Best Museum (2000)

The Wolfsonian-FIU

In a city whose international image is often, and sometimes wrongly, drawn by hypesters peddling simplistic images of hot-pink flamingos, drag queens, scheming thugs, and hysterical politicians, it is somehow not surprising to find that the best museum in town is a South Beach warehouse packed full of the fruits of one local rich-guy-collector's aggressive, Deco-tinged whimsy. Indeed at Micky Wolfson's Wolfsonian, the twelve-inch torpedo cigarette lighter sits not far from the obelisk celebrating the signing of the Uruguayan constitution, which is itself only a few steps from a poster circa 1938 celebrating "Modern German Architecture." The place is so charming it will surprise you at first, rattling your sense of humor and making you smile before you realize it is a rich and scholarly collection of grace and strength. It's a serious museum that focuses on international art, design, and propaganda during the period 1885-1945. But it's also a lot of fun, and that's practically un-American. More like South Floridian. More Miamian. (Note to the fellas: Ask the guards on the sixth floor to show you the giraffes and monkeys on display in the ladies' room; they'll escort you in.)


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