November 20, 2008
For Immediate Release
Frost Art Museum
Frost Art Museum presents Celebrated Artist Xavier Cortada
Artist's 40-foot Tapestry is Winner of Art in Public Places Competition
Miami, (Nov. 18, 2008) One of the first sights that will greet visitors
to FIU's new Frost Art Museum in its grand opening Nov. 29 is a
stunning 40-foot tapestry created by celebrated Miami artist Xavier
Cortada. The piece entitled "aer" or air, which hangs in the museum's
soaring atrium, is the first of four commissioned works that the artist
describes as "digital tapestries".
The works are inspired by the four elements of water, air, fire and
earth, and will be rotated throughout the year. Cortada's work was
chosen from among 80 artists who submitted proposals to the Frost for
an installation as part of Art in State Buildings.
"The piece is breath-taking," said Carol Damian, director and
chief curator of the Frost. "Along with our beautiful building, this
work makes quite a first impression."
The work was designed to complement the 46,000-square-foot building
which is itself a work of art designed by Yann Weymouth , design
director of Hellmuth, Obata Kassabaum (hok). The new Frost Art Museum
cost $16 million to build and includes nine galleries and 10,000 square
feet of breath-taking gallery spaces. Design began in 2001, and two
years later, Skanska USA, the construction firm, broke ground as the
museum was officially renamed The Patricia Phillip Frost Art Museum.
Construction began in 2004. The building was completed in 2007. Some
6,580 pieces of stone and 42,390 square feet of granite from China were
used to construct the building. Its design features make the Frost a
unique venue for experiencing the visual arts in Florida. No art
museums in the state have attempted to exhibit paintings in natural
light, although many works were created in and meant to be seen in
daylight. The new Frost replaces the less than 3,000 square-foot space
in the Primera Casa building that was home to the museum since 1977.
The new museum building opens to the public Nov. 29 with six new
exhibitions including Modern Masters from the Smithsonian American Art
Museu. The opening also kicks off more than a week of events
celebrating the debut of Miami's first new art museum in a decade and
the only major Miami museum that charges no admission. Opening events
will culminate with the Frost's Art Basel sponsored event, the sixth
annual Breakfast in the Park, featuring sculptor Joel Shapiro.
Cortada says that the tapestries composed in striking colors that
relate to each element suggest "that if we look more closely at our
surroundings, there are new worlds to discover. Indeed, inside the
museum, there are works by artists who strive to push boundaries to
further human understanding."
Recently, Cortada took his own words to heart when he participated in
an artist-in-residence program in Antarctica. Sponsored by the National
Science Foundation's Antarctic Artists and Writers Program, the artist
was moved by the latest scientific information gathered on climate
change. He asked the researchers to provide him with ice core samples
from their investigations that he then used in an innovative way to
create works of art. He used the samples as brushes, dipping them into
acrylic paints before applying them to paper, often allowing them to
melt and pool, while the ancient sediment contained within adhered to
the surface.This series of 9 x 12 abstract works convey a sense of
Antarctica's flowing ice streams and vast ice sheets as if captured
from above by a satellite lens.
This residency, completed in January 2007, also inspired his use
of the elements in the commissioned works for the Frost Art Museum,
Cortada says. Awareness of the interconnectedness of all things in our
universe is what he hopes to convey to the viewer. In the university
setting, Cortada hopes that his tapestries "will invite students and
faculty from all fields to experience culture and explore beyond what
they are taught to learn in their respective disciplines."
The Frost Art Museum is an AAM accredited museum and Smithsonian
affiliate. The museum is located at 10975 SW 17th St. across from the
Blue garage and adjacent to the Wertheim Performing Arts Center on the
University Park campus. From Nov. 29 through Sunday, Dec. 7, the museum
will be open every day from 10 a.m.to 5 p.m. to celebrate the opening.
Normal hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday 10- 5.and Sunday
noon-5. The Frost is closed on all legal holidays. For more
information, please visit www.frostartmuseum.org or call 305-348-2890.