My name is Matthew Haimes and I am currently in my second year of college at Florida International University. I am currently majoring in mathematics as I want to go to graduate school and one day become a mathematician. I have always enjoyed spending time to appreciate art throughout my life and this fascination has taken me across the world to look at what I believe to be the most influential pieces of art. My hobbies include solving Rubik’s cubes, boxing, volleyball, and studying. I enrolled in this class to learn more about the art world and delve deep into different forms of art and how they have been used to change society. So far, I have enjoyed every minute of this class and it has been an honor being one of Professor Bailly’s students.
The Patricia and Philip Frost Art Museum can be found on the campus of FIU in Miami, Florida. The address of the institution is 10975 SW 17th St, Miami, FL 33199 in the Modesto A. Maidique campus. The destination of this museum has influenced many of its different exhibits such as the current Art after Stonewall exhibit which provides a detailed overview of LGBTQ art which you would not find in an area such as in the central United States. Because of the location this museum has had some of the most diverse forms of art because of its south Floridian audience.
Philip Frost was an American entrepreneur who was a chairman, investor, and CEO of multiple different companies throughout his lifetime and it was through this he established a plethora of wealth. Patricia Frost was the chairman of multiple boards between FIU and the Smithsonian and was the Educator of the Year for her work at FIU. Both of them were stellar individuals who surpassed anything that got in their way and managed to amass a fantastic collection of a variety of art, which they donated to the Smithsonian Institution in 1986. In 2006 they became the lead donors to the aptly named Patricia and Philip Frost Art Museum at FIU.
The mission of the Frost Art Museum is to serve as many different and diverse groups of people as possible while still being able to give all of their programs and services for free. This goal has earned them multiple awards even going as far as to earn the award of “Miami’s best Museum” multiple times.
This institution is easily one of the most accessible museums in the world as not only is it an obvious building which by itself looks like a fantastic piece of architecture, it is free to everyone to visit. Their hours of operation are from 10am-5pm from Tuesday-Friday, 12-5pm on Sundays and they are closed on Saturdays and Mondays. They have many different types of membership ranging from FIU Student which is $20 which lets you get discounts on any event that they hold. All the way until Benefactor which costs $1000 and you are given premier passes to Miami Art Fair Week, access to national and international art fairs, and more.
The second floor houses an exhibit named Art after Stonewall, which is a deep insight into the impact that different individuals in the LGBTQ community had to face during time of 1969-1989. The exhibit itself encompasses about 20 years of art which followed the Stonewall riots in 1969. There is a detailed summary of the exhibition on the second floor on the right side of where you would have walked up the stairs. Both the left and right sides on the second floor represent this exhibition and you can observe in extreme detail what these people have had to deal with over the many years of being underrepresented and being made fun of.
My absolute favorite piece inside the entire museum very early which was “Things Are Queer” by Duane Michals. This piece shows a pure example of just how weird things can be and upon initial observation it may seem as a trivial piece, but after looking through the piece and finding the meaning I feel as though it was one of the best pieces, I have seen all year. The exhibit is covered with massive pieces of very emotionally powerful art and it feels difficult walking through it because of the pain that the artists must have felt when they were creating these magnificent pieces of art.
Another piece which I found very powerful was “Pearl Homes” by Arch Connelly which represents a home made out of jewelry. The purpose of the piece is to give an idea about what drag culture can be like from the inside and gives off a glitzy drag queen aesthetic to the same extent that sculptures would represent historical importance. These two pieces alone can describe what the emotional aura was throughout this exhibit and partially what it must have been like to have gone through the same difficulties which they faced.
The third floors exhibit “Connectivity” shows how everyone is connected whether it be throughout beliefs, languages, geographic area, and as struggling citizens. There is an excess of art to view to understand this emotional resonance, but this exhibition does so in a fantastic way that puts you in a state where you want to connect with other cultures and understand what they have gone through. A fine example of this is in the two piece of art “Female Ibeji” and “Male Ibeji” which are both two twins of the Yaruba people in Nigeria. The Yoruba believe that twins are a very sacred and important occurrence, and this has influenced their thinking and apparently their biology as they have the highest occurrence of twins in the world. This fascination with twins has led them to create a statue to serve as a memorial for when a twin would pass away, because they believed that twins had only one soul and not there would only be half of a soul leftover in a surviving twin.
The Yoruba believed that caring for these statues would help their families, and this is a clear connection to many other cultures and many of us have the sole goal of helping our families. This is an example of our connection to each other through our belief systems, because where we as Americans don’t hold twins to as high of as a regard as the Yoruba, we do both believe that family is one of the most important things and we will go through great lengths to make sure our families are happy.
Another piece of art which I find very influential to the topic of connectivity is “The Mediator” by Humberto Calzada. The inspiration for this piece came from his home town Havana, Cuba, and through his work he changes the commonly historical and beautiful place of Havana and changes it into nothing but a mere collection of different geometrical shapes. This shows how we can be connected to places that may be in a completely different part of the world, but because of a history that has taken place there we can feel as though this history stays with us and changes us no matter where we may travel.
There are currently two exhibitions at the museum, the first being “Art after Stonewall” which focused on what has occurred inside of the LGBTQ community since the events of Stonewall riots that occurred because of a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in Manhatten which occurred because the community refused to give gays the rights they deserved. During the 1980’s the artist-activists brought the struggle for equality back to life and have because of this they have managed to continue fighting on for their rights till today. This is what the second floor of this museum represents, and it is important for us to all remember the difficulties that people still endure to fight for their basic human rights. This is a fantastic exhibit and it feels necessary to walk around and feel what others have gone through to progress to where we are today. This exhibit will be on view until January 5th, 2020 and was curated by Jonathan Weinberg, Daniel Marcus and Drew Sawy, and was organized by the Columbus Museum of Art.
The second exhibition which is on the third floor is “Connectivity, Selections from the Collection of the Frost Art Museum” and this exhibit shows how everyone is connected whether it be throughout beliefs, languages, geographic area, or as struggling citizens. There is an excess of art to view to understand this emotional resonance, but this exhibition does so in a fantastic way that puts you in a state where you want to connect with other cultures and understand what they have gone through. This exhibit has been on view since June 30th, 2018 and will continue being on view for the time being, this exhibit was curated by Amy Galpin Ph.D.
The Frost Art Museum has multiple programs that are open to people of all ages. Programs such as “Family Days” where people come by to draw, paint, and take part in other artistic activities even those who have ailments which hinder them from doing such on an average day. Another community program they offer is their “Drawing Salons” which gives people ages 16+ the opportunity to develop their skills in the arts. They also offer “MakerSPACE Workshops which helps people explore brand new ideas with the help of professional artists. Their last program they offer is called “Artful Playdates” which is where educators help motivate children to explore their inner creativity in many ways which help them become better learners for the rest of their lives.
Q: Do you live around Miami?
A: Fort Lauderdale
Q: What are your thoughts on the “Art after Stonewall” exhibit?
A: It seemed a little too explicit honestly, I understand that they have faced a lot of trouble but it’s hard for me to take it seriously when there is a massive picture of two gay people grabbing each other’s privates in the middle of the room.
Q: What are your thoughts on the “Connectivity” exhibit?
A: I like the historic feel to it but it feels a little to abstract to me
Q: Have you ever been here before?
A: Nope, first time.
Q: What is your interpretation of the museum?
A: Seems like a cool place, wouldn’t mind coming back if any new exhibitions roll around.
Q: How long have you worked here?
A: Just over a month now.
Q: What are your thoughts on your “Art after Stonewall” exhibit?
A: Easily my favorite part about working here. I try my best to stay on the second floor just so that when people aren’t around, I get to look at the art myself.
Q: How often do new exhibits open up?
A: Every once in a while, a new one is going to open up on the first floor in a week or two.
Q: Do you enjoy working here?
A: I wouldn’t give it up for the world, it is so much fun seeing people explore what we have here.
Overall, each of their different exhibits painted a perfect portrait what a museum should feel like in my mind. The fact that they are not afraid to show explicit art in the “Art after Stonewall” exhibit and express it as such is a great step forward for out society as we continue to make strides in equal rights. The museum itself has some amazing architecture which was done by Yann Weymouth and this makes the building much more approachable. The “Connectivity” exhibit is very effective in visually the picture of how we all may not look, act, or speak the same. We all still hold the same cardinal connections to each other around what we find important and impactful throughout our lives. I would highly recommend a visit as it is free for everyone so there is no reason to not take the opportunity to learn about their art and really get the chance to feel the impact art has had on people in our society.
Florida International University – Digital Communications. “Home.” Florida International University, frost.fiu.edu/index.html.
Franke-Ruta, Garance. “An Amazing 1969 Account of the Stonewall Uprising.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 18 June 2019, www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/01/an-amazing-1969-account-of-the-stonewall-uprising/272467/.
“The Frosts.” Frost Science, www.frostscience.org/the-frosts/.
“Campus Highlight: Frost Museum.” Florida International University, 17 Oct. 2017, http://www.globalfiu.com/campus-highlight-frost-museum/.