June 2010, Volume 14, Number 3

Cultural Spotlight

A cornucopia of art

In nine venues across Miami, including seven at MDC’s campuses, Miami Dade College’s Art Gallery System (AGS) produced, presented and installed 1,265 artworks in 33 exhibitions by 236 artists this year. This impressive endeavor drew the attention of Art in America magazine, which reviewed the MDC/AGS exhibitions in its February and March issues.

"MDC/AGS is becoming a leading public gallery program devoted to the art of our time and a high profile center for contemporary art in Miami and the Americas," said AGS director Jorge Gutiérrez.

The season opened with Under a Brilliant Sun: Cundo Bermúdez Into the 21st Century, which was supported by Bank of America and organized by MDC/AGS in collaboration with the Cundo Bermúdez Foundation. Showcasing more than 80 paintings, drawings and sculptures by this key innovator of modernist Latin American art, this exhibit also showed the significant role Bermúdez played in the history of Cuban art.

In the fall, Abraham Lincoln’s life and work was the focus of Lincoln, Miami and the American Dream, which included free events and an exhibit at MDC’s Freedom Tower. Also on display was Giambologna and His Followers, celebrating the 16th century Italian sculptor’s genius.

MDC shines during Art Basel

When Art Basel swept through Miami with its beautiful storm of color, texture and shapes, MDC/AGS made its presence known with Get Ready, the first MDC faculty, alumni and student exhibition presented in Wynwood. At the same time, two photo exhibits were on display: Tetralogy, by María Martínez-Cañas, and Josef Koudelka’s groundbreaking Invasion 68 Prague, documenting the invasion of the city of Prague in 1968.

Stepping back in time nearly 3,000 years, Etruscans in Latium included an interactive Etruscan tomb recreation and treasures from this enigmatic civilization whose advanced culture paved the way for the grandeur of Ancient Rome. This exhibition was made possible by the Port of Rome and the Ministry of Culture of Italy.

Students learn gallery management

AGS’ numerous exhibits not only brought great art to Miami, they also played a vital role in the College’s education programs.

"The opportunity for our students to have a structured museum experience along with their formal education not only enhances their spiritual growth but their academic development as well," Gutiérrez said.

As part of the Gallery Management Series, 16 students received basic training in exhibition preparation and art handling in the colleges’ galleries at the Wolfson, Kendall and North campuses.

"We are proud of the extraordinary success of the past year," Gutiérrez added. "Attendance at the MDC/AGS broke previous records, which indicates a wonderful increase in the level of engagement with students, faculty, general audience, contemporary art and artists."

While teaching students lessons about the art of gallery management, some exhibits also teach painful lessons about the world in which we live. In exhibition throughout the summer at MDC’s Freedom Tower is Instruments of Torture Through the Ages, which is on loan from the Museo Toscana in Italy. Offering a historical retrospective about practices condemned by most civilized countries, the exhibit features nearly a hundred instruments designed for torture and executions. Its goal is to draw attention to contemporary human rights issues around the world.

"We are proud to be interlocutors in this great discourse about the art and ideas of our time,’’ Gutiérrez said. "We look forward to another year of presenting and investigating provocative work by the most compelling artists of today."

— HP

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