Redescubrimiento de Miami (Part 1 of 5): Art Scene writer Victoria Casal has returned from a summer in Miami, a place where she spent her much of her youth. This article series is a short memoir in which she recounts her rediscovery – and reconsideration – of Miami’s cultural merits.

Although I’ve had many people agree with me over the years that Miami is a shithole, I now come to recognize that MIA is not as incompetent as I thought. Surprisingly enough, not everything is about Britto, reggaeton, bad driving and rude people. There is actually a vast world of redeeming art, music, food and social scenes. Let me persuade you with a series of short articles covering the arts, restaurants, venues, bars, and film culture in the Miami area.

Today’s topic will cover the arts. If you are not that familiar with Miami as a city, you might be thinking of a place where the old folks go to retire and that the art scene here consists of a bunch of rich retired people going to galleries and dropping mad cash on some kitschy, uninteresting painting. Not the case! The most impressive of all Miami entertainment is the local art scene. Art in Miami is like Fashion in New York – top of the line. The Miami art scene has become bigger than the SoBe nightlife and there are many reasons why.

Wynwood District

The Wynwood area is located in the heart of downtown Miami. It is the home of a monthly ArtWalk (second weekend of every month), in which local art galleries, local artists and ateliers from the area open their doors and let the public inside the work space. It is a night of pure magic- there are street performers, music, as well as, of course, proficient works of art. The food trucks make their rounds too: Ms. Cheezious, gastroPod, Porkalicious, Jefe’s FishTacos.The Wynwood restaurants and taverns open their doors to showcase their fine foods and drinks for low price and even for free of charge in some occasions.

A couple years ago Brasky took a tour of the amazing graffiti art in Miami. These murals are a huge part of the Wynwood art district; famous artists such as Shepard Fairey left their marks on the walls of Wynwood for all to see. The level of artistry and innovation in these murals compares to the street artwork seen in NY, London,and Paris. The city offers guided bike & moped tours to explore and experience these murals in a fun and social way.Visit this website to look at the various galleries, ateliers and artist studios in the Wynwood area.

Art Basel

Art Basel is one of the biggest art showcases in the U.S. Founded in the 70’s by a gallerist collective, Art Basel displays the very best and upcoming performance art, public art projects and video art – as well as hosting mind stimulating seminars and press conferences. Of course, it doesn’t compare to the Venice or Whitney Biennial but it is pretty close to being of equal caliber. The great thing about Art Basel is that during and before the main event there are a lot of parties, special events,celebrity appearances, and music events going on. You can read about some cool events from last year’s Festivities here.


Art Museums

Prefer to beat the heat when exploring art? Escape to the indoors at one of these recommended museums:

  • Miami Art Museum -Geared towards 20th-21st century works, MAM conjoins works by artists from Latin America (including the Caribbean), North America, Africa and some but not usual appearances by European artists, in order to put together exhibitions that question, and further explore the present cultural history.
  • Bass Museum of Art – Both historical and contemporary art collections can be found here. The current exhibitions cater to the the lovers of Egyptian and religious works within a cultural context. The upcoming exhibitions in late August turn to the 21st and 20th century, within these exhibitions we can find the thought provoking work of John Cage.
  • Museum of Contemporary Art – With a shared permanent collection with The Tate Modern in London, MoCA serves up to the more learned, and avid readers of complex Contemporary artworks. Exhibitions rarely include ordinary canvas works, they rather present us with dynamic arrangements of sculpture, LCD monitors, projectors and human performances.
  • World Erotic Art Museum – Located at the heart of Miami Beach, WEAM showcases one of the largest and more unique private collections of erotic art. Mediums include tapestry, sculptures, historical artifacts, paintings and memorabilia. Collection time-frame extends as early on as 17th century Rembrandt etchings to the iconic 20th century gay posters by Tom of Findland.
  • Lowe Art Museum – LAM is the main campus museum at the University of Miami. This modern gallery does not only serve up to the yearly MFA graduation exhibition, it is also a dynamic space that showcases works by contemporary international artists (Asia, Central America, amongst others) and national artists (such as Chirsto and Jeanne Claude and Stephen Knapp) as well as historical artifacts from the Lowe’s vast and varied permanent collection.
  • Patricia and Philip Frost Art Museum – This young gallery space, with a long and reputable history, is located at the heart of the main Florida International University campus. With an affiliation with the Smithsonian and connections with many prestigious institutions in Latin America, FAM presents FIU students+visitors with varied works that represent these major connections. Apart from showcasing relevant art, the FAM staff hosts artist talks and and a weekly event called Wednesdays after hours, where relevant art , film and music are discussed.

Current Exhibits to Check Out

Art@Work presents “El Beso” by Amelia Caputo

Opening Reception: August 24th, 2012 7:00-9:00pm. Runs from August 17th through October 4th, 2012. “The exhibition El beso showcases a seminal photo installation piece representative of this time period. El beso, 1994-95, is a visual representation of that vulnerable space of the act of devouring, confidence, and the passage between the outer and known to the inner and unknown places that the mouth represents.”–MAG

Transcultural Pilgrim: Three Decades of work by Jose Badia at Miami Art Museum

Runs from May 25th to September 2nd, 2012. “The exhibition, consisting of 35 works including works on paper and canvas and two large-scale installations, explores Bedia’s ancestral genealogy (Cuba) and his constructed genealogy in the “other” Americas—the indigenous communities where this transcultural pilgrim has found so much deeply personal material for his spiritual and artistic practices.”–MAM

“UNNATURAL” an exhibition curated by art historian and critic Tami Katz-Freiman at the Bass Museum of Art

Runs from September 9, 2012 – November 4, 2012. “UNNATURAL will present scientific, romantic, conceptual, poetic, sensual and ecological conceptions of nature through a variety of strategies that reflect advances in technology in the twenty-first century. The works in the exhibition question conventional means and methods of representing the natural world and metaphorically embody both the paradoxical longing to fuse with nature and the threat embedded in such fusion.” –BMA

Up Next (Part 2 of 5): Dining

Next up I will be talking about something everyone can appreciate: food. From local secrets to renowned restaurants, anticipate a generous serving of culinary cues.

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