Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado Tries Some Art Criticism

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Mayor Tomas Regalado stands in the lobby of the

intercontinental hotel and stares up at an off-white marble sculpture that

resembles a skewed donut hole surrounded by folds.

"You have to say it's pretty," the mayor says. "But I

don't get it."

The sculpture by Uruguayan artist Pablo Atchugarry is

one of 17 works displayed in the hotel lobby as part of Miami Sculpture

Biennale, curated by local poet and Latin American art expert Ricardo

Pau-Llosa. Outside another 47 sculptures line Bayfront Park along Biscayne


It's a crisp fall Thursday afternoon, and the mayor,

along with some 50 aids, artists and art fans, takes a leisurely stroll to view

the chosen works. It's a perfect chance to glimpse Regalado's art tastes, so we

tag along.

The mayor stops in front of a traditional, realistically

rendered sculpture by Italian Sandro Chia, widely considered Italy's greatest

living artist. The sculpture depicts a man carrying another man on his

shoulders. It's clearly Regalado's favorite.

"It looks real," Regalado says. "I like to see things

realistically. It looks so sad and dramatic. It's impressive."

Down the road is a teetering tower of tea cups topped by

a black kettle.

"This one was controversial," the mayor says, and he

tells the story of how developer Mas Vidal bought the artwork with money

earmarked for a HUD housing development.

"That could be Miami," Regalado says, staring up at the

dizzying tower. "The cups, the coffee and the balancing of all the


The mayor stops to pose in front of a silver sculpture

Englishman Richard Hudson that's all curves. No head, just sensuous luscious

waves of silvery flesh.

"We know that's Marilyn Monroe," the Mayor proclaims,

"even if we don't see the face."


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