The De la Cruz Collection
My name is Victoria Menache and I am a current Junior at Florida International University majoring in Nutrition and Dietetics with a minor in Chemistry. My goal is to go to Medical School and become a Pediatrician. The arts and sciences have always been something I have been passionate about. I danced competitively for 9 years and have a tremendous respect and love for the art form that is dance and the arts. This passion stemmed from my grandfather as he was a doctor and a painter. He combined his two passions and that is what I plan to do in my future. I remember when I was younger, I used to be very scared of the doctor’s office so I aspire to be a pediatrician and incorporate the arts into making the doctor’s office not so terrifying to children.
This art institution is located in 23 NE 41st St in theDesign District near Wynwood. The design district is home to multiple museums, galleries, and personal collections. Its surrounding community is very artistic and it is known for its sleek and modern style of architecture. It is filled with award winning restaurants, and different luxury stores. The De la Cruz Collection fits perfectly in the neighborhood, as the modern art pieces in the collection match with the modernization of the Design Districts architecture.
The history of the De La Cruz Collection starts off with the story of Rosa and Carlos De La Cruz. They both met as teenagers in Havana and grew on to get married in 1962. Both came from very cultured upbringings as Carlos’s family collected art and Rosas grandfather was a architect. Then lived in Madrid for about 9 years and went on to have five children. Both appreciated the arts and would always take time to visit different museums in Europe. They both wanted to take their love for the arts and manifest it into their own collection. But in order to begin a collection, one must need to have a good amount of money to start with and this was very difficult due to the fact that they had five kids. Therefore, they decided to wait till their kids were older, where they moved to the states and began the process of starting their own collection.
Most of their source of wealth came from Coca-Cola bottling in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. They began in the late 1980s collecting from their home, by appointment only. They made their house free to the public, which they continue to do at present time during Art Basel Week. Then from 2001 to 2007, Rosa De La Cruz purchases the space located in the Design District and launches in 2009 as a private institution, free to the public. This was a 30,000-square foot space known as the Moore Space. The first work that they purchased in their collection was from an artist named Rufino Tamayo who was a Mexican printmaker and painter. The De La Cruz’s played with the idea of strictly having a Latin American collection, but then came to the conclusion to focus on contemporary art overall. The collection includes works such as Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Ana Mendieta, Mark Bradford, Isa Genzken, Christopher Wool, and Peter Doig. As the collection continues to grow, it goes on to become one of the most paramount contemporary art collections in Miami.
The mission of the De La Cruz Collection is to educate and make art more accessible to the community by making admission free of charge. While also providing yearly exhibitions with a focus on contemporary art, supporting the community through lectures, artist led workshops, student travel, and pre-college programs.
ACcess (Free to the PUblic)
The Del la Cruz collection is easily accessible as it is free to the public. They even have very well trained and passionate individuals who work there that offer to give a free tour of the collection if you would like. Also, the owners of the collection, Rosa and Carlos De la Cruz, are always in the collection museum unless they have to travel. So, if you ever stop by and you want to ask questions or have someone explain a certain art piece to you, you can have that for free.
These are just some of the major works that are part of the permanent collection.
Felix Gonzalez Torres
Felix Gonzalez Torres holds true to the traditions of conceptual art and minimalism. He generated sculptures and installations which look at the ideas of private and public life. He does something known as processed art, where he works with different household objects and objects that are likely to change overtime.
One things you can always get from one of Felix Gonzalez Torres sculptures is how he gets the public to interact with it. One of the most iconic pieces he has created is Untitled (Portrait of Dad) (1991), which is a large pile of wrapped candies with a weight of 100-120 pounds that anyone can take. One can say that this is a very simple installation that anyone can do. But he was able to do it first a because it is not simple you have the chance to take one of the candies and even start your own. Another aspect of Felix Gonzalez Torres work is the political significance towards AIDS, which he was deeply affected by.
Ana Mendieta is a Cuban American artist whose work is often thought of as “earth body” works. She deals with the distinctiveness on politics and uses multiple mediums like photography, performance, film, video, drawing, sculpture, and site-specific installations. Mendieta’s work is known to be very unique for its mixture in different types of media. The issues she tries to capture through her art work is mostly about her cultural and spiritual identity, as she was an exile of communist Cuba.
In 1981, she visited Jaurco Park, Cuba and made one of her most influential series yet. This is where she did various carvings on the walls of the caves in the park. She was motivated to do this through the pre-Hispanic goddess of Cuban Taino myths. It was during this time she started to use more concrete objects, always referencing nature, by incorporating materials such as earth, fire, and water. Which you can see in the several pieces they have of Ana Mendieta in the De la Cruz Collection.
Wade Guyton is a sculptor and painter from America. He is known to discover the connections between images and artworks through the use of digital technology like scanner, inkjet printer, and a regular desktop computer. The particular art work that is shown about is done through an inkjet printer. Guyton’s use of these tools help makes the paintings and drawings create stunning accidents that can coincide with our daily lives in how he tries to mimic the blurred images and misprinted images we see on our computers screens and cellphones.
This is probably my favorite work out of the whole collection. When you enter this room, you cannot help but smile. Rob Pruitt is best known or his pop-culture content and beautifully blended background. When looking at the background you can tell they are inspired by Mark Rothko. When Pruitt was younger he would position himself in front of Rothko’s paintings and think about how much better it would look with faces drawn on top of them. Each of the paintings communicate a different facial expression or more deeply different spectrums of emotions that we as human feel on a daily basis.
The De La Cruz Collection has many amazing programs where they really try to connect with local artists in Miami. The two travel programs are funded by Rosa and Carlos De La Cruz and the John S. and James L Knight foundation with help from grant management from the Miami Foundation.
- The De La Cruz Collection has a partnership with DASH (Design and Architecture Senior High School)
- They send two groups of students to New York to visit Parsons art and design school and the School of Visual Arts (SVA). The students attend a pre-college program in the summer for about one month. This is fully paid for through the De la Cruz Collection. They pay for the hotel, their flight, pay for them to go to different museums and shows, provide them with a stipend, and even go as far as to buy them their own luggage.
- The De La Cruz’s both do this because they know that most of these high school students come from low income families, making them not be able to have experiences like this. And because these students are given this opportunity they receive a variety of scholarships since they have a unique experience like this under their belt.
- The De La Cruz Collection has a partnership with New World School of the Arts
- Here they send the graduating class of New World School of Arts to Europe. They started this partnership in 2010. They pay for the flight, give them a stipend, take them to the best places to eat in the city, and pay for their hotel. The reason for this is also because they want to take the financial burden off of the students so they can focus on learning and really experiencing the trip.
- The students go to different cities and experience the art and culture that city had to offer. Last year the students went to Venice and the year before that they went to Berlin and London. This year they are thinking of going to Paris.
- Summer workshops:
- The De La Cruz Collection allows for community to come and enjoy a free workshop where they provide both breakfast and lunch. In this workshop, local artists are invited to come and propose a certain subject to teach the individuals of the community. This year they had individuals teach students about virtual reality, 3D printing, and writing.
- The De La Cruz Collection also provides free lectures to the public of different artists like Sterling Ruby, Mark Bradford, and Dan Cohlin.
- Graphic design, industrial design, and architecture students from DASH take part every year in a design contest and all students are given a scholarship to assist them in their first year of college.
Here I interviewed the woman in the photo. She was a little embarrassed to take a picture on her own so she asked her boyfirend to join in.
What is your name?
Answer: “Maryum Khan”
Where are you from?
Answer: “Orlando, Florida “
Have you ever been here before?
Answer: “No this is our first time being here”.
Why did you come here today?
Answer:“We came to Miami on vacation and decided to have a little date in the design district”.
How did you hear about it?
Answer: “We were looking at different museums and collections in the Design District and decided to go to the ICA and the De La Cruz collection since they were right next to each other”.
Have you always been interested in the arts?
Answer:“Yes, I mostly am interested in modern art”.
What have you liked so far?
Answer: “I am very interested in the various mediums that are shown in each of the art pieces displayed which is why I liked Sterling Ruby’s piece on the first floor”.
What do you do?
Answer:“I am an architect which is why I wanted to come to the Design District, I love the architecture and the atmosphere here”.
What is your name?
Answer: Sai Montilla
What are some major works of the collection?
Answer:“Felix Gonzalez Torres and Anna Mendieta”.
What events or special programs you have?
Answer: “We have a special partnership with DASH. Where we take the students on a trip to Europe. We also allow for local artists to sponsor their work to us. All we want is to support those who want to venture into the art world and make it known that they are not alone”.
How long have you been working here?
Answer: “I have been working here for about 4 years now and I love it. We are also given the opportunity to travel with the students and I am able to learn more about the art and different artists while working here”.
How many people on average would say come in and out of the collection?
Answer: “It varies from time to time. During Art Basel week, it gets pretty full here. The De La Cruz’s made the Collection free to educate the public and the community”.
What would you say differentiates this collections to others?
Answer: “This is a fully funded private collection, they pay for this out of pocket. They really wanted to build something for the community where they were able to come in for free. One thing about the collection that is very different is that the employees are very interactive”.
Do you have a favorite piece?
Answer: “I can’t choose that! That’s like asking who’s your favorite child. But the artists that I really admire are Anna Mendieta, Felix Gonzalez Torres, and Mark Bradford”.
SUMMARY OF THE INSTITUTION (WHAT WORKS? AND WHAT DOESN’T?
When walking in to the De La Cruz collection you are put in a very wholesome and welcoming atmosphere. Rosa and Carlos De La Cruz really wanted to make their collection a very inviting place. Making it free to the public is already a plus and due to it being located in the Design District, which is an area meant to walk around, it allows for more customers to pop in and take a look around at no charge. The individuals who work at the De La Cruz are very intelligent and passionate about what they do. I was able to meet both Sai Montilla and Daniel Clapp, these two employees are filled with an insurmountable amount of passion. They have this genuine spirit within them and willingness to spread their passion to others creating a very thoughtful environment. Both Rosa and Carlos De La Cruz are very generous and caring individuals and you can tell they mentor their employees to be just the same. The collection also has multiple works from Cuban artists like Ana Mendieta, Felix Gonzalez Torres, and Wifredo Lam. Having these artists really speaks to the Latin American community and allows people like my parents and grandparents, from Cuba, to feel more emotionally connected to the variety of works done by these Cuban artists.
All of these distinctive aspects about the collection like the location, the employees, and the free admission entirely work on making this institution a place one must visit. If I had to be picky and speak about what doesn’t work about this institution I would say it is very far and to get their might be a drive but it is worth it in the end.
Pamphlet about Ana Mendieta from the De La Cruz Collection: