April 2013

Coming Soon/Going Soon

April 24 2013

• Describing Labor closes soon—April 21 is the last day to view the exhibition. If you can’t get to the museum, the next best thing is to watch a video in which assistant curator Matthew Abess discusses the show. The video provides close-up views of many of the photographs and other materials in the exhibition. Anyone who missed Postcards of the Wiener Werkstätte: Selections from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection can view a video in which curator Silvia Barisione introduces the exhibition. 

• An exhibition drawn from world’s fair materials in the private collection of Wolfsonian founder Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. is now on view at New World School of the Arts Gallery through May 31. Entrances and Exits: Resonating Impression of World’s Fairs is curated by Miami-Dade College and New World School of the Arts students enrolled in the Museum Studies program.

• Celebrate poetry with us at an O, Miami poetry performance on April 25 at 7pm. positive degree adjective of definition / but still in no danger of dehydration features experimental works performed by poets Craig Dworkin and Steven Zultanski. A book signing follows the event.

• Preview the opening of two new exhibitions on May 16, 7–9 pm—Modern Meals: Remaking American Foods from Farm to Kitchen and Women in Motion: Fitness, Sport, and the Female Figure.

At the Shop

April 24 2013

Why not welcome spring with a mobile—or two? Alexander Calder, the originator of the mobile, would certainly approve. As he said, “To most people who look at a mobile, it’s no more than a series of flat objects that move. To a few, though, it may be poetry.” The museum shop carries two cheerful models of mobiles fashioned from colorful, translucent paper attached to silk string. The Circula Mobile ($32) is a single, long garland of paper rings anchored by a magnetic stainless steel weight.

On Research: Graduate Student Workshop

April 24 2013

What does a celery tray, such as the one pictured at left, tell us? Why was there a need in 1939 for such an object—why does celery require its own dish? What does it tell us about how food was presented? What questions, if any, does such an object raise about the production of celery at the time? These are questions a scholar might consider when researching an object such as the celery tray designed by Russel Wright.

A discussion of the celery tray, led by FIU assistant professor of history Elizabeth Heath, was part of The Wolfsonian–FIU Graduate Student Workshop on Visual and Material Culture, a day-long workshop at the museum held on March 23. Eighteen FIU graduate students from several disciplines were introduced to methods of conducting research and to The Wolfsonian’s collections through presentations by professors and Wolfsonian staff members. Students also toured the galleries and participated in an architectural exercise.

A Career in Comics

April 24 2013

Dennis Calero can’t remember when he started drawing, but he has a great excuse—he was only one. He has some of his drawings dated from back then, just not the memory of creating them. “I have been drawing literally for as long as I can remember,” he says. Now an award-winning artist and writer who works primarily on comics, graphic novels, and film and television projects, Calero is volunteering his time for two related events at The Wolfsonian on Saturday, April 20. During a public talk he will discuss breaking into comics, his career and technique, and the creative and business aspects of working for companies such as Marvel, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, CBS Films, and Weed Road Pictures. He’ll also discuss a pilot he’s currently developing for Syfy (formerly Sci-Fi Channel). Following his talk, he will review work by teens ages fourteen through seventeen and offer a critique. 

Calero, who is based in New York, was born and raised in Miami and went to New World School of the Arts before attending Pratt Institute to study architecture. After two years, he switched to illustration. “All I wanted to do was tell stories. Drawing and creating and writing have always been my first love,” he says. He was attracted to comics in part because they combine drawing and storytelling. “I’ve always loved comics. The chance to have a career where I could draw every day and get paid for it was very exciting.”

Among the projects Calero has worked on are adapting Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles into a graphic novel, helping develop X-Men Noir for Marvel Comics, and creating a web comic of Stephen King’s short story “Little Green God of Agony.”

Design Our Lobby Table(s)!

April 24 2013

“The Wolfsonian has issued a design challenge: create a table design for the museum’s lobby. The winning table(s)—which may range from one table to six, as long as the final configuration can accommodate twenty-four chairs—will be built and used in the lobby for a year.

The reason? “We want to activate the lobby in a way that facilitates engagement and interaction between visitors and the museum. Putting this challenge out to the community is a way of relinquishing control and allowing the visitor to design the terms of engagement,” says Mylinh Trieu Nguyen, The Wolfsonian’s art director.

What Will You Work For?

April 24 2013

Can you make a living doing what you love? The website WillWorkFor asks that question and presents short video portraits of people who have managed to do just that. There’s Reed, who spends half his working time downtown, presumably in an office, and half in the field. He’s committed to changing seed sourcing by harvesting data and to reminding us of food’s integrity—honest food comes from the ground, not a box. Claire also splits her time. She’s a scientist in the morning and a “stay-at-home teacher” in the afternoon. She advocates for learning from experts all over the world via technology, rather than relying only on static textbooks. The video portraits are fiction, but based on data that points to changes in our perceptions of work and its place in our lives.

WillWorkFor, which launched in October 2012, is a joint project of the design company IDEO and the investment firm Collaborative Fund. Karyn Campbell, an investor at Collaborative Fund, and Peter Antonelli, a brand communication designer and project leader at IDEO, will be at The Wolfsonian on Friday, April 19 at 7pm to discuss WillWorkFor, the changing nature of work, and their companies.

National Leaders Join Museum's Digital Media Strategy Group

April 24 2013

Technology is changing and influencing our world in countless ways—in how we work, play, participate in civic life—and it is ushering in different ways of interacting with museum collections. The Wolfsonian is exploring the possibilities of these new and valuable types of interactions and investigating ways in which it might freely share resources and inspire digital users to engage with the collection.

In order to understand and implement strategies that establish and encourage a user-centered participatory culture, The Wolfsonian has formed an advisory group of nationally and internationally recognized visionaries in the digital and design fields. The group will work with the museum to develop a digital engagement strategy and advance its objective of becoming a leader in the ways in which museum collections and the digital world can intersect.

“We believe that people will do amazing things with the collection, things we have not even begun to imagine,” says Wolfsonian director Cathy Leff. “This is an extremely exciting time for a museum like ours. There is an increasingly networked global online learning community and a new world of opportunities. The traditional ways of engaging with museums, libraries, and archives, which generally involve visiting in person and physically moving through space, while still critical, are not a blueprint for the digital world—we have to look outside of established practices.”