You’ve popped into the Jorge Pardo show at MoCA, you’ve zipped through the Herzog & De Meuron exhibit at MAM, not to mention the 40-plus galleries in Wynwood. But if you think you’ve seen everything there is to see of Miami’s institutional culture, you are sorely mistaken. A short drive out of the Bermuda Art Triangle, to Little Havana, will take you to three exhibits that are not only fascinating, but have the added benefit of highlighting some of the most spectacular bottom-of-the-barrel episodes in the history of U.S.-Latin America relations. Do not leave Miami without a visit to the Elían González House, the Bay of Pigs Museum, and Woodlawn Park Cemetery & Mausoleum, where you can deposit flowers at the graves of both Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza and Cuban tyrant Gerardo Machado. You want travels in hyper-reality? This is it.
Stop #1: The Elián González House.
Yes. You can visit it.
Conveniently situated around the corner from the always-bustling Islas Canarias Cuban restaurant (don’t miss the mariquitas with mojo de ajo), the museum is situated in the actual house where the six-year-old Elián lived during his four-month stay in the United States in 2000. The four-room cottage is a monument to Elián, containing a copious number of photocollages of the young boy, as well as the complete collection of his wardrobe and toys. The museum, which charges no admission but accepts donations, is run by Elián’s great uncle Delfín, who obligingly shares first-hand stories about the whole sordid drama.
Elián’s old bedroom.