Blue Star Museums Blog (Archive)

Five Questions with the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami

Miami, Florida

Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami © Steven Brooke

As one of the most arts-rich cities in the country, Miami has no shortage of wonderful museums and fantastic galleries. One of the most exciting destinations however is the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, where the envelope is continuously pushed toward progressive, cutting-edge work. This summer, visitors to MOCA can explore the museum's 600-piece collection, or immerse themselves in Ryan Trecartin's seven-video installation, Any Ever, which will transform the museum's galleries into something akin to living, breathing sets. We spoke with MOCA's Valerie Ricordi about what makes the museum a Florida favorite.

NEA: In your opinion, what makes the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami unique?

VALERIE RICORDI: Since its beginnings over 15 years ago as a local arts center, the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami has become a major cultural institution. It has made North Miami a regular stop on the international art circuit and a leader in the art world by continuing to present contemporary art in innovative ways. Thanks to an endowment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, MOCA is one of the few contemporary art museums in the nation to have a dedicated source of funding to present work by emerging and experimental artists, many of whom have gone on to international acclaim. What makes us unique is that we organize most of our own exhibitions, and you are sure to see new art or art in new ways.

NEA: What’s your favorite part of the museum?

RICORDI: A large part of our mission is to  make contemporary art accessible to a wide audience. Through the MOCA Art Institute, over 20,000 people of all ages are served annually through our very active program of studio classes, enrichment courses, art history lectures, symposia, and films. In addition, we have a partnership with the North Miami public schools, which includes after-school programs for high school students five days a week. My favorite part about MOCA is the transformative effect it has on our audience.

NEA: Ryan Trecartin's work, Any Ever, will be installed from June 24 through September 4, 2011. Can you tell me about the exhibit?

RICORDI: Any Ever is Ryan Trecartin’s seven-video epic produced in Miami over a year ago. The interconnected films are a study of contemporary culture in which he incorporates pop lingo and consumer images into narratives that redefine signifiers of race, gender, and sexuality. This will be the first time the project will be shown in its entirety in Miami, which was the setting and the inspiration for Any Ever. MOCA galleries will be transformed into domestic spaces that reflect the sets in the videos to create an more intimate viewing experience.

NEA: Are there particular pieces or parts of the collection that you would recommend for children?

RICORDI: Miami artist Pablo Cano has been creating commissioned marionette productions for MOCA since 1997 and his annual performances have become a highly anticipated tradition for the community. Each marionette is a complete sculpture in its own right, comprised of materials such as lamp shades, clock faces, chair rails, and cigarette foil, refashioned to create figures so convincing in their characters that spectators initially do not spot the common materials that give these marionettes their form. Cano’s productions are a multi-layered mediation on contemporary life and fanciful entertainment for all ages. Every year, Cano donates one of his marionettes to the museum. Those works and their productions have a strong appeal to family audiences.

NEA: What do you hope visitors take away from their experience at MOCA?

RICORDI: I hope visitors leave with an expanded view of the art world and a desire to come back and learn more.

Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami
770 NE 125th Street
North Miami, Florida 33161

Please visit the Blue Star Museum website for more information about the program and to find participating museums.

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