One way to convince my family to join me to visit the MIA Art Fair in downtown Miami was inviting them to the circus. A few weeks ago, the Ringling Brothers Circus and the MIA Art Fair shown on a yacht about 300 feet long coincided along the Bayside shoreline. Planning a kind of family outing where all are satisfied I asked them: Would you like to go to downtown?
That Sunday we parked the car in one of the few remaining parking lots on Biscayne Boulevard and headed to the American Airlines arena. The circus, which still maintains the freshness of live and high-risk acts, offered us a morning of fun and recreation. Once the function was over, I posed the corresponding and natural question to follow: And the art on the yacht? The responses were not favorable but the distance traveled from West Kendall and the difficulty of finding a parking space was worth the effort to walk a few extra miles.
The large group of people leaving the circus after the show walked along with us towards the art fair. This group got smaller as we moved forward and was replaced by a crowd going to a bodybuilding show at the Bayside park. As we moved towards the yacht anchored near the Intercontinental hotel, the crowd diminished and became more intimate. In front of the yacht, a nice group of hosts gave us a warm welcome.
We had left the monumental space of the American Airlines arena and its digital screens depicting dragons spitting fire. We had witnessed samurais using their heads to break swords and wrapping their bodies with iron rods.
How can an engraving by Rufino Tamayo be appreciated after witnessing the high risk and epic acts of the Ringling circus? What more anti epic than to observe the photograph of an easel or perceive the surface of a sculpture made with bottle caps?
My family was not very entertained as in the circus but intrigued. This yacht equipped with halogen lights (used in live performances as well) showed artwork in a quiet and accessible environment as opposed to the sumptuous height of the stands in the arena. The clean space in the galleries offered the viewers a chance to walk around and exchange glimpses. Our senses were conditioned quickly to this dynamic. Works like Rufino Tamayo invited to be examined and revisited with new eyes. A cow’s head depicted in a lithograph by Andy Warhol and the work by Stephen Knapp with his projections of light and color on the wall also invited to explore the subtleties of this art exhibit.
As a fan for backstage stories, I would have liked to talk to some members of the circus (especially with members of the magnificent band) or interact with some of the animal jugglers. Unlike the circus, this was possible at the MIA art exhibit when I was able to talk to gallery owners and artists while touring the galleries. Director David F. Setford from the Setford & Bridges gallery told me how the MIA art fair allows curators like him living in Manhattan and his partner living in Paris to come together to showcase their collections. Roberto Preciado from New York gave me his impressions in displaying art on a yacht and compared it with the dissimilar space of the synagogue where he shows artists like Amparo Garzon. And before we got to walk on the deck of the ship, I was able to talk to the candidates for the Master of Arts from the University of Miami about how some of them help collect plastic caps as a joint collaboration with artist Valeria Rocchiccioli for her minimalist sculptures.
When we got to the boat deck we found two steel sharks as a reminder of the sea around us. Exploring our environment, the small group of viewers who stood on the deck, used cameras or phones to take pictures. Some took pictures in front of the shark with a sky background; others chose the shark with the view over the city. Holding the camera I seemed to lose balance and I held myself onto the rail. The steel sharks mingled with the metallic color of the buildings of downtown and the slight distance between the yacht and the mainland seemed impassable. “We are rocking,” said one viewer smiling.
On our way to the parking lot, the streets near Bayside were deserted. The MIA Art Fair on the yacht, the bodybuilding fair and the Ringling circus at the American Airlines arena in Bayside seemed to have belonged to the same show. It was almost 3:00 pm when we got to the parking lot and my youngest son exclaimed, “Mommy, today was a good day.”