Tumbling Chairs

The people of Miami take a crash course in art, parks, and democracy

And that land inspires the lawyer. He is talking faster and faster now; not waiting for any questions. "I think we're in the right place. This is the most beautiful piece of property left in the city. Green spaces with a sculpture garden. Nobody can tell me this is not going to be beautiful."

Delahanty nods vigorously: "It's gonna happen."

Upstairs in the New Work gallery at MAM, there is an enormous five-tiered house of cards reaching almost to the top of the ceiling, part of an installation called "A Place in the World." A construction scaffold surrounds the pyramid, with wooden ladders leading to platforms on either side of the structure. Tiny human figures, dwarfed by the oversized playing cards, mill about. One man, asleep on a platform, appears to be dreaming. The local Argentine artists who built the installation, Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt, refer to the structure with the Spanish turn of phrase, as a "castle of cards." Who knows if the castle will stay up or fly away?

MAM senior curator Peter Boswell sees Miami in the castle of cards. "It's not clear whether [the structure] is being built or on the verge of collapse," he writes in his gallery notes. "With little historical foundation on which to build, the permanence and viability of [Miami's] lofty dreams seem continually in doubt ... It is a place, for architects and artists, where buildings have much in common with dreams."

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