Contemporary Arts Program Returns to Vizcaya

Wish Towers Installation Celebrates the Natural Environment
in Honor of Garden Centennial

 

OPENING RESCHEDULED DUE TO WEATHER:
The opening reception scheduled for November 9, 2022, was moved to December 3, 2022, due to the approach of Tropical Storm Nicole.

 

MIAMI – October 12, 2022 – Vizcaya Museum and Gardens welcomes the return of its Contemporary Arts Program (CAP). In line with the centennial of the estate’s 10-acre formal gardens, completed in 1922, this year’s exhibit–Wish Towers by Javier and Jaime Suárez Berrocal–explores how art and nature intersect at Vizcaya. The opening reception takes place on Wednesday, November 9, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. and the exhibit will be on view through April 17, 2023.

“James Deering was an avid patron of contemporary art in his day, commissioning many artists to create site-specific works for Vizcaya’ gardens, which turn 100 this year. As such, it is fitting that the return of Vizcaya’s Contemporary Arts Program revolves around an installation in the gardens and environmental sustainability,” said Joel Hoffman, Executive Director and CEO.

“I am excited to see the next phase of this initiative under our new curator, Helena Gomez.”

Vizcaya’s gardens have provided beauty and inspired a sense of wonder to visitors. This is the result of their unique location, elaborate design and natural treasures. A complement to its surroundings, Wish Towers is a modular sculpture made of fossilized coral collected from Puerto Rico’s shores. Inspired by the coral limestone used throughout Vizcaya’s construction, this local stone became the artists’ focus.

“After a four-year intermission marked by a hurricane and a global pandemic, it is incredibly exciting to resume the Contemporary Arts Program with Jaime and Javier Suárez’s poignant piece,” noted Helena Gomez, Vizcaya’s Curator.

“Honoring our garden’s history and design, the Suárez brother’s towering and awe-inspiring installation brings awareness of Vizcaya’s climate-vulnerable location and invites collective participation to care for the environment in which we live.”

Twin brothers Jaime and Javier Suárez Berrocal were brought up in Puerto Rico where they were exposed to ceramics, woodworking, and fishing from an early age. Their passion for the arts and the ocean guides their interest in environmental forms of expression, and their artistic practice develops concepts and strategies that respect and protect the environment.

The artists transformed the sun-bleached coral into unique pieces that link together creating vertical structures, described by the artists as stalagmites. Together, they form a coral compass, with each tower representing a cardinal point whose coordinates metaphorically signal Vizcaya’s geographical location. The site-specific installation, with five coral towers, rises from Vizcaya’s Reflective Pool, blending harmoniously with the surrounding grottos and obelisks.

The commissioned work explores the relationship between the ocean and the land by serving as a vessel for mangrove propagules (seedlings). The mangrove tree straddles between the land and the ocean and is known for protecting coastlines. At Vizcaya, red mangroves support our ecosystems and provide buffering during storm surges. Jaime and Javier’s work responds to the ongoing challenges posed by climate change, including sea level rise and increases in seawater temperature, honoring Vizcaya’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

Wish Towers symbolizes the collective effort to protect the natural world we inhabit. The installation encourages public participation to promote ecological responsibility. By activating a manual pump, our visitors will contribute to watering these mangrove seedlings and thus helping them grow. At the end of the exhibition, the young mangroves will be planted in Vizcaya’s coastal forest, helping mitigate the challenges of sea level rise caused by climate change, while the coral sculpture will return to the Puerto Rican seabed, where it will serve as a sustainable structure for new coral to attach and grow.

The Contemporary Arts Program (CAP) is supported by The Danielson Foundation; the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; and is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

RELATED PROGRAMS:

  • Wish Towers Opening Reception | Wednesday, November 9, 2022, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person. Purchase tickets at Vizcaya.org/events.

PHOTOS| Click to download; Photos Courtesy of the Artists. Captions provided.

ABOUT THE COMTEMPORARY ARTS PROGRAM

The Contemporary Arts Program (CAP) is a commission-based exhibition series that provides artists with the creative challenge to develop original, site-specific work in response to a historic site. Since 2006, CAP has provided our visitors with new ways of seeing the historic estate and strengthened relations with contemporary artists.

CAP was inspired by the dynamic, creative spirit that characterized Vizcaya’s inception one hundred years ago, and it continues James Deering’s tradition as a patron of the arts. From John Singer Sargent, a house guest who painted watercolors of the estate, to A. Stirling Calder, who sculpted the figures on the Barge, and Robert Winthrop Chanler, creator of the Swimming Pool Grotto ceiling mural, Vizcaya continues a dialogue between the historic and the contemporary. As was the case one hundred years ago, Vizcaya’s singular sense of place remains the point of departure for artists.

The Contemporary Arts Program (CAP) is supported by The Danielson Foundation; the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; and is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

ABOUT VIZCAYA MUSEUM AND GARDENS

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a National Historic Landmark that preserves its cultural and environmental resources to engage people in connecting with the past, understanding the present and shaping the future. Built between 1914 and 1922 as the winter home of farming manufacturer James Deering, Vizcaya is one of the most intact remaining examples from this era in the United States, when the nation’s most successful entrepreneur-built estates were inspired by the stately homes of Europe. Vizcaya features a Main House filled with a decorative art collection, 10 acres of formal gardens, a rockland hammock (native forest), mangrove shore, and a historic village that is being restored to tell Vizcaya’s full story and provide additional spaces for programs and community outreach, including those on agriculture. Vizcaya has been a community hub since it opened to the public in 1953; it welcomes 300,000 visitors annually.

Located on Biscayne Bay at 3251 South Miami Avenue, Vizcaya is open Thursday through Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. For more information, visit www.vizcaya.org, connect via social media, or call 305-250-9133.

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