Ingrid Rocha: Miami as Text 2019-2020

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. Being a Biology major means there are very few classes outside of the realm of science that is available, so by taking an art class I hope to broaden my horizons and become a more well-rounded individual.

Norton As Text

Article by Ingrid Rocha of FIU in Norton Museum of Art
Photography by Sophia Gandarillas
September 22, 2019

The Norton Museum of Art was the first museum I have been to in the state of Florida. As a result, the museum and its paintings hold a very special place in my heart. The painting that especially piqued my interest is in the image pictured above. It is called The Rest and was composed by the French artist Eugène Fromentin in 1872. The Rest was created through the use of oil on, what most likely is, Brazilian Mahogany wood. This detail was characteristic of the painters at the time for their fascination with creating flawless paintings, which therefore required extremely smooth surfaces.

A detail that stood out to me the most about The Rest was the landscape and extreme detail. Fromentin was an orientalist painter which means he was fascinated with landscapes, architecture, and North African subjects. I believe this is why this work of art stood out to me the most among others within the Norton. I love art that depicts beautiful landscapes with citizens going about their daily business, which is exactly what is happening in The Rest. Within this painting, although there is beautiful architecture included, what attracted my attention the most was the subjects. The manner in which Fromentin depicts the civilians interacting with one another seemed so vivid and life-like that it was able to completely entrance me. Another aspect of The Rest that truly amazed me was the depiction of art moving past the norms of European cultures and religions. Instead they began depicted images of the landscapes they explored such as those found in Africa and Asia. I believe this is what led Fromentin and many other orientalist artists to paint images such as these.

Deering As Text

Article by Ingrid Rocha of FIU in Deering Estate
Photography by Sophia Gandarillas
October 2, 2019

My whole experience at the Deering Estate was extremely out of the ordinary for me. I never would have imagined that here in South Florida there would be such an amazing refuge of ancient life. When I arrived at the Deering Estate I already knew it was going to be an experience like no other. Our first hike comprised of visiting a burial site belonging to paleo-Indians and other extinct species. It truly shocked me that there, where we stood, there were bones belonging to not only ancient Indians, but also dire wolves and mammoths. I felt as if I had been transported to another world as I marveled at the thought of mammoths treading the grounds I walk on today. The image above depicts the a piece of a mammoth’s tooth. This truly brings into perspective the massive size of the animal that once was thriving in the area.

The next hike that we went on was to the Tequesta Native American burial mound. I was extremely fascinated with the Tequesta tribe. I was shocked to learn that there are no descendants of the Tequesta’s, as well as no images that show their appearance. It is as if they were wiped off the face of the earth with only this burial mound and a few journal writings to confirm their existence. It was shocking to me that a people could be wiped out in such a way that almost no one is aware that they even existed in the first place. 

Our visit to the Deering Estate served as an eye-opener for me into the fact that we rarely give any thought to those who may have inhabited our land before we got here. I never would have thought that an extinct people, the Tequesta Native American’s, once lived where I do today. It pains me that they no longer thrive and we are unable to know more about them and their culture. Through this trip I was able to gain insight into what Miami was truly like hundreds and thousands of years ago. We may have paved, built, modernized, and developed most of the land, however, there is no denying Miami’s roots if you just dig deep enough. It makes me wonder, what other marvels lie beneath he ground in our own backyards? 

Wynwood As Text

Article by Ingrid Rocha of FIU in the Margulies Collection and De La Cruz Collection
October 16, 2019

The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse was the first private collection I have had the opportunity to visit, and so it holds a dear place in my heart. This is ironic because all the art was contemporary and very different from the art that I usually enjoy. The Margulies collection contained a lot of sculptures, a form of art that I do not typically enjoy very much. However, I do enjoy photography which Margulies had a whole room dedicated to.

My favorite photographs were those that depicted life inside of an American prison by the American photographer and film maker Danny Lyon. Danny Lyon typically works with a photographic style called New Journalism in which the photographer becomes immersed and participates in the subject being documented. He is the founder of the published group Black Beauty and was present for almost all the major events during the Civil Rights Movement. His photography spoke to me in a way that was foreign, I had never experienced or seen such powerful photography. As I analyzed each photo of the inmates I felt as if I was really there. Lyon provides a powerful window into the lives of those that the common person has never and will probably never experience.

Although the photography was very powerful to me, the statues and artwork that comprised the Margulies Collection did not have a very strong impact on me and I believe that is because I like more traditional and less abstract forms of art which were not quite present in the pieces Mr. Margulies collected.

The second location that we visited as a class was the De La Cruz Collection. This collection was much more my style and had a more welcoming atmosphere. While the De La Cruz collection seemed peaceful, gentle, and aesthetically pleasing, the Margulies collection was colder and had a more bizarre aspect to it. This is not to say that one collection was better than the other as, despite both holding contemporary artwork, they were very different from one another. The De La Cruz collection simply happened to house a lot of paintings that I found more soothing to look at while the Margulies collection held photographs, not paintings or sculptures, that are now dear to my heart. I would love to return to either collection to study the artwork in a calmer, less rushed, setting outside of the constraints of class time.

Above I have pictured a close up of a painting by Christopher Wool. Some may believe, at first glance, that the painting is simply a repetition of pattern however upon further scrutinization it is much more than that as the details are astonishing. Although this is a contemporary piece, I found it extremely soothing to look at. I was immediately drawn to this piece of artwork which surprised me as I am not characteristically drawn to contemporary artwork the way I was to this painting.

Vizcaya As Text

Article by Ingrid Rocha of FIU in Vizcaya and the LnS Gallery
Vizcaya Photography by Sophia Gandarillas
October 30, 2019

When I arrived at Vizcaya, I was immediately drawn to the magnificent triumphal arch that is pictured above. James Deering did an amazing job constructing Vizcaya into a scene right out of, what one would only attribute to being, a European villa. However, there are so many different stylistic elements that went into the construction of Vizcaya that it is possible to see traces of roman, gothic, Mediterranean, and Bahamian architectural influences.

Vizcaya was created for one purpose however, and that was so that James Deering could make a name for himself. Furthermore, not only did he create a name for himself, but through the construction of Vizcaya he also set a precedent for would become Miami and South Beach. Much of the architecture seen in Miami is reminiscent of Vizcaya, however that is not the extent of the similarities between Vizcaya and Miami. James Deering was a man who loved to enjoy himself, especially in the form of drinking, women, and parties. This was clear as soon as you entered his home and came face-to-face with the statue of Dionysus, the god of wine and pleasure himself. Much like Vizcaya in its heyday, Miami and South Beach are known as world famous party destinations, littered with clubs and restaurants that cater to those who simply want to have a good time. It is important to realize where things originated from, and it is easy to attest that Vizcaya is a clear preceptor to what became the city of Miami.

The LnS Gallery was an amazing opportunity to become acquainted with how the process of buying and selling artwork is accomplished. The owners of the LnS Gallery were an extremely friendly and warm couple who enthusiastically answered all the questions they were being asked. They did so with patience, poise, and friendliness. What was most interesting for me to learn about the business aspect behind art was how little the artist sometimes makes due to their own lack of confidence in their own artwork. I was disappointed to learn that there are galleries, artists, and clients alike who will try to trick one another into situations that are not favorable to opposing party. It is interesting, however, that the LnS Gallery is trying to bring forth a new era in the business of buying and selling artwork, more specifically focused on the relationship between gallery and artist they represent.

The overall atmosphere of the LnS Gallery was welcoming and neat which I believe are two extremely important aspects all galleries should have. If a gallery is not welcoming, they will not receive clients, and if it is not neat then attention is being brought away from the artwork that is supposed to be sold. Overall the experience I had at LnS Gallery was one I will remember for a very long time and has given me a newfound appreciation for the business of buying and selling art.

Design District As Text

Article by Ingrid Rocha of FIU in ICA Miami
November 13, 2019

Visiting the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Miami was one of the greatest artistic encounters I have had. I had the privilege of being able to see world famous Yayoi Kusama’s “All The Eternal Love I Have For Pumpkins” (2016). Kusama has been creating and exhibiting exhibitions which include reflective surfaces, lights, and bold colors since 1965. This piece of artwork includes two of Kusama’s favorite and most iconic symbols- polka dots and pumpkins. When I entered the installation, I was immediately overcome with a sense of awe for the artwork I was witnessing. The bright lights from the pumpkins and the mirrors all around me made the term “infinity room” come to life. It seemed that my reflection in the mirrors would continue perpetually.

After visiting Yayoi Kusama’s infinity room I was able to see the rest of the ICA’s impressive collection of contemporary art. I was captivated by the sheer number of impressive pieces of art. Most impressive was the two floors dedicated to Sterling Ruby. Ruby has been able to construct in just two decades a body of work that is among the most influential of our time. There is no medium he hasn’t experimented with, including spray painted canvasses, works in urethane and ceramic, and soft sculptures made from textiles. My favorite art is pictured above. It features a fiberglass droplet of what I interpret as blood on top of a block pedestal. What I was most impressed with in regard to Ruby was that his artwork is open to interpretation. He does not specify a meaning for most of his artwork, and a lot of the pieces are considered having no meaning whatsoever. I believe this is a great concept because it allows more people to enjoy Ruby’s artwork in a personally meaningful way.

Miami Art as Text

Article by Ingrid Rocha of FIU at UNTITLED & Art Miami
December 4th, 2019


Through Professor John Bailly’s Art Society Conflict class I have been exposed to the art community in a way that I never thought would have been possible. I do not come from a very art-oriented family and thus never had any introduction to the art scene prior to taking this course. I feel as if my introduction to the world of art came full circle with my attendance of Art Basel, specifically the events UNTITLED and Art Miami. The first event was the eighth edition of UNTITLED which was located right on South Beach and constituted of about 126 exhibitors from 28 different countries. This wide range of exhibitors is an important aspect to consider because it is a rare occurrence that many of the countries at the fair get this kind of massive representation.

Gallery 1957 which is located in Accra, Ghana is a perfect example that may be used in order to explain why art fairs such as UNTITLED are so important to artists and galleries in the foreign market. Gallery 1957’s Director Victoria Alice Cooke was extremely gracious and enthusiastically answered all of the questions about the gallery, her line of work, and the artists and artworks featured. One of the subjects she spoke about was all of the obstacles she faces as a foreign gallery. For example, the gallery must organize more showing across the globe, much more than a usual American gallery would. This is done because it is difficult to gain exposure in Ghana without extensive representation outside of the country. Cooke also explained that a large sum of her time goes into obtaining visas for the artists she represents in order to have them attend their art showings.

One of the artists Gallery 1957 chose to represent at UNTITLED this year was Joana Choumali whose artwork called SOMETIMES I WONDER IF THEY CAN HEAR IT AS WELL (2019) is pictured above. Choumali’s artwork displays life in Côte d’Ivoire in a whimsical manner. Choumali spent much of her early professional career as a photographer, however she fell ill and was no longer able to do so. In response to her condition, Choumali began to print her photography and embroider over the images which resulted in the whimsical scene above. The reason why UNTITLED is so important is because it provides a platform for both local and foreign artists to truly show their talents in a massive unregulated industry. Without fairs such as UNTITLED, it would be very difficult for galleries such as Gallery 1957 to gain international recognition and it is very likely I would never have been introduced to the works by Joana Choumali.

Art Miami
Prima Donna by Nathalia Edenmont

The second event that I attended was Art Miami. This event held galleries that sold predominantly secondary market artwork which contrasts with UNTITLED which predominantly dealt with primary market artwork. Primary market refers to artwork coming straight from an artist’s studio by means of a gallery or contemporary art fair, most likely being sold for the first time. Secondary market refers to the resale of artworks through either private sales or auctions in which the artist usually has very little contact with the dealers or galleries. Art Miami features installations from more than 250 international galleries, many of which are selling renowned artwork by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Fernando Botero, Andy Warhol, and Keith Haring.

Pictured above is a piece of artwork from the Nancy Hoffman Gallery called Prima Donna by photographer Nathalia Edenmont. Edenmont’s art pieces are created with a team of eight to twelve people and about twelve hours to compose a shot. Edenmont’s inspiration for her photography is stemmed from what she calls the “hypocrisy that colored her upbringing.” She states that in photographs “wilting flowers bloom long after they have withered” which likens to the “ideals that were once vivid in her youth.” Edenmont is most likely alluding to her upbringing in Yalta which was formerly part of the USSR.

Art Miami is, like UNTITLED, a unique market that allows for many different types of art to be shown and sold in one location. Edenmont’s brilliant photography is shown in one gallery’s booth while across the corridor another artist’s glass-blown sculpture stood, thoroughly exemplifying Art Miami’s inclusivity of all types of art.

Bakehouse As Text

Article by Ingrid Rocha of FIU in the Bakehouse Art Complex
January 15, 2020

Photograpahy by Juan Matos

Upon visiting the Bakehouse Art Complex, I was introduced to what I have always envisioned to be what the ideal art community center would look like. A massive space in which artists of every kind would be able to create without any boundaries, all with the purpose of enhancing the community in which they reside. I had the privilege of being introduced to the Bakehouse Art Complex’s acting director, Cathy Leff. Leff was kind enough to spend quite a while discussing her plans for the Bakehouse Art Complex and answering any questions that may have been brought up. It was clear that her ultimate goal was to enrich the community that the Bakehouse Art Complex is situated in. Leff encouraged the students to visit Bakehouse simply if they need a place to study, or simply to immerse themselves in the arts. I highly recommend doing so as Bakehouse has become a location in which anyone is welcome, and they are making strides to become even more accessible to their community. Bakehouse is essentially an institution that, through supporting their community, they strive for a world in which artists abilities and values are respected and supported.

While visiting the Bakehouse Art Complex, I also had the opportunity to see the art exhibition “Between the Legible and the opaque: Approaches to an ideal in place” which is curated by artist Adler Guerrier. This exhibition explores the concept of perception. Part of the exhibition is the series of photographs above which provides an excellent example of the thematic emphasis on perception. The photographer is Juan Matos and the photographs belong to a series called “Episodios de la lucha clandestine en La Habana”. The photos, from left to right, are named “Las trenzas de Nina”, “Nina corriendo en su tutu”, and “Nina en la casa de abuelo Kiki”.

The way in which the photographer captures his subject is almost whimsical in nature which provides a sense of familiarity. It should be noted that the figure always seems to be moving away which lends to the theme of perception. The audience has no idea who the girl in the photograph is due to the fact that she is always moving or facing away, however there is a sense of familiarity to the photo that almost anyone can relate to. The fact that we do not know this girl and can barely make out her face as she gets farther and farther away directly correlates to opacity, a central theme in the exhibition. Additionally, this photograph possesses a duality about it because it also correlates to the theme of legibility due to the sense of familiarity that emanates from it. Guerrier expertly selected this collection of photographs for the exhibition as it is clear that there are various layers of perception in these art pieces, certainly “between the legible and the opaque.”

Between the Legible and the opaque: Approaches to an ideal in place” clearly supports the Bakehouse Art Complex’s mission. Bakehouse welcomes everyone and supports artists in the pursuit of making itself an institution in which the community is able to participate in and enjoy. Perception, the theme of the art exhibition, is an important part in bringing Bakehouse’s mission to fruition. Their intentions may have been shrouded, opaque, and misunderstood by many people in the community however with all the events they are promoting this supports the legibility of their mission, to be an institution which concerns itself with community.

Rubell As TExt

Article by Ingrid Rocha of FIU in Rubell Museum
January 27, 2020

Photography by Ingrid Rocha at the Rubell Museum

The Rubell Museum is a newly inaugurated private contemporary art collection belonging to Don and Mera Rubell. The Rubell’s art collection comprises of over 7,200 pieces obtained over the past 50 years, so needless to say the Rubell Museum has on display a rich selection of art by artists such as Jeff Koons, Keith Haring, Cindy Sherman, and Robert Longo. Their dedication to their mission of “searching for new art and art that has been overlooked” has truly transformed the art scene in Miami. Mera Rubell stated that she wanted to let the many voices that contribute to contemporary artwork speak to the Rubell Museum’s visitors rather than present a single narrative. This theme of open-mindedness is truly an important aspect that gives rise to the true extent in which the contemporary art world can influence society.

An example of an artist featured at the Rubell Museum is Robert Longo whose artwork “Men Trapped in Ice” is pictured above. Longo is one of the many artists who the Rubell’s supported at the beginning of their art careers and gave them the vote of confidence to continue making meaningful pieces. This piece in particular is important to highlight as it is the first work Longo created in his “Men in the Cities” series so it marks an important starting point for the artist himself. Interesting about this piece is the duality in question of whether the men pictured, whom were modeled after Longo’s friends, were dancing or dying. This very duality is also what spurred Longo on to keep adding and creating to the series that became so pivotal in his career, “Men in the Cities.” It is important to recall the Rubell’s mission, to let the voices of contemporary artwork speak for itself. I believe “Men Trapped in Ice” is a great example of this concept because, as the artist himself stated, there is a duality about this piece that must be studied, and the conclusion can only be made by the beholder. I, for one, believe they are dancing.

MDC Printmaking as Text

Article by Ingrid Rocha of FIU in Miami Dade College
February 12, 2020

Professor Jennifer Basile, of Miami Dade College, was kind enough to share with Professor John Bailly’s class her talent and passion for printmaking. Pictured above is Professor Basile demonstrating one of the many steps in printmaking, mixing and softening the ink. We had the privilege of taking a hands-on approach to printmaking, specifically the creation of a black and white monoprint. Professor Basile began the teaching session but providing us with examples of different monoprints and demonstrating the entire process form beginning to end. From the lying out of ink to the pressing of the created image from plexi-glass to printmaking paper, the entire process was explained in amazing detail.

The most pivotal part of this experience was the fact that Professor Basile opened up her classroom to us and allowed us to use her equipment to make our own monoprints. This was extremely important to me in particular because it made art accessible even though I do not particularly consider myself an “artistic” person. The atmosphere in the classroom was joyful as students occupied themselves with experiencing the new and stimulating activities. It was an especially liberating and freeing environment that allowed me to break away from my normally rigid and monotonous daily life. Learning new things, even if they’re outside of your comfort zone, is extremely important in shaping a student into a more well-rounded individual. This is precisely what occurred in Professor Basile’s classroom, without a doubt every student there that day gained experience and insight into an important and sometimes overlooked aspect of art society.

Deering Estate As Text

Article by Ingrid Rocha of FIU in Deering Estate
March 23, 2020
Photography by Keith Anthony Ng

Photo by Keith Anthony Ng

Upon visiting the Deering Estate for the second time, I was able to truly appreciate the entirety of what the institution has to offer. My first visit comprised of visiting the Tequesta Native American burial mound and the Paleo-Indian burial site. This was an extremely valuable experience because I was able to gain insight into Miami’s eventful past, as well as an appreciation for its lush vegetation. My second visit to the Deering Estate provided me with an entirely different experience. I was able to learn about the man who started it all, Charles Deering.

Charles Deering was a chairman of the International Harvester Company from Chicago which enabled him to move to Miami and build the now historic Deering Estate. The Deering Estate has a visitor’s center and two important landmarks, the Richmond Cottage and the Stone House. The Richmond Cottage in particular is very important because it is the last house that remains from a town known as Cutler, making it one of the oldest structures in Miami-Dade County. The Stone House’s importance is derived from the very reason it was constructed, as a place dedicated to art. Charles Deering was very fascinated with art which led him to fill the dance hall within the Stone House with various pieces of artwork.

During my second visit to the Deering Estate I volunteered for an event that was occurring which gave me the opportunity to fully appreciate the two houses Charles Deering built. Most importantly, however, is the fact that the Deering Estate opens its doors to the public for various occasions, most of them being extremely informative to the public. These events vary from poetry readings, astronomical viewings, and even an annual Seafood Festival. These events are important because they provide to the public, both young and old, an environment in which they may learn. Institutions such as these are pivotal in today’s single-specialty society. Many people do not learn new things outside their own field of work which provides for a less well-rounded individual.

The Deering Estate’s many events touch all aspects of life which makes it a great place to learn new things. Additionally, the Deering Estate holds workshops for young students to learn outside their homes and in the outdoors. This is important in our fast-paced technological society in which many young children are becoming solely dependent on technology. It is important to see and experience the world, especially when you’re young and learning. The Deering Estate provides an ideal location for such educational purposes due to its rich history and lush flora and fauna.

Miami Beach As Text

Article by Ingrid Rocha of FIU in Miami Beach
March 30, 2020
Photography by John W. Bailly

Miami Beach: (Photo by JW Bailly CC BY 4.0)

Everyone is aware that Miami is a cultural epicenter, however not everyone knows how valid this statement is. Because Miami is so vast, it is not possible to discuss every aspect of it. Thus, the area being studied is South Beach. This is due to its diversity, rich culture, and enigmatic history. Today, South Beach is a pivotal attraction to any person visiting South Florida. It’s world-famous beaches, impressive architecture, and celebrity presence has attracted tourists for decades. However, South Beach’s development came at an environment and human cost that is typically overlooked or unknown.

Many people believe that Miami Beach was originally a desolate island with no human presence whatsoever. In reality, prior to Carl Fisher developing it, Miami Beach was already a multiracial town in which everybody knew everybody else. Not only that, but there is evidence that humans have been living on that land for over 10,000 years. The Tequesta originally inhabited the land, however, after their extinction the Seminoles, African Americans, and Afro-Bahamians lived and thrived on what is now known as Miami Beach.

It is important to recall the environmental impact Miami Beach’s ecosystem underwent due to Carl Fisher’s development. Originally, Miami Beach was a barrier island densely populated by mangroves. There were even freshwater springs that were important for the humans and creatures who lived there. Unfortunately, as Miami Beach was developed the natural springs were eradicated and habitats ripped apart due to the destruction of the mangroves, which sustained marine life.

It is clear that prior to being developed Miami Beach was multicultural, however it’s important to highlight some of the pivotal centers that now make Miami Beach such a cultural epicenter. Some of the most prominent locations that contribute towards the sustainment of culture are the Jewish Museum of Florida, The Betsy Poetry Rail, and The Wolfsonian. These are all centers of culture located in South Beach, in which people may go to learn and expand their views of the world to become more well-rounded individuals.

The Jewish Museum of Florida holds great importance because it is the only one of its kind. The Jewish community has had a tumultuous past in South Beach due to the discrimination they received from Carl Fischer and Henry Flagler. Despite this, the Jewish community in Miami Beach is very large today which is why the Jewish Museum of Florida is so important. The museum puts on display and discusses over 250 years of Jewish history, specifically in Florida.

Similar to The Jewish Museum of Florida is the Wolfsonian. The Wolfsonian is a museum dedicated to illustrating how art and design can be persuasive. This is done throu9gh the depiction of the social, political, and technological changes that have transformed the world. For example, the Industrial Revolution is one of the themes explored through the artifacts in the museum. The Wolfsonian is very unique in nature and has diverse artwork that caters to a large audience. Additionally, there is an exhibit within the Wolfsonian that discusses Cuban culture. There is a large community of Cubans in South Florida, so it is important that they are represented, and the Wolfsonian does just that.

The Betsy Poetry Rail is also an important contributor to the powerful cultural scene in South Beach. The Betsy Poetry Rail shows avid support of the arts by inviting poets, such as Richard Blanco, to be represented by showcasing their poems. Poetry is often overlooked; however, it is an important aspect of culture. It enables people to feel emotions, relate to others, and find a home for themselves when they feel out of place.

Needless to say, locations such as those mentioned above are important for a society to grow and develop. Without a cultural basis a city is just a city, replicable and unimportant. The fact that Miami Beach has stayed relevant is a result of all the art, music, literature, and history that fills the streets with tourists.


Author: miamiastext

Admin Account for Miami in Miami

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