the secret garden to the intricate landscaping that is utilized throughout the whole back yard of the mansion, the attempt of implementing European style gardening is certainly impressive. It demonstrated the power of men trying to dominate nature and showcase the exercise of power. 

The trip to Vizcaya is unforgettable. Not only it showcased the other side of Miami, but it gives me a deeper understanding of history. 

Design District as Text

It almost seems surreal as I step into another great art work by Yayoi Kusama. I had an opportunity to visit Japan in the past summer, and one of the most memorable moment was when I step into one of the infinity light rooms designed by Yayoi Kusama. It was miraculous. I never thought I will be able to see one of them in Miami. 

            It took me by surprise when I found out that ICA had Kusama’s work in display. The opportunity that I get to be in the room full of pumpkins and polka dots sparked a little joy in me. The room was lighted up in a warm yellow tone. It almost seems like it is bringing those pumpkins alive. The 360 degree surrounded mirrors makes the room feels like it is filled with endless amount of pumpkins and polka dots. There wasn’t just one of me in the reflection of these mirrors; there was thousands of me. It is quite magical, a tiny little room that is built on a space of less than 100 square feet but once you step inside, it brought you into a world that seems ongoing forever. 

            When I walked into the room and the door closes behind me, it felt like the world is all left behind. The warm toned room and the thousand reflections of me, it brought me peace. It made me want to dance because it seems like the world are moving around by me. It was calm, relaxed, and peaceful. I did not want to leave the room because it felt like a safe house for my emotions and stress. It is a place where I could concentrate on nothing but myself. There are billions of pumpkins in the room, but I was undistracted by.  I could not understand the obsession of pumpkins that Kusama has, but these pumpkins had put together a picture-perfect art work like no one else. 

Miami Art as Text

As the last class of the semester, we have the chance to visit two of the largest Art fair for Miami Art Basel Week : CONTEXT and UNTITLED. 


UNTITLED is located right on the sand of Miami Beach, where you have an overview of the sea. UNTITLED welcomed exhibitors all around the world and is a first-hand market. Walking through UNTITLED is like taking a world tour on multiple galleries at once. One second you are in a gallery from Cuba and next, you are in a gallery from Ghana. Knowing the fact that each piece of art that is hanging on the wall is worth thousands of dollars gave me a sense of excitement yet uneasy. We had an opportunity to visit multiple galleries in the fair, each one of them displayed a different content with a different meaning.  Like the gallery from Ghana, one of the artists utilized the sewing technique on her artwork, it captured the scene of daily life. On a second thought of the artwork, it also captures a sense of feminism by the usage of pink and pastels throughout the piece. One of the exhibitors that we visited caught most of my attention. It is not like traditional art- paintings or structures- but it is planted. The exhibitors explained to our class that the artist utilizes the plants she found through the Everglades to make art as well as bringing those plants into our awareness. This project is also used as a stepping stone of another project which they use to bring awareness to the coral reefs in the Caribbean


CONTEXT is located on the bay side of Miami, right next to the Adrienne Arsht Center. CONTEXT has a very different vibe compared to UNTITLED. CONTEXT is primary a second-hand market for artworks, although there is some first hand. CONTEXT felt a lot busier and more commercial. There will be some with a price tag on it and some with the price upon request only. With over hundreds of seller and thousands of paintings, CONTEXT seem like an upscaled thrift store for art, everywhere is a treasure. Like UNTITLED, we had a chance to walk through multiple booths, each one of them shared their unique pieces with us. One of the most eye-catching pieces of art from CONTEXT was a pentagonal sculpture that looks like it has an indefinite bottom to it. It seems to go on and tangles in the lines forever. There are many forms of art available for sale, from traditional paintings to digital art designs.

Visiting the two biggest art fair during Art Basel week certainly emphasized the importance of art in life.  Art is used as an expression of emotion but also a powerful tool to spread awareness. The visitation of the two art fairs is like an introduction to the Art Business world. It opened my eyes to how influential art can be. It can bring in a billon dollar and people from all around the globe yet it can influence the thought of something. Art Basel week has brought in thousands and thousands of visitors around the world into one place, it brought up the local economy and tourism and generated over millions of dollars. This is what I called the power of art.

Author: miamiastext

Admin Account for Miami in Miami

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