Virtual Museum Tours Celebrate Contemporary Art

Wolfsonian curator Silvia Barisione, led a virtual tour on a Great Depression Era art exhibit.

Guido Gonzalez / Assistant Entertainment Director. 

Art enthusiasts were given a chance to go along for a virtual tour through separate FIU-owned art galleries located in South Beach from the comfort of their homes.

Webinar series “On the Avenue,” hosted its latest episode on zoom for Miami Art Week, featuring exhibits from the Wolfsonian Museum, Miami Beach Urban Studios, and the Jewish Museum of Florida on Dec. 1 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Wolfsonian chief curator, Silvia Barisione, presented the first two exhibits located on the first floor of the Wolfsonian, “Art for Justice” and “The New Deal: Art Relief.

“It deals with the subject of the [Works Progress Administration],” said Barisione. “A program created in 1935 by President Roosevelt to relieve mass unemployment.”

Both exhibits featured a diverse array of artwork from the 1930s including prints, posters, and even government-sanctioned murals. Their topics on economic hardships and racial strife remain relevant today.

“The idea was to create exhibitions that could be related to our contemporary situation,” said Barisione.

After the first tour, MBUS senior special events manager, Colette Mello, presented the textile-based gallery by featured artist and FIU alumna, Leandra Arvazetti.

One of Leandra Arvazetti’s installations displayed at Miami Beach Urban Studios. (Photos courtesy of MBUS.)

Arvazetti’s gallery, “Resurfacing: Emerging from the Storm,” was influenced by the struggles and trauma experienced during the pandemic.

“The inspiration came from this emotional explosion that needed to happen because of everything we’ve experienced,” said Arvazetti. “we’ve all felt like we’re underwater, and we need to express that. We need to take time to resurface.”

The South Florida native then discussed her creative process, which she admits requires planning, improvisation, and finding the right aesthetic.

“It’s just about going to the gallery laying the materials out and doing what I like to call play,” said Arvazetti. “I just ‘play’ around with the material.”

After the brief discussion, Mello passed the hosting duties to the curator of the Jewish Museum of Florida, Jacqueline Goldstein, who led the final virtual tour of a gallery titled, “Will Eisner: Comic Creator, Illustrator and Innovator.

The gallery covers the work of the legendary Jewish-American comic book pioneers, featuring original illustrations, first-edition comic books, graphic novels and self- portraits. 

“[Eisner] is the father of the graphic novel,” said Goldstein. “His first graphic novel is called ‘Contract with God,’ which was a semi-autobiographical story, which he called sequential art.”

Eisner set a lot of his stories in New York City, where his childhood over there was the main source of his inspiration.

“And his poor upbringing, all the different people living in his neighborhood in New York City were all different ethnicities, had a really large effect on Eisner’s storytelling and his works,” said Goldstein.

The webinar concluded with an announcement for its next installment on Jan. 26 at 5 p.m. for Holocaust and Genocide Awareness Week.

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