After completing our walking tour of South Beach’s Art Deco District, we grabbed some lunch and headed to Florida International University’s Wolfsonian Museum. Established in 1992 by Mitchell Wolfson, Jr., to house his large and eclectic personal art collection, The Wolf’s exhibits currently occupy 4 floors in a beautifully-renovated warehouse.
While the Museum features revolving exhibits, we really wanted to see the permanent collection, which is 100,000 pieces strong. Amusingly — yet appropriately — this part of the Museum is referred to as The Museum of Thinkism.
Originally built in 1927, the former storage facility is located in downtown South Beach, right on Washington Avenue.
Upon entering the lobby, visitors are greeted with an open space.
The odd juxtaposition of extravagant, decadent art and pop surrealism prepares you for the collection.
There is no photography allowed above the lobby. This is the guard who enforces the rule.
Gargoyle heads watch over visitors riding in the elevator.
The idea behind Thinkism is contained in Wolfson’s phrase, “What man makes, makes man.” In other words, by examining the products, propaganda, and artwork that people have created over the years — and thinking about them — we can begin to understand objects as human ideas, concerns, and aspirations and start to understand why the world looks the way it does.
It’s more than just looking at a beautiful painting; it’s about considering an object, thinking about where and why it was made, and what role it plays in society. In this way, we make connections among everything in the world, and come to realize that everything is inter-connected. Everything. From old book covers to old stoves…
…from wartime posters to old post office boxes…
…from Turkish folding chars to New Deal murals…
…everything shows how people look at and interact with the rest of the world. It was a fascinating and fun exhibit, and for $7 apiece, it was cash well-spent. For more examples of the items inside the Museum, check out Gallagher’s Travels or, of course, the Museum’s website.
After Thinking so much, we were famished, so we headed to the Museum’s store/cafe, The Dynamo Cafe. Designed to feel like an old-timey European bookstore…
…with its modular design, it has a very modern feel.
The Dynamo offers a great assortment of teas, coffees, snacks, and sandwiches — all of which have been getting rave reviews lately. I had some excellent Chai Tea, while my wife enjoyed some Lemongrass Tea. (For the record, mine was better.)
It was an excellent way to relax after thinking so hard. But now…it was time to check into the hotel and get changed for some beach-time!
Previously: Weekend In Miami: Casa Casuarina