Miami Beach, FL – October 13, 2016 – Members, press, and special guests received an advance glimpse at the wonder of The Pursuit of Abstraction, The Wolfsonian–FIU’s exhibition on modern-age spirituality. Guests explored the mystical works on view, enjoyed specialty cocktails by Bacardi, and met the curator behind the curtain, Matthew Abess. Focusing on works produced between 1900 and 1950, the exhibition takes a close look at North American and European artists that turned to abstract thought, feeling, and form as counterpoints to the concrete realities and alienation of modern life. As the world around them became increasingly secular and urbanized, these makers imagined new expressions of spiritual awareness that drew inspiration from a wide variety of sources: philosophy, mythology, psychology, poetry, and ideologies ranging from established religious doctrines (Christianity and Buddhism) to newer, lesser-known schools of thought (Theosophy and Anthroposophy). Despite this diversity, common threads are found in an emphasis on transformation, allusion to forces within and forces beyond, and the depiction of otherworldly figures. The Pursuit of Abstraction will be on view through April 16, 2017, and paired with an online content platform with images, essays, and other supplementary material. In addition to Kirchner, featured artists include Mabel Alvarez, Wenzel Hablik, Victor Karl Hammer, Gertrude Hermes, Agnes Pelton, Henry van de Velde, and Ida O’Keeffe, younger sister of Georgia O’Keeffe.
Tim Rodgers & Mathew Abess
Mathew Abess, Tim Rodgers, John Fumagalli, & Jeri Wolfson
Jeri Woflson, Jay Waxenberg, & Shay Maraj
Eric Greenwald, Mathew & Taylor Abess, & Candace Garvey
Miami, FL – March 20 – 22, 2014 – “Power of Design 2014: Complaints” united participants in a milestone event that used art and design to highlight community challenges and initiate collective problem-solving. This was the inaugural year of the event and focused on design’s role in transforming society. The festival’s mission was to engage the community by exploring the relevance of ideas embedded in the museum’s collection. “Power of Design 2014”: Complaints brought together change-makers, thought leaders and visionaries from multiple fields for lively discussions, presentations, performances, exhibitions and more. The event was not intended to focus simply on complaints, but on what comes next: action, innovation and collective problem-solving. Highlights of the program included: novelist and public radio host Kurt Andersen as master of ceremonies; political humorist Andy Borowitz on how humor helps complaints get heard and how political humor can spur political change; group discussions with renowned experts on topics that included cities, air travel and watchdog journalism; a hands-on program for children led by Todd Oldham; a dialogue between Pulitzer Prize–winning author Michael Chabon, virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier, and Wired magazine powerhouse Clive Thompson who explored challenges and opportunities of the digital age, co-curated by Intelligence Squared. The event was presented by The Wolfsonian–FIU and WLRN in partnership with the Miami Herald, and support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.