Lisbette Castillo/Contributing Writer
The Wolfsonian-FIU held its annual Art Basel party on Friday, Dec. 2, giving the “MORE is MORE” exhibition a big platform. The exhibition, which bridges and compliments the Modern Dutch Design exhibition currently on display, was the largest public artwork on view during Art Basel.
This year’s event was particularly special because of Christie van der Haak’s exhibition, which displayed intricate Dutch designs and patterns.
“Christie has taken over the exterior of our building and the interior lobby, which is known for our beautiful fountain,” said Meg Floryan, communications manager at the Wolfsonian. “It’s kind of a staple of South Beach but her designs really give it that extra pop.”
The event also featured Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra which set a roaring-twenties vibe with their Jazz-age music. Guests enjoyed the live music as they admired the explosion of color and patterns that filled the room, from the walls to the ceilings and floor.
“I love the band,” said Bianca Rodriguez, who attended the event. “I instantly felt like I was in a Gatsby party, it’s my favorite era.”
Rodriguez said that Haak’s pieces were beautifully complex and loud.
“As soon as I walked in, I was enamored by the color and the amount of detail in the work,” she said. “It was overwhelming but in a good way. The designs are beautiful.”
Floryan, who majored in art history and classical students, and specialized in American art for her master’s, said Haak created a “contemporary response to our historic collection upstairs which is the largest collection of pre-war Dutch objects outside of the Netherlands.”
She added that the Modern Dutch Design exhibition is a selection of objects from 1890s-1940s that represent a remarkable 50-year period in Dutch design history to which Haak created a response.
“I’m smitten with one of the more unusual pieces in our collection: a huge, beautiful advertising display dating from the late 19th century,” said Floryan. “For me, it represents a highlight of the exhibition, that moment of turning a corner and encountering the last thing you’d expect.”
Haak, who began as a painter, hand draws and colors her designs, which reflect Dutch design history and then digitizes them to blow them up into big proportions, as the ones displayed at the Wolfsonian.
Although Haak still considers herself a painter, she refers to the computer as her new canvas.
Floryan said that you could see the human touch of the designs if you look closely.
“She takes inspiration from tapestry and she creates these truly intricate, very complex, colorful, eye-popping, kaleidoscopic patterns,” said Floryan.
Floryan says they have some exciting opportunities in the works and emphasized that admission to the Wolfsonian is free to University students and faculty.
“Given the physical distance between FIU’s main campus and South Beach, I think many students don’t realize what level of VIP access they have to such a world-renowned collection,” said Floryan. “We’re one of the most under-utilized resources of the University.
Photo credit: Lisbette Castillo