The First World War was unprecedented in the extent of its devastation and destruction, with more than ten million soldiers killed, twenty-two million wounded, and as many as seven million civilian war-related casualties. Countries were left economically ravaged, empires collapsed, and vast areas of land were horribly damaged. On the centennial of the war’s outbreak, The Wolfsonian has organized the exhibition Myth and Machine: The First World War in Visual Culture, which opened on November 11 (Veteran’s Day) and continues through April 5.
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Art Basel Miami Beach is nearly upon us, and there is plenty going on at The Wolfsonian during and leading up to the December 4–7 international art fair. This year marks the thirteenth time Art Basel has set up shop in Miami, bringing with it scores of satellite festivals, exhibitions, and activities. Anyone who has survived a previous Art Basel relatively intact knows that highly strategic planning is involved. Our suggestion? Plan to be at The Wolfsonian! We’ve got new exhibitions and installations to explore, great events, and our Museum Shop and Café is home to a fun pop-up shop during Basel week.
The museum is open daily on December 1–7 from 10am–6pm (9pm on Thursday). The exhibitions on view, several of which are discussed in this newsletter, are Myth and Machine: The First World War in Visual Culture; Art and Design in the Modern Age: Selections from The Wolfsonian Collection; Pose and Propaganda: Political Posters from the Contemporary Middle East; Boom, Bust, Boom: Downtown Miami Architecture, 1920s–1930s; and a library exhibition on children and propaganda in the First World War.
We’re changing our look just in time for Art Basel, with an exterior treatment that ties to our First World War exhibition. Beginning in late November, we’ll be sporting a mural on our façade and south-facing wall. Intricate Pattern Overlay, by Miami-based artist Michelle Weinberg, is a gray-and-pink patterned design inspired by the dazzle camouflage paint treatments developed for American and British warships during the First World War. Weinberg’s mural design incorporates the striping and irregular patterning that was intended to disorient German U-Boats.
Next time you feel under the weather, get yourself to the exhibition Koizumi Kishio: Remembering Tokyo, on view at The Wolfsonian Teaching Gallery at FIU’s Frost Art Museum through January 11. Art, particularly landscape art, has long been viewed as curative in Japan and China, and people struggling with either physical or spiritual illnesses are often gifted with pieces of art, explains Lidu Yi, who curated the exhibition in collaboration with Peter Clericuzio, The Wolfsonian’s academic programs manager. Yi is an assistant professor of Chinese art history at FIU, and that tradition was very much on her mind when selecting the images for Koizumi Kishio.
The thirty woodblock prints showcased are drawn from Koizumi Kishio’s (1893–1945) most well-known series, Showa dai Toky hyakuzue [One Hundred Views of Great Tokyo in the Showa Era]. “In this crazy, busy world, people can look at these artworks and relax a bit and feel tranquil. These images convey to us that life is impermanent. It’s important for us to take time to look and to cultivate peace of mind. I wanted to create a space where people can look at the artworks and sense these things,” Yi says. “In a way this exhibition is like a remedy, like a gift. One of its strongest messages is telling people to take a minute, to slow down, and to contemplate.”
In 1935, only about ten percent of American farms had electricity. To put that in context, the United States was significantly behind western Europe, where approximately seventy percent of farms had electricity in countries such as France, Germany, and Switzerland. “Electricity is a modern necessity of life and ought to be found in every village, every home, and every farm in every part of the United States,” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed in a 1938 address.
With the busy fall season in full swing, The Wolfsonian is pleased to welcome several new staff members.
Heather Cook, public programs manager
Heather earned an M.A. degree in art history and museum studies in May 2014 from Case Western Reserve University and joined The Wolfsonian as public programs manager in September. Her responsibilities include developing and coordinating adult programs related to exhibitions and collections. She has worked with museums and collections in a variety of capacities. Among the positions she’s held are freelance education assistant as well as curatorial fellow and fellow in education at Cleveland Museum of Art; public programs intern at Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland; educational intern at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (Sarasota); interpretive guide intern at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; and assistant registrar and visitor services at the Rubell Family Collection (Miami). Her undergraduate degree is in art history with minors in museum studies and business from The Florida State University.
Jeffery Guin, digital outreach strategist
Jeffery holds the newly created position of digital outreach strategist. As such, he works to develop and implement digital strategies that connect The Wolfsonian’s online audiences to its mission. His responsibilities include managing the website, optimizing social media platforms, and producing digital media content for the web. He brings twenty years of experience in digital communications management, writing, branding, and design to The Wolfsonian. He comes to the museum from Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia, where he was the manager of emerging media. Prior to that, he was the public information officer and marketing manager at the National Center for Preservation Technology & Training in Natchitoches, La. He blogs about digital heritage for Voices of the Past Heritage Media, which he founded, has contributed articles to academic books and journals, and is a frequent speaker on topics of digital outreach and engagement. He received a B.A. degree in journalism and English and an M.A. degree in English, both from Northwestern State University of Louisiana.
The Museum Shop’s shelves are brimming with good things to buy, and just in time—you have holiday gifts to get! We’re focusing this month on some of the new to us, affordable jewelry lines that we’re loving. For the purist, HML Berlin Jewelry designed by Horst Max Lebert features minimalist, clean shapes. The shop carries his cloud necklace in sterling silver ($135) and his oval necklace, also in sterling ($110). Nebula Jewelry’s rope-like necklaces and bracelets by Lara Knutson are fabricated of thousands of tiny glass beads that are so small the strands look like fabric—but they shimmer like glass. We’ve had her work before, but we’ve expanded our selection and currently carry some of her long necklaces ($160), short necklaces ($110), and bracelets ($60). Melissa Borrell Design’s playful Pop-Out Jewelry line features do-it-yourself baubles packaged as flat, two-dimensional objects that you pop out of the surrounding metal and play with until they assume full-figured identities. Her forms manage to be both geometrical and organic, kind of like three-dimensional spirographs. The Museum Shop carries her earrings ($32), a floral pendant ($39), and a gold-plated pendant ($55). Customers have been all over the art-deco-ish shapes of Inés Bonadeo’s metal jewelry. We have necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings ($20–$100) by the Argentinean designer, who says that her work—each piece is handmade—is inspired by the contrast between geometry and nature. Of course, all this jewelry needs a place to live. Where better than in Yumi Masuko’s delicate porcelain Hands Bowl ($60), which looks exactly as you would expect it to, given its name—two hands cupped together, waiting to receive, or perhaps to give. For more information, contact email@example.com or 305.535.2680.