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BEST LOCAL ARTIST Miami 2004 - Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt

Their five-tiered, twelve-foot-tall House of Cards, inhabited by humanoid dummies, was a big hit at Miami Art Museum. This artistic duo also deserves credit for a shack they never built. They had planned to construct Casa del Pirata on a wall of the historic La Caba?a fortress using boards they had hoped to find in Cuba. "A sort of romantic monument to individuality and courage, misfortune, and hope," Behar says. "Maybe the house implies a shipwreck, the search for a treasure, or a story of love and betrayal." Maybe a little too pointed for paranoid government curators afraid that a dummy of the dreaded dictator as buccaneer would appear. They nixed the project, citing rules against tampering with the fort's infrastructure. Yeah, right. Meanwhile authorities in Brussels let the Argentine couple play with the façade of the Centre International pour la Ville, l'Architecture et le Paysage. For a work called The Mask, they draped a beautiful rainbow spectrum of 40-foot-long plastic streamers from the roof of the sullen brown brick museum to the sidewalk, forcing people to penetrate the strips to enter the building. R & R's surreal outdoor living room has long been a Design District icon. They're currently plotting to transform Monument Island into The Star of Miami, a huge painting visible from jets landing at MIA. See some of their works at Placemaker Gallery (3852 N. Miami Ave.) in the Design District and you'll see what we mean.

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