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Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Lost Spaces and Stories of Vizcaya
May 2016 - October 2017

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    Vizcaya Museum and Gardens presented Lost Spaces and Stories of Vizcaya, a two-part exhibition on view from May 2016 through October 2017, in conjunction with Vizcaya’s centennial.

    The inspiration for the exhibition is closely tied to Vizcaya’s history, as the property has traditionally been home to commissioned work by contemporary artists. While we know much about the estate’s history, many of Vizcaya’s compelling spaces and stories have disappeared. Lost Spaces showcased installations in and around the Main House and gardens that aim to bring these lost spaces and stories “back to life.”

    Lost Spaces features original installations by eleven contemporary South Florida artists or collaborative teams commissioned through Vizcaya’s Contemporary Arts Program (CAP). The installations all commented on historical elements of the estate, whether physical or narrative, that have been lost to time. The artists included Duane Brant, Brookhart Jonquil, Amanda Keeley, Juraj Kojs, Mira Lehr and Yara Travieso, Lucinda Linderman, Kerry Phillips, Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, David Rohn, Magnus Sigurdarson and Frances Trombly.

    Phase I of Lost Spaces were on view through October 2017 and featured projects that relate to Vizcaya’s Moat, Map Racks, Staff Life and Lost Decorated Rooms. Phase II, on view from November 2016 through October 2017, focused on four recreational spaces and highlight elements of Vizcaya’s original design intent that no longer exist. These included the Casba, South Property, the Casino and Basement Recreational Rooms. The Casba is a small, exotic pavilion that was originally part of Vizcaya’s southern gardens and is now on the grounds of the Archdiocese of Miami.

    Commissioned artists and their works for Lost Spaces included:

    Phase I
    Juraj Kojs’ Moat of Sound presented a soundscape of in the historic Moat that runs below Vizcaya’s ticket booth. Also in the Moat, Duane Brant introduced a minimal “white stripe” to indicate the extent of the space. Lucinda Linderman produced a series of soft felted maps depicting South Florida in the 1920s, now and 50 years from now, thus referencing the original function of the now-empty Map Racks in the Main House. David Rohn produced portraits of former staff, placing them in the spaces they would have served. Frances Trombly designed pulls for the historic bell pulls that summoned staff throughout the Main House. Amanda Keeley’s installation featured a neon sign translating the Latin quote on the east façade of the Main House, “Accept the gift of pleasure when it is given. Put serious things aside.” Magnus Sigurdarson created a telenovela alluding to the stories that in the Enclosed Loggia and East Loggia might have witnessed. These are two spaces whose furnishings are no longer on display.

    Phase II
    Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova’s piece created a reference to the Casba that appears as either unfinished or deconstructed, depending on the viewer’s perspective. Mira Lehr and Yara Travieso’s installation personified Vizcaya as Queen Dido, the first queen of Carthage according to ancient Greek and Roman writers. Their work was activated through performances, and evoking the exotic wildlife that once existed on the South Property. Kerry Phillips created an installation for the winding white marble staircase in the Shop and Café area that once served as quick access for Deering and his guests from the East Loggia to the recreational rooms. The project consisted of found furniture installed with a sense of movement suggesting that the pieces are rushing down the stairs. Brookhart Jonquil developed a piece for the two rooms in the Casino, or small house, on the Garden Mound. This piece focused on the original fixtures in the rooms, while using architecture and light as a bridge between the physical and immaterial. His work also speculatively referenced the daily activities that might have taken place in those spaces.