Tagged: Miami

Calendar. 11.04.08.


Zoe Strauss. (Image courtesy of WCB.)

Two must-see Miami museums (and one cemetery).

Elian Gonzalez House
Detail of a painting in the entry foyer at the Elián González House.

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.

Elian Gonzalez's bedroom

Elián’s old bedroom.

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A narchitecture tour of Miami.

The architectural cognoscenti have long hailed Miami for its treasure trove of Modernist and Art Deco buildings. But like Los Angeles, Tijuana and the outskirts of Cali, Colombia, the city is also home to a flourishing, lesser-known school of 20th century architecture known as “narchitecture”—buildings that look as if they were commissioned by drug dealers. (For the record: it is my esteemed colleague, Rosa Lowinger, who baptized this important, if unheralded, movement.)

Narchitecture is the pit bull of architecture. It grabs you by the (eye) balls and doesn’t let go, marrying a bevy of Mediterranean styles—neo-Classical, Spanish Revival and Fascist—with the vernacular American school known as Contemporary McMansion. The structures are big, overly-decorous and unabashedly gaudy, and, in their placement, show a complete disregard for their environment. The style veers heavily towards the monumental and its decorative motifs include Spanish tile, Roman-style arches and lots and lots of Italianate columns. It is an architecture that says, “Look at me. But don’t ask what I do.”

If you’re in town for Art Basel, don’t miss an opportunity to get on a boat and see Miami’s many fine examples of residential narchitecture.

Herewith, a visual tour (click on the photos to view them large):

Big Narchitecture
Make it big: What narco would be caught dead in a simple, five-room cottage? In narchitecture, size definitely matters.

You can never have too many columns.
Narchitecture takes facets of Classical architecture and pumps up the volume. Why let just one Corinthian column do the job when you can have clusters of four?

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The Digest.

Spencer Tunick

Photo of a Spencer Tunick installation by An Pu Ruo

Posted by C-Monster