Right in the middle of the sidewalk behind the Miami Art Museum sits a 15,000-pound block of granite. Afternoon shoppers and downtown workers rushing to lunch stop dead in their tracks, staring at the tombstone-esque block inscribed on both sides with the word Centrust. For anyone who survived the '80s in Miami, the word conjures a rich memory of financial malfeasance. The stone once stood in front of the 47-story Miami Tower, Centrust's home until the bank imploded amid the national savings-and-loan scandal. George Sánchez-Calderón's readymade sculpture is part of a 305-centric exhibit marking MAM's swan song before relocating to its new building on Biscayne Bay next fall. Associate curators Rene Morales and Diana Nawi put the exhibit together not only to showcase local artists but also to explore the city's history and its psychological peculiarities. To that end, Morales and Nawi invited Consuelo Castañeda and Emmett Moore, two of the 11 artists featured at MAM, to design an immersive environment inside the museum's plaza-level gallery. The pair responded by building vibrant platforms for the other artists' works: soaring Palladian archways, walls covered in green plastic ivy and painted the pastel hues typical of SoBe's art deco hotels, and a sprawling paved stone floor. Inside the main gallery space, a sweeping installation by Castañeda rises floor to ceiling against a corner wall. The Cuban-born artist's New Work Miami 2013 Resource Center features lofty, custom-made wallpaper depicting the Tower of Babel as painted by 16th-century Flemish master Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Beneath the impressive image — which mirrors Miami's multicultural cacophony and dizzying information excess — Castañeda created a modular bench and shelf area where visitors are invited to sit and interact with her work.
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