The De La Cruz collection reflects the soul of the Design district area of Miami.The collection, a Gift to the city of Miami from Rosa e Carlo De la Cruz, is a 30,000 square foot structure.. The collection is located on three floors, each of them with their own curatorial flair with both permanent and rotating exhibits.
John Marquette, an architect who works for Vitra in Miami, designed the space.It is located close to Design Miami president Craig Robin’s headquarters, Dacra. The company Dacra played an integral role in revitalising Miami’s South Beach and Wynwood, the design district.
The collectors define the museum as a public and cultural space, open and free of charge for everybody, because, as Rosa says, Art has to be public, private doesn’t exist with Art . In addition to being a free space, the museum is equipped with a library, scholarship programs, workshops, residency programs and a project room for local artists. The museum is also famous for having a blank and anonymous billboard for any artist to use.
Rosa and Carlo De La Cruz are Cuban exiles who left after the Berlin wall was built in Germany. They feared Cuba might also be divided and that they too could be stuck forever in political turmoil.
Rosa and Carlo De La Cruz started collecting 25 years ago and have now become some of the most important art collectors in the world and some of the most influential cultural business owners in Miami. Their art collection rivals the collections of many museums.
Before building the contemporary art space in 2009, Rosa and Carlo opened their Key Biscayne mansion to the public for years until they felt the urge to create a permanent art space. One year, over 1,000 uninvited guests tried to crash their annual gala!
Rosa is the definition of a Renaissance woman. She is devoted to art, education, and has a strong philanthropic side. She always fought with passion for the art community and entered a partnership that could benefit the local art and design school. In 2001, she and Craig Robbins created The Moore Space, a non-profit organization in the historic 1920’s Moore Furniture Company building.
The Moore Center was an experimental program of cross-disciplinary exhibitions and performances, displaying artists like Yang Fudong , Jhonatan Monk , E flux, The kitchen, Joan Jonas, and John Bock to name a few. It later became a traveling exhibition and was shown in the Berlin KW Center for Contemporary Art.
Rosa’s strong arts background and her work with curators like Hans-Ulrich Obrist helped influence her approach in choosing items for the collection.
She makes all her art decisions with her husband and it is a well-known fact that Carlos likes paintings while she prefers projects and performance art.
The first floor is devoted to light.
When entering the ground floor, the viewer is surprised by a stunning curtain of glass window that faces north and that immediately gives a sense of magnificence, light and space.
One of the main goals for the architect was to find a way to capture the light of Miami through the glass without overwhelming the artworks, but by creating an interaction with them instead.
Many powerful contemporary blue chip artists fill the room. Several sculptures by Thomas Houseago face the shimmering window. A huge black and white Wayde Guyton hangs on the wall across from a Gonzales Torres light bulb chandelier rope that cascades from the roof to the floor. A Rashid Johnson mirror and carpets continue the dialogue light, soft colors. Last but not least, a Christopher Wool abstract spray-painted piece rests on a wall. All of the artwork in the room seems to struggle for abstraction and question the idea of art and painting.
In another room on the ground floor, there are several Rudolf Stingel monochromatic wallpapers, Nate Lowman exhibits his bullet hole piece and another one called “Swiss Cheese”, made from a drop cloth complete with dirt, footprints and stains. There are also some magnificent Dan Colen studded encrusted paintings.
The second floor is an explosion of color.
The space is filled by artworks and by a space called the sculpture garden, a platform that faces the window with several Grotjahn bronze sculptures displayed.
There are many artists’ works displayed on second floor including: Adam Mc Ewen sculptures, an Alex Katz oil on linen called “Hope”, works by Seth Price, and Nate Lowman’s Julia Roberts portrait. There are more works by Kathryn Andrews, Fredrik Vaerslev, Jacob Kassay, Rashid Johnson, Tauer Auerbach and Kelley Walker. There is also a geometric site-specific work by Aaron Curry.
I am instantly brought to attention by the installation with the signature of artistic team Guyton/Walker i.e. Wayde Guyton (Hammond, USA, 1972) and Kelley Walker, (Columbus, USA, 1969) . It reminds me of the installation I first saw at Venice Biennale in 2009.
The artwork is pays homage to Pop Art, Warhol and Lichtenstein. It’s a mix among silkscreen, inkjet, and hand painting on drywall, canvas and cans.Another predominantly displayed artist on the second floor is Rob Pruitt. His glittery panda paintings from his Pattern and Degradation series and his colored tires filled of mini panda erasers take over the space.
The third floor is on permanent view. It expresses the themes of memory, morality, fragility, romance and death. It pays homage to Cuban exile Felix Gonzales-Torres, who has been friends with the collectors until his death.
Rosa De la Cruz was Torres’ patron. She supported his monumental billboard project in NYC and still promotes his work.
Among some of Torres’ work displayed here there is Somewhere better than this place/Nowhere better than this place, (1989-90). Two stacks of white paper sit alongside one another with longings for a place that ceases to exist. There is also a beautiful Untitled portrait of his father made of white mint candles and it is also the same weight of his deceased father. Both works invite the viewer to take a piece and be an active participant in the creation, and loss, of the artwork itself.
Jim Hodges, curator of the exhibition space, showcases A Diary of Flower-Above the clouds 1992-1993 which portrays flowers drawn on cheap restaurant napkins. There is also, No Betweens (1996), a curtain of flowers that gently fades on the pavement. One gets the sense that something could dissolve or flutter of the artwork at any moment.
Mexican Gabriel Orozco shows, Ping pond table (1998), a lily pond with four hemispherical ping-pong table pieces arranged in a clover shape. It is a metaphor about transience through both time and place.
Along with Torres, Hodges and Orozco, there’s a room dedicated to Cuban exile, Ana Mendieta who tragically died from falling off the 34th floor of a Greenwich village apartment in NY. Ana Mendieta was a performer best known for her body artwork. Some of her video, drawing and sculpture work are in the exhibition.
Fiammetta De Michele