The Miami Art Museum, which they want to call MAM, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. It is not old for a museum, not even for an American museum. Florida, when I grew up here in the 1950s and part of the 60s, was not noted for its culture. It still is much better at presenting amusement parks and ball games than museums or the performing arts.
The focal point for its tourism success is a huge amusement park in the center of the state based on a cartoon mouse. Mouseworld tries to create a mythological America that never existed. It is the symbol of Florida. They even put one in France and an original in California - symbols of America like golden arches. Symbols and myths do not always deliver cultural benefits, educational excellence. Florida also boasts a beer garden for the kindergarten set in Tampa and multiple arenas for the worship of football and baseball, some terrific racing of cars, hydroplanes, and other beautiful things that go fast.
Miami has pop boat shows, grand prix racing, a new performing arts center, growing galleries, the “Design District” and some museums. MAM sits in the center of downtown and is planning to break ground for a massive new facility in 2008 in what is to become Miami's Cultural District.
The plan was to report on the Tamayo show at MAM that ran from June through September 23. The plan was to report on it before it was taken down, but some surgery got in the way of my writing energies. The show (Tamayo: A Modern Icon Reinterpreted) was organized by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art together with the Consejo Nacional de Bellas Artes and Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporàneo in Mexico City. In Miami the Consulate General of Mexico also helped present it. If you get a chance to catch it in a different gallery or museum, do it.
Tamayo was known to me. Some of his works are familiar from the Modern and, I seem to recall, works in an L.A. museum and in books looked at in that great pile in my memory that have lost their titles and where I found, borrowed, bought, or merely looked at them. Rufino del Carmen Arellanes Tamayo (Mexicans have not only wonderful names, but lots of them) was Oaxacan, even though he ended up painting in both Mexico and the United States.