June 2013

On View: Modern Meals and Women in Motion

June 01 2013

Two new exhibitions opened in mid-May on the museum’s sixth floor, Modern Meals: Remaking American Foods from Farm to Kitchen and Women in Motion: Fitness, Sport, and the Female Figure. Both exhibitions, on view through August 18, were guest-curated by FIU professors and both encourage us to consider familiar subjects in new and often surprising ways.

Women in Motion

In this exhibition, “You’ll see the multiple ways in which women’s bodies are displayed and used—some are very subtle and some are obvious,” explains guest co-curator Dionne Stephens, assistant professor of psychology at FIU. She worked with Laurie Shrage, professor of philosophy and women’s studies, to explore representations of women engaged in athletic activities in materials such as posters, magazines, prints, books, video, and ceramics from the United States and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. The images were generated by a range of sources, including governments, fitness advocates, advertisers, and artists.

Take a Tour of Paradise

June 01 2013

On June 15, you can join The Wolfsonian for a trip to Paradise Farms Organic in Homestead, which includes a tour of the farm along with a vegetarian lunch made with farm-grown produce. The tour is held in conjunction with the exhibition Modern Meals: Remaking American Foods from Farm to Kitchen. While the exhibition considers the rise of mass production and mass distribution in the food industry, the trip to the farm is representative of the growing backlash against the industrialization of food.

“There’s a wonderful trend now of people taking responsibility and caring about where their food comes from and how it’s grown. Ultimately, many people are deciding they want to grow their own food,” says Gabriele Marewski, the owner of Paradise Farms. The farm, established by Marewski in 1999, is a certified organic, vegetarian, showcase farm where the crops are organized according to principles of sacred geometry and feng shui. “When people come onto the property, I tell them that they’re in our bubble. They really feel that. For people on The Wolfsonian’s tour, the farm will be a perfect opportunity to see the antithesis of industrialization. We are an extremely low tech way of doing agriculture, with great attention paid to detail. We plant, water, weed, and harvest by hand,” Marewski explains.

Lighter than Air: Library Exhibition on Zeppelins

June 01 2013

At 803 feet long and 146 feet high, the Hindenburg, a Zeppelin built in Germany and completed in 1936, was the largest aircraft ever built. It included passenger cabins, a restaurant, a lounge, and even a smoking room. It traveled between Germany and Lakehurst, NJ—with a cruising speed of 78 miles per hour, the trip took four days of travel time. Sadly short-lived, the Hindenburg completed the trip only nine times before tragedy struck. On May 6, 1937, in front of a large crowd gathered in Lakehurst, it burst into flames and crashed, killing thirty-five of the ninety-seven people on board and one member of the ground crew. That disaster was a major contributing factor to the Zeppelin’s eventual demise.

Giants Lighter than Air, the new library exhibition, includes books, photographs, postcards, brochures, advertisements, and other materials that document these airships. The exhibition is curated by Nicolae Harsanyi, rare books cataloguer and associate librarian at The Wolfsonian.

Visiting Fellows Announced for 2013-14

June 01 2013

When did the aerial view develop? How was the Fascist regime’s obsession with youth and health reflected in its architecture? Beyond shelter, what other functions were served by the FSA migratory labor camps?

These are some of the topics that will be explored by the scholars who have been awarded research fellowships by The Wolfsonian for the 2013–14 academic year. Each scholar will be in residence at the museum for approximately three weeks in order to conduct research based on the museum’s collection.

“Our fellowship program is of great benefit to both the fellows and the museum. The fellowship allows scholars extensive access to the museum’s collection in order for them to conduct research that is singular to The Wolfsonian,” explains Jon Mogul, assistant director for research and academic initiatives. “The museum benefits from the scholars’ expertise—through their research and sharing their knowledge, we learn a great deal about the collection.”

Ten Years of Installation Art Course

June 01 2013

This past semester was the tenth year that FIU art professor Tori Arpad-Cotta has incorporated The Wolfsonian as a collaborator of sorts in her course Installation Art. “It’s a famous class,” says Alexia Escalante, an FIU senior who took the course this year.

For Arpad-Cotta, the collaboration with The Wolfsonian is a natural fit—the museum’s approach to its collection and exhibitions and how artists approach an installation are quite similar, she says. And that’s why she’s designed the course in such a way that students learn about installation art while they also learn about the museum, the collection, exhibitions, and the roles of various staff positions. Students, who are primarily undergraduate art majors, are required to conduct independent research at the museum and to create an installation. The course culminates in an exhibition—for many students the exhibition is the first time their work is shown to an audience outside of FIU. Exhibition venues vary each year; this year work was shown at The Little River Yacht Club, videos were screened at The Wolfsonian to a full house, and the work of this year’s students as well as course alumni is being exhibited on an ongoing basis at the Coral Gables Museum on First Fridays.

Explore the Digital Catalog

June 01 2013

Did you know that among the thousands of museum items in the constantly growing digital images catalog are hundreds of books and pamphlets that can be explored online through a robotic page turner? Books and other library materials for which four pages or more have been digitized can be viewed with page turner software that allows viewers to digitally “turn” the pages while reviewing the work. There is also an option for a thumbnail view of the pages. The page turner software is open source software designed by the Internet Archive.

Derek Merleaux, The Wolfsonian’s digital asset manager, has selected several recently added library materials that can be viewed through the page turner software. This diverse list was chosen to give ePropaganda readers several choices to explore, in order to get a sense of one of the many ways in which the digital images catalog functions.

Summer at the Shop

June 01 2013

Included in the shop’s extensive selection of books are some very interesting and inspirational monographs. Why not dedicate the summer to art? Why not choose a particular artist or group of artists to study in depth? Why not jump right in and start with the 672-page monograph Alexander Girard by Todd Oldham and Kiera Coffee ($200), published by AMMO Books. “Above all, we should be self dependent in creative ideas, not strive to be ‘different’ or create ‘new’ and original effects. We should sincerely create that which is utterly contemporary and practical and in perfect harmony with the aesthetic and spiritual tradition of our people.” These words of Girard’s are a fitting introduction to the work of the multidisciplinary designer. Whether you are new to Girard’s colorful, vibrant designs or are revisiting his work, this hefty monograph is a great way to immerse yourself in the designer’s world. The book presents twenty-three hundred images, many previously unpublished. Familiar works include Girard’s colorful textile designs for Herman Miller and his work for BANIFF airlines.

Going Soon/Coming Soon

June 01 2013


· The lobby exhibition Page at a Time closes on June 2. On view are collaborative art books created by fifth-grade students from Miami-Dade public schools who participated in the museum’s interdisciplinary arts program.

· If you missed any of the recent Pecha Kucha events held in conjunction with The Wolfsonian, you can now view online videos of the talks by going here.


· If you haven’t joined the Wolf Book Club, there’s no time like summer to work in some quality reading time. Why not start with The Green Hat by Michael Arlen, under discussion on Friday, June 7, 7pm. Free for members and first time participants.

· Fall forward: We have a busy fall exhibition schedule with Echoes and Origins: Interwar Italian Design opening in September followed by the November openings for The Birth of Rome and Rendering War: The Murals of A. G. Santagata