Every day, sometimes in small crowds, onlookers approach a fence demarcating a vacant plot of land, a rectangle of brown dirt sandwiched between high-rise apartment buildings downtown. Just a few steps from the whirring Metromover, they raise their phones to chest level and snap pictures, often making sure their own face is included in the shot.
The object of fascination? A limousine, near the foreground of the lot, vertical and half sticking out of the dirt as if dropped from the sky. What the hell?
Turns out it's an art project.
"I want Limo to be like a psychological prism that refracts our perception across the surrounding landscape and city," Nate Page, the artist behind the work, tells New Times in an email interview. "I want to use the limo to pull into consideration everything that is going on around it regarding architecture, movement, and landscape at that location."
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Page has degrees from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and the California Institute of the Arts. His past work has included other large, eye-opening displays, such as full-size gymnasium bleachers made from old couches and monochromatic bookshelves of hundreds of similarly shaded tomes.
Page visited Miami in April aiming to do a project. As he looked at sites, he was drawn to the downtown construction boom, with its changing skyline. The vacant lot, on NE Second Street between NE Second and NE First avenues, was donated by Aria Development.
"I thought a lot about the history of Miami as a sort of fantasy resort town and the American dream in general," Page says of his inspiration. "I thought of a stretch limo as a contemporary symbol of how the American dream doesn't necessarily die, as I've been reading about since I was an art school student, but it reinvents itself, it mutates and continues stretching forward somehow and is more akin to a rental economy than one of ownership."
The reaction, the artist says, has been encouraging: "As we were finishing the installation, every 30 seconds there was someone new walking, driving, or shouting down from a balcony, asking questions and taking pictures."