Wednesday, May 24, 2017

South Florida Social Diary: Art and Baseball

New York artist Richard Phillips and curator Bonnie Clearwater stand beside Phillips’ painting of the King of Pop, one of the works shown at the Nova Southeastern University (NSU) Art Museum’s exhibition commemorating the aesthetic impact of Marcel Duchamp’s introduction in 1917 of a urinal as an objet d’art titled Fountain. The show plumbs “issues of beauty, value and judgment”  since the controversy surrounding Duchamp’s readymade first questioned “the definition of art and who can pass judgment.”
Why is This Art? @ NSU Art Museum + Miami Marlins Park
By Augustus Mayhew

Bonnie Clearwater and Jeffrey Loria are New York art world notables that became part of the South Florida landscape, however disparate their perspectives and objectives. Clearwater served as curator for the Mark Rothko Foundation and the Leonard & Evelyn Lauder Collection in New York before taking on the Lannan Museum - Lake Worth and putting North Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art  on the international art map. In 2013 she became director and chief curator at the NSU Art Museum - Fort Lauderdale where she has boosted an obscure regional outpost into a significant cultural destination. First known as the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art when it opened in 1986, and only associated with Nova Southeastern University during the past three years, the sleek white Modernist downtown building was designed by architect Edward Larrabee Barnes (1915-2004).

While I  had attended numerous shows during the museum’s formative years, I had not visited in more than 20 years. Saturday’s opening reception afforded me a chance to appreciate Barnes’ stylistic debt to Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, his mentors at Harvard’s Department of Architecture, and Clearwater’s skilled turnaround of one of South Florida’s significant architectural landmarks.

"Why is this Art?" was museum director and exhibition curator Bonnie Clearwater's lecture introducing the museum's latest exhibition.
As an art dealer Jeffrey Loria had great success during the 1960s when he was involved with Sears, Roebuck & Company bringing the works of master artists to a mass audience under the tutelage of art connoisseur Vincent Price (“Art belongs to everyone.”)  Along with assembling his own prominent art collection, Loria also co-authored Collecting Original Art (1965) with Price whose Vincent Price Collection for Sears sold 50,000 “original” artworks from 1962 until 1971.

Loria’s success allowed him to pursue his interest in baseball, buying and selling a share in the Montreal Expos before acquiring the Miami Marlins for $158 million in 2003. Years later, he convinced Miami-Dade County officials to fund a more than $600+ million state-of-the-art futuristic ballpark. Opened in 2012, the 37,000-seat venue  is considered an engineering tour de force. Some regard it as more of a showcase for the club owner’s aesthetic inclinations and deal-making expertise rather than his ability to fill empty seats or his players’ ability to win baseball games. While the Miami Marlins team may spend this summer’s home games submerged in the National League East cellar, numerous recent reports have indicated that Jeffrey Loria  is on tap to be the next US Ambassador to France.

Last week my sister-in-law invited me to join her Episcopalian church group for a jaunt to Miami Marlins Park for a night game against the St, Louis Cardinals, making for my first time, and most likely my last, at a Major League baseball game. Since the head clergy was a former St. Louis resident, our ticket block was behind the Cardinals’ dugout. While not the plush suite experience, they were very good seats. Rivaling the stadium’s architectural status are several  Art in Public Places-styled works, the controversial $2.5 million home-run “animatronic” designed by Red Grooms, termed a “garish monstrosity” by Sports Illustrated magazine, as well as the 600-piece Bobblehead Museum that Loria decreed, “To me, they’re works of art.” 

While the Charles Gwathmey-designed Jeffrey Loria Center for the History of Art is now a part of the Yale University campus, Loria is reportedly looking to sell the Marlins baseball team for  $1.6 billion, more than $1 billion more than what he paid for the team. The space station-styled venue’s egalitarian approach to art  corresponds on several levels with the NSU Art Museum’s current exhibition concentrated on artworks that “aestheticize objects, architecture and interiors that do not conform to conventions of elevated taste.”
NSU Art Musuem, west and south elevations. Edward Larrabee Barnes, architect. 1986. Because of the intersection's kamikaze traffic, taking a photograph was life-threatening.
Here is a look at Bonnie Clearwater's Some Aesthetic Decisions and Jeffrey Loria's Miami Marlins Park.

Some Aesthetic Decisions: A Centennial Celebration of Duchamp's "Fountain"

Nova Southeastern University (NSU) Art Museum – Ft Lauderdale
13 May 2017 – 3 September 2017
Bonnie Clearwater, chief curator

More than 450 museum members and guests attended the opening of Some Aesthetic Decisions,  the NSU Art Museum’s homage to Marcel Duchamp’s enduring influence, offering a show built around a range of artistic mediums representing the numerous kerfluffles that Fountain raised regarding aesthetics, including “the act of making value judgements, the difference between taste and aesthetics, and whether everyone has the capacity to be receptive to the aesthetic condition of works of art.” The exhibition includes works by Marcel Duchamp, Cory Arcangel, John Baldessari, Sophie Calle, Judy Fiskin, Sherrie Levine, Jeff Koons, Jorge Pardo, Francis Picabia, Richard Phillips, Julian Schnabel, Andy Warhol, and Kara Walker.
"Guests Ascending A Staircase, No. 1." From the lobby entrance, guests took the elevator or the stairs that passed by the Anselm Kiefer exhibit.
"Guests Ascending A Staircase, No. 2." The staircase leads to an open mezzanine level where the exhibition was mounted. The lecture was held in one of the smaller gallery spaces.
Technical area, Slide 1 of 27. The lecture's slide presentation pictured on a DELL laptop..
Bonnie Clearwater, right, displays an image of Marcel Duchamp with Bicycle (1913), one of the artist's earliest readymades.
"Who would have thought? An audience of more than 400 people at a lecture on Duchamp in Fort Lauderdale on a Saturday afternoon," said Clearwater.
The lecture audience.
Clearwater showed various interpretations of Duchamp's Fountain. "Fountain, however, was rejected on grounds of indecency rather than lack of artistic merit ..."
Thirty years after it was designed, the NSU Art Museum is still one South Florida's extraordinary gallery spaces. Edward Larrabee Barnes is also credited with the Walker Art Musuem, Sarah Mellon Scaife Gallery at the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Dallas Art Museum, among others.
The exhibition is staged within two of the museum's largest exhibition areas.
Some Aesthetic Decisions, Introduction.
Untitled (Lipstick Urinals), a 1992 work of "feminist commentary" by California artist Rachel Lachowicz
A Warhol tableaux.
A coat rack became one of Duchamp's readymades.
A Duchamp mixed-media.
View of the exhibit's staging.
"Interest in Aesthetics." Tom Scicluna, artist.
Some Aesthetic Decisions.
The NSU Art Museum has multifaceted educational programs.
In 1964 Calvin Tomkins conducted these interviews at Duchamp's West 10th Street apartment.
Mukethe Kawinzi. Board member and collector Stanley Goodman and Penelope Blair.
Ellen Fischer, Elissa Mogilefsky, and Carolyn Davis.
Lori and Gary Opper.
Jennifer Haley and Barbara Lynes, senior curator at NSU Art Museum.
Looking east from the Glackens wing, the museum's more intimate display areas.
Jose Bedia Fieldwork features works from the de la Cruz Collection and the artist.
The NSU Art Museum has the world's largest collection of works by William Glackens.
The Glackens Parlor.
Dan Murphy and his mother Debbie Murphy, celebrating Mother's Day weekend.
Jennifer Nayak and Andre Feldman.
Richard and Ally Adamick.
Museum members and guests descended the Barnes-designed staircase after the reception.
Assisted by students at the Dillard Center for the Arts, Duval-Carrie's mixed-media work incorporates Voodoo iconography
The Indigo Room or Is Memory Water Soluble, 2004. Detail.
Dr. Scott Anagnoste and Bonnie Clearwater.
The view looking south from the museum across Las Olas Boulevard.
9 May 2017
Miami Marlins vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Miami Marlins Park - Little Havana

"The whole stadium is made to evoke an art gallery …" Claude Delorme, Miami Marlins EVP operations and events, 2012
Marlins Park, west elevation. We arrived shortly before the game started and found ample parking. Above, the roof was opened for the night game, extending west to provide a shaded expanse. The fifth retractable stadium roof in the United States, the stadium's three-panel 19-million pound retractable span extends approx. 560 feet to cover the field and seats. Taking 13-minutes from open to close, the east and west panels retract beneath the center panel, pictured above.
Described as "a kinetic sculpture," the stadium's retracted roof shades the west elevation's park area leading to the home plate entrance. Credited with the Kansas City and Cincinnati stadiums, the Populous architectural firm was headed up by senior designers Earl Santee and Craig Meyer.
A LEED Gold Certified stadium, we walked through the crowd toward the metal detectors at the home plate entrance.
Described as "quintessential Miami," the stadium's approval process resulted in an SEC investigation, allegations of corruption and bribery, and lawsuits.
Clearing the metal detectors, I was limited to a small lens attachment.
7:15 pm - Play Ball!
Miami Marlins vs. St. Louis Cardinals
A school band at the ready, as it appears many of the park's 37,000-seats will remain vacant.
"The Star Spangled Banner."
Miami Marlins, dugout located between home plate and third base. A Dugout Club, located directly above the team, offers cushioned seats, an exclusive lounge and in-seat wait service.
With the roof and the six-panel window wall open, this was my view of the field from Section 10, Row 8, Seat 13.
The Retractable glass wall opens east onto Miami's downtown skyline.
View of Section 10 fans, predominately St. Louis Cardinals, looking up toward the air-conditioning ducts and the various concessions. Several did the "bird dance" when the Cardinals scored.
The "Fan Cam" caused fans to become excited when their images were shown on all the stadium screens.
Although actual attendance may have been lacking, there were plenty of cameras and media outlets covering the game.
The Marlins had several strategy sessions on the pitcher's mound.
Fans were cued, making me think about rereading Elias Canetti's Crowds and Power.
Rounding the bases. Though there brief moments when it seemed the Marlins might win, the home team was shut out by St. Louis.
The view from the East Promenade shows the 45 Founders and Legends suites and two 450-gallon fish tanks with polycarbonate shielding behind home plate.
The pricey Founders center level features 13 suites including FOX Sports available at various price levels. The Founders and adjacent Legends suites includes about 15-20 seats and are ranged in price from $2880-$3360 per game between May 13-May 17, according to size and service level.
Ballpark Culture
Jeffrey Loria's private collection of 600+ ceramic Bobblehead dolls "reflects the history of the game."
The 72-foot high $2.5 million "sculpto-pictorama" by Red Grooms lights up whenever a home run is hit. During last week's game there were no home runs so the marlins didn't jump and the flamingos did not flap their wings.
Joan Miró. Figures Mountains Sky, Star & Bird, detail painted on ceramic. Because there were so many spotlights on the ceramic tile, I only photographed a corner of this replica of a Joan Miró mural.
This Kenny Scharf work, Play Ball! 2011, is an oil and acrylic and silk screening on canvas that was located behind the Team Store so that the lower part is not visible unless you walk behind the store.
Dominic Pangborn. Baseball in Motion. 2012.
Carlos Cruz-Dias. Chromatic Induction in a Double Frequency. 2012. The multi-colored tiled walkways.
With the east window wall opened, the views are spectacular.
A daytime view of Miami skyline from east promenade.
Ballpark Cuisine
Families planning on peanuts and cracker jack at Marlins Park might want to check their credit card limits. Peanuts $8, Cracker Jack $5, Cuban Hot Dog $15.50, Bottle Water $7, Beer $14, and a Marlins Cap $34.99.
Cuban Hot Dog or Grilled Cheese, $15.50.
Kosher Korner.
Café La Rica.
Burger 305.
Full Moon over Miami
7:30 pm. Full Moon.
View from the back row of Section 10.
View of the full moon over Miami from my Section 10 seat.
The view from directly behind home plate. Above this section, the 385-seat exclusive Ricoh Diamond Club outfitted with "plush, oversized cushioned seating with high backs and extended legroom, high-end dining, and dessert and beverage service." Diamond Club A seats were about $500.
Moon over Miami, view from the East Promenade.
9:03 pm. Marlins lead 5-1.
9:19 pm. Moments before St. Louis scored four runs. By this time, I began thinking maybe baseball should be a 5-inning game.
9:42 pm. Curtains for Miami when St. Louis scored in the top of the ninth. Note plenty of seats available in the Home Run Porch.
The east promenade window wall retracts to the sides.
Ballpark Exit
Since the crowd was sparse, returning to our Marlins-furnished coach was a comfortable walk.
West elevation, beneath the retracted roof.
Miami Marlins Park, last impressions.
Miami Marlins Park, west elevation.
Photography by Augustus Mayhew.

Augustus Mayhew is the author of Palm Beach-A Greater Grandeur