December 6, 2007 - Vizcaya Museum and Gardens - Contemporary Art Installations Stimulate Dialogue
December 6, 2007

Contemporary Art Installations Stimulate Dialogue

Contemporary Art Installations Stimulate Dialogue
Works by Cristina Lei Rodriguez and Catherine Sullivan on View during Art Basel

3251 South Miami Avenue
Miami, Florida 33129

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens presents site-specific installations by Miami-based sculptor Cristina Lei Rodriguez and Chicago-based theater and film artist Catherine Sullivan. Rodriguez’s work opened on November 8 and Sullivan’s on November 29, 2007. The artists were invited to explore Vizcaya and its history and to develop artworks as part of the Museum’s Contemporary Arts Project. Both installations will be on view at the National Historic Landmark through February 24, 2008.

“The Contemporary Arts Project, started in November 2006, has been interesting and successful,” said Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Executive Director of Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. “In addition to introducing visitors to thought-provoking, site-specific artworks, the Contemporary Arts Project reinvigorates Vizcaya with the creative dialogue that characterized its foundation and gives our local community an opportunity to return and see something new and different.”

On November 8, 2007 Vizcaya Museum & Gardens launched Cristina Lei Rodriguez’s installation, Struggling for Grandeur. The work–made entirely of plastic–responds to the topiaries found in the formal gardens of Vizcaya. Struggling for Grandeur, which is about seven feet tall, is exhibited in the center of the Tea Room, which features stained glass doors overlooking the gardens. Its title references the parallels between James Deering’s efforts to build something grand in early Miami and Ms. Rodriguez’s to imbue her synthetic materials with artistic significance.

Cristina Lei Rodriguez uses a wide mix of media. Epoxy, resin as well as consumer products such as plastic flowers, are just a few of the materials the artist combines to create one-of-a-kind pieces. A graduate of California College of Arts and Crafts, San Francisco, with a BA from Middlebury College (VT), Rodriguez has exhibited at The Museum of Contemporary Art (Jacksonville, FL), The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY), Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst (Oslo, Norway), The Centre for Contemporary Art (Warsaw, Poland), as well as various galleries in the United States. Struggling for Grandeur was commissioned by Vizcaya Museum & Gardens.

Catherine Sullivan’s new multi-channel video installation, Triangle of Need, opened at Vizcaya on November 29, 2007. Triangle of Need was executed in collaboration with Los Angeles composer Sean Griffin, Minneapolis choreographer Dylan Skybrook, and Nigerian director Kunle Afolayan. The work was filmed primarily at Vizcaya and in a nondescript apartment in Chicago, the city in which Vizcaya patron James Deering’s International Harvester firm was based. Triangle of Need introduces “Neanderthals,” e-mail scams, and figure skating into Vizcaya’s lush and seemingly placid environment. The resulting video is at once visually seductive and conceptually alienating, mixing cinematic conventions with difficult and abstract ideas about evolution, human behavior, and social inequality.

Vizcaya provided a relevant backdrop for Sullivan’s focus on class and the evolution of wealth in America. But Sullivan also sought to meet the estate’s “high standard for the imagination.” Explaining how the property was compatible with her approach, the artist noted: “Vizcaya is a place of great historical ‘noise,’ with a pastiche of styles and decorative chronologies; there is no singular experience of one moment in time. Histories overlap and leave behind loose ends.”

Triangle of Need was co-commissioned by Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, A Foundation (Liverpool, UK), and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN).

Sullivan’s and Rodriquez’s installations will be on view during the run of Art Basel Miami Beach, which combines an international art show with special exhibitions, parties and crossover events. Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is one of several exhibition and event sites. For more information on Art Basel Miami beach, visit

About The Contemporary Arts Project
The Contemporary Arts Projects engages artists in developing and presenting artworks reflecting their perspective of Vizcaya. After a preliminary immersion visit to the Museum, each artist creates an original work that is presented through related public programming. The Contemporary Arts Projects was launched in Fall 2006 with Organic Pipes, a sound installation by Miami-based artist Gustavo Matamoros using elements from Vizcaya’s historic pipe organ. In Spring 2007, Vizcaya exhibited Still Life, a short film by New York-based visual artist Anna Gaskell. The works by Cristina Lei Rodriguez and Catherine Sullivan will be on view at Vizcaya through February 24, 2008.

About Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Built by agricultural industrialist James Deering in 1916, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, a National Historic Landmark, features a main house, ten acres of formal gardens, a hardwood hammock, and soon-to-be-restored historic village that will provide additional venues for programs and community outreach. Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, located at 3251 South Miami Avenue, is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit or call 305-250-9133.

Media Contacts:
Jane Watkins — Watkins PR

Holly Blount — Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
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