Matthew Haimes: Miami as Text 2019-2020

 My name is Matthew Haimes, I am a sophomore currently attending Florida International University and I am majoring in pure mathematics, although previously I was majoring in bio-chemistry, hoping to be an orthopedic surgeon. Once I realized though that I do not particularly enjoy the concepts behind such a profession, I quickly switched to mathematics to explore what I really enjoyed doing. Because of my love with critical thinking, I always enjoy analyzing and deducing the meaning behind different types of art. My family owns many pieces of fine art which we have placed all around our home, and I have visited many landmarks and museums such as the Louvre, Buckingham Palace, Versailles and the Vatican. I am excited to see more art throughout this class and have the opportunity to learn the meaning behind each piece.

Norton As Text

Painting: Diana and Actaeon with Pan and Syrinx
Painter: Valerio Castello

The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida showcases many fantastic pieces of artwork ranging from before the renaissance and up until modern art. Just as you walk in you can tell that this is a class establishment and takes itself very seriously. They have different floors which showcase an excess of amazing works. In particular, I would like to focus on my favorite painting at this museum, Diana and Actaeon with Pan and Syrinx.

This painting was created by Valerio Castello during the Baroque period, and as soon as it caught my eye, it did not let go. This painting depicts a very theatrical scene of the goddess Artemis turning the hunter Actaeon into a deer which results in his own dogs chasing him down and killing him. In this painting you can see the great amount of effort that went into lighting to make the piece look as realistic and three-dimensional as possible. The painting gives a strong feeling of humanity, but the poses they make are odd and if you try to re-create them then you can realize just how contorted their bodies are. Overall the story of the event and the depiction of the event by Castello gives this painting a feeling of commiseration for Actaeon and because of this it is a great piece of art.

The Deering Estate As Text

Picture: Tree overhanging ancient Tequesta burial mound

The Deering Estate is a fantastic architectural and historical masterpiece. From the buildings with a combination of Arabic and Spanish architectural influence, to the restored natural environment surrounding the estate, this destination is truly one of the most astounding areas in south Florida. This area has been influenced by humans for over ten-thousand years, and there is an archaeological site off the estate that shows clear evidence of the existence of Paleo-Indians around this time period. Surrounding the estate, you can see that the Tequesta Native American tribe survived in this location around five-hundred years ago. As the estate was built on the coast, there is a beautiful view of the ocean, which is noticeable as soon as you walk into the estate.

As an example, as soon as I walked into the estate and saw the view, I knew that I would never forget the experience that I would undergo that day. The first thing we did upon the start of our trip, was go see the Paleo-Indian archaeological site which I will never forget. Being able to hold a mammoth tooth that was about twenty-seven-thousand years old will be an opportunity that I will never forget. Once we got back to the estate, we began our journey to the Tequesta burial grounds. On our way to the burial site, we saw golden orb weaver spiders, which created a handful of webs in our path.

As well as that, we got the chance to see a massive solution hole which was dug into the ground by a substance only slightly more acidic than water, but enough to degrade the ground over hundreds of years. In addition, we got to see the remains of an ancient Tequesta trash mound, and even got to see the tools that they used, which were still there inside of it. We learned about the strangler tree, and its connection to spirituality and religion because of its large overhanging branches. Once we reached the burial grounds and saw the massive tree which hung over them it gave a sense of awe, that the long hike to get here was worth it. I will never forget this amazing experience and I will forever remember the Deering Estate for giving me the opportunity to see the real Miami.

Wynwood As Text

Artwork: HURMA by Magdalena Abakanowicz

The Margulies collection was the most stunning collection of contemporary art that I have ever been lucky enough to see. This site is hidden within the city and I was surprised that I hadn’t heard of it before visiting. Upon walking in I saw a multitude of breathtaking pieces of art and I couldn’t wait to have a tour of the venue. Seeing Martin Margulies made me extremely anxious because it felt as if I was seeing a giant among men. The more time that we had with him, and the further we progressed this feeling went away and was replaced with a feeling of respect for his hard work and diligence.

During the tour, I got to see some of the most fantastic art I have ever seen, and there were two sections that I will never forget. My favorite of the two was HURMA by Magdalena Abakanowicz. This exhibit is directly to the right of the entrance of the collection, and it felt powerful in not only the room that it was in, but in all the surrounding rooms as well. Seeing this piece immediately made me think of World War 2 and all the people who suffered from it. The sheer amount of the figures and the way they were made to look like prisoners gave this area a looming feeling of sorrow. Everything from the story of how the exhibit came to be and why it was made the way it was makes this one of, if not my favorite artwork of all time.

My second favorite section of the collection was the photography exhibit, where every piece of art was only a photograph. This was underwhelming at first, but after I got the chance to see what each piece represented and I was able to understand the reasoning behind them, I was left with one of my favorite ways to depict art. Hearing the story behind the hyena men, and seeing the methods to create photographs to look like paintings, was fascinating and I will be forever thankful to Mr. Margulies for being able to see this wonderful exhibit. The collection was a great experience that I will never forget, and I would recommend a visit to anyone who has not been there.

Vizcaya as Text

Picture: The Vizcaya gardens

Vizcaya was once a home to James Deering, one of the most well-known socialites of early Miami. His estate is now a museum that is open to the public for visit for a fee and is worth every cent to go. The entrance is tall gate followed by a long path surrounded by trees, which is a great introduction to what follows. Once you are admitted in, you follow a path surrounded by fountains as you make your way down to the front of the museum. The gardens are on your right just behind a European inspired triumphal arch and we went there for our introduction to the location.

As we entered the gardens, we got an amazing overlook as to what type of person James Deering was. The way the gardens plants are shaped is completely unnatural because he wanted to control life, acting like a god. You can also get a look into the secret garden which has some very beautiful architecture and an overlook with a stunning view of the rest of the garden. Towards the back of the garden you get to see the garden mound which was created for the sole purpose of keeping the light reflecting off the water away from the garden and home. Even further back you can see the native forest and shoreline which is now covered in mangroves. Next to the shoreline you can also see a secret door leading to room where people believe he would smuggle alcohol into as it was illegal at the time.

From here, we went to see the back of the house which has a clear view of the ocean being obstructed only by a ship. This ship was created with the intention to block the light from reflecting off the ocean into his eyes when he walked out onto his terrace in the morning. We then proceeded into the house and got to see how influenced the area was by colonization. Ships were every from inside of stained glass to actual replicas of ships hanging from the ceiling. The house has some of the most impressive innovation at the time such as a dumb weight to get move food and drink between the floors, and a working telephone. Between each of the rooms is a completely different type of architecture and you can analyze the patterns in them for hours. Overall, Vizcaya is fantastic piece of architecture surrounded with sculptures and paintings making it a great place to visit to enjoy many different forms of art and learn about one of the most influential people of Miami.

Design District as Text

Exhibition: All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins by Yayoi Kusama

After getting to see the De la Cruz Collection earlier this semester in the design district I was excited to see what else was offered here in terms of art, and I was not let down in the slightest. Everything from even the architecture of a garage outside to the most extraordinary art I got to see, looked and felt incredible. Upon arrival the very first thing we did was go to see Yayoi Kusama’s “All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins” and I have never seen a more jaw-dropping site than when I first stepped foot inside the exhibition. As a math major, I am not unfamiliar with the concept of infinity and as this was one of Kusama’s famous “Infinity Mirror Rooms” I had some pretty high expectations going in, and not only were my expectations shattered, but this became my single favorite piece of art that I have ever seen, even though I only saw it for one minute. I struggle to put into words how this experience felt, I have never had a feeling of awe as intense as when I saw these polka doted pumpkins that went on forever as if I stood in an endless field. If given the opportunity to see this exhibit, take it, as there is nothing that contests it.

As we moved back to see what ICA Miami offered, I was still laughing with how beautiful the Kusama exhibition was, so as I walked in to see their other exhibitions, I was taken back with everything that they still had to offer. The best of the of the other works in my opinion was “Portals” by Guadalupe Maravilla, not only because of its remarkable art style but also the story behind the piece. Hearing about how he was an undocumented immigrant as a child and the difficulties that he had to endure coming into the United States was more than humbling. Even after he had been in the U.S. for some time, he had developed even greater difficulties such as cancer and his ability to fight back the cancer and then present it in an artistic form is impressive to say the least. Altogether, seeing everything that ICA Miami had to offer was a very captivating experience that I will forever appreciate.

Miami Art as Text

Piece: St Thomas Molineaux
Artist: Godfried Donkor

The first opportunity I have ever had to see a commercial art fair was an experience itself and it was great to learn more about the business side of the art world throughout the day. The first place we visited was UNTITLED, ART Miami Beach. Before we started our journey through the different exhibitions, we were taught what a primary and secondary market is and the differences between them. We also learned that UNTITLED was a fair focused more around up-and-coming artists than anything else. The second place we would visit was Art Miami, which held pieces from very well-known and even some long-deceased artists such as Pablo Picasso. I couldn’t wait to see what I would experience that day.

As we walked up to see UNTITLED, it was not like anything I had seen before, a massive white tent obscuring a wide view of the ocean. When we walked in it felt like we were about to experience an extremely sophisticated look into the arts. There was a multitude of different pieces of different types of art and it was a joy to be able to see a very diverse accumulation of art. My favorite piece which I had got to see that day was St Thomas Molineaux by Godfried Donkor, a British-Ghanian artist. Thomas Molineaux was born a slave in Virginia in Virginia back in 1784, and he was most known for “fighting his way out of slavery” by winning a fight where the plantation owner had a $100,000 stake on his victory. Being such a fantastic and famous boxer from African-American decent, his success at the time was obviously controversial, but still he was met with an ovation in the public. What Donkor did though, was paint famous African-Americans, in a medieval style where in this particular piece you can see he has a circular halo place behind his head similar to how historic paintings would have subjects such as Jesus and mother Mary painted. As this addresses so many different topics about our society and how it’s been altered as time has proceeded makes this a fantastic piece of art.
As we moved from UNTITLED to Art Miami, I was not sure of what I would be seeing because of the difference between the two that I had been informed of, but the experience was nothing less than satisfactory. I was greatly appreciative of the opportunity that I had that day where I got to see many famous pieces of art by many different famous artists. My favorite of which was the “Girl with Balloon” by Banksy which I have seen pictures of for a very long time and it was great to see the real piece. It was a much different experience though as it was very difficult to learn about different pieces from the individual galleries because it was a market and they were much more focused on selling their art than they were about giving an explanation of the art to my class. Overall there was some of the most extraordinary pieces of art I have ever seen, and I would highly recommend a visit whenever possible to anyone who has never had the chance to see them.

Bakehouse as Text

Portion of Horizon Seam
Artist: Mette Tornerup

Seeing and hearing the plans that the Bakehouse Art Complex has in store for the art community, participating in one of the most interesting art exhibits at Emerson Dorsch, and seeing artist Alex Nunez at Fountainhead made this the most entertaining excursion through the art world thus far. Starting the day, at the Bakehouse Art Complex we learned about their mission to create affordable housing and workplaces for artists to benefit the community and culture of Miami as a whole. We also got to see artists in their own environment along with a very interesting exhibition curated by Alder Guerrier which explored legibility and opaqueness through the concept of perception. Specifically, the pieces “Las tenzas de Nina”, “Nina corriendo en su tutu”, and “Nina en la casa de abuelo Kiki” created what felt like a familial relationship with a girl who’s face you never even get to see. This speaks to the opaque as you never see the girls face and speaks to the legibility as the feeling of closeness to this girl feels palpable.

Moving on we moved to Emerson Dorsch which hosted an exhibition named “Love, Ur” by Mette Tommerup, and was easily the most fun I have had exploring the art world so far. The chance to wear the art actually made me nervous at first because it was art, it feels as though you are not even supposed to look at it too closely. Once other people started grabbing pieces and putting them on though my previous anxieties went away, and it made me feel like a kid again running around with my classmates wearing art. Mette created an atmosphere of pure enjoyment with her art and this gave me one of the most unbelievable, exciting opportunities of my life. The exhibition was created to take people back to their instincts and less so their actual sentience, and it does just that with the interactivity and amusement created from the art.

To finish the day, we got to go through Fountainhead Studios and see the environment where Mette and Alex Nunez work. Alex has a very free flowing nature to her work and makes it seem almost natural for her with her explanations of her art. Her studio was almost completely covered in pieces of her art to the point that you can visualize the hard work she has gone through to complete these pieces. Hearing her inspirations from different time-periods and Something that intrigued me with her art was that some portions were glow-in-the-dark and we had a great time viewing this when she turned off the lights. Overall the day was very exciting and seeing artists work environments was interesting as it felt as though I got to see into their thought through their work and I am very grateful for this opportunity.

Rubell as Text

Piece: 12 Square Meters
Artist: Zhang Huan

The Rubell museum was an intriguing view to be acquainted with as I was honestly not expecting their collection to be as vast as it was. When I walked in and noticed the Kusama esc pumpkins they were selling I immediately knew that I was in store for a very high-quality visit. As we entered the museum, we were lucky enough to be greeted by Mera Rubell herself, which actually made me exceedingly anxious as it felt as though I was being addressed by a living colossus. I could not hesitate to appreciate what the museum had to offer, and it did not take long until we discovered a beautiful collection of contemporary art.

This museum is one of the largest collections of art in the world and as such I was prepared for a long trip through the institution. Numerous pieces that I had seen had true emotional and moral value, one of which was “12 Square Meters” by Zhang Huan. This piece had a real meaning to me as just from initial sight, given the current epidemic of the coronavirus, it gave me a sense of urgency about the situation. The piece was made with the intent to show the living conditions of the people in the Beijing East Village which was used as Beijing’s dumping ground. The people involved have had to face far too many difficulties that no one should have to go through and I hope that they are able to recover from their situation.

Afterwards we were given the opportunity to explore the rest of the museum ourselves and I was lucky enough to experience two more Kusama exhibits that I enjoyed just as much as the “All the Eternal Love I have for the Pumpkins” at ICA Miami.  The museum had a very large variety of art and it was segmented perfectly to make every room give off its own aura. Overall this excursion was delightful, and I am very grateful for the opportunity given to us by the establishment.

MDC Printmaking as Text

This week we were given the opportunity of making our own art by the generosity of professor and artist Jennifer Basile of Miami Dade College. She was willing enough to share her workspace with my class and give many of us our first opportunity to create our own art. We were given a mini-class session just to go over what printmaking is and how the mechanisms behind the creation process work. Specifically, we were creating monotypes, which is a technique in printmaking which creates one impression. Being that I have hardly ever engaged in the artistic process myself, I was not sure what to expect for the following hours, but I was guaranteed by everyone involved that it would be exciting.

Beginning the process, I had not actually known what I wanted to make but instead I chose to focus on making a piece that I enjoyed looking at. All my focus was spent thinking of a piece that would mean something to me, as this would be something that I would create that was different from anything else in the world. One of the aspects of our lesson on printmaking which was really fun was the fact that we used anything in our environment that we needed, such as the side of a wire spool being used as a trace to cut paper into a circle. This ended up being a great experience, which I cannot express enough gratitude to professor Basile for extending this gracious opportunity to us and thank you to professor Bailly for helping make my first print.

Author: miamiastext

Admin Account for Miami in Miami

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