Room Keys, Old Furniture Part Of New Wolfsonian Exhibit Honoring Founder

Photo courtesy FIU News

Diana Rodriguez/Contributing Writer


After over a year of debating how to celebrate Micky Wolfson’s 80th birthday, the wait is finally over. The avid collector and founder of the Wolfsonian-FIU will be the center of an exhibit at the museum, intimately titled A Universe of Things, Micky Wolfson Collects.

From hotel room keys he’s kept after decades of traveling, to a piece of furniture that shows cultural exchange between Europe and Asia, to a set of objects relating to flesh and the body—the items in Micky Wolfsons’s set are expected to surprise guests and stimulate them to make connections across time and history.

Opening to the public on Nov. 15 until the same date in 2020, contributors of the set hope to tell the stories of  Wolfson’s travels with some objects that have been hiding in his home in Genoa, Italy and can be brought into the light. While writing his book Founder’s Choice, Wolfson sat down with curators Shoshana Resnikoff and Leah Nickless as they chose over 100 of his personal items for the exhibit, and most importantly, how they would organize them.

“We didn’t have a series of facts we had to prove in the exhibition, which meant that we could really explore, but also meant there weren’t any boundaries,” says Resnikoff. “We could go in any direction, which is very exciting but also a little overwhelming.”

One area contains items exclusively from 1939, the year Wolfson was born. Another section of the exhibit is divided into its own material: aluminum. 

“I think we’re able to tell a history of the material in a really unexpected way, starting with how it was actually at one point more expensive than gold. Because the process of creating was so complex, as the technology improved, it became this everyday material,” Resnikoff said.

“People can really get a sense of how you can look at a moment in time or a country, or a culture through this one particular lens, in this case material, and see all these unexpected connections.”

To prepare for the grand opening, marketing and communications director Ian Rand talked about organizing one of the largest block parties on Miami Beach.

“Miami Beach is our home. Micky grew up here… this would be the natural place to thank him. The exhibition is a celebration for Micky himself. It’s kind of like the city thanking Micky, and we wanted it to be something for the people of Miami Beach, so we decided to do something that was free and open to the public.”

The opening of the exhibition will be celebrated across all of 10th Street, with food trucks, live music from both the FIU marching band and the New Deco ensemble, and indoor/outdoor bars.

Wolfson is one of the most curious and well-traveled people Resnikoff knows, and she hopes this comes across in the upcoming event.

 “He’s a troublemaker; he likes to upset expectations. He likes to surprise people and has got a great sense of humor. That’s what I would want people to walk away with: the sense of deep commitment to his collection, preservation, and also his life,” she said.


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