Exhibitions at the Library
Art Services & Exhibitions Department
The Library System has a long history of cultural and educational exhibitions, and makes a special call to artists on a rolling basis for temporary exhibitions that correspond to selected annual themes and/or that highlight the library’s special collections and services.
Additionally, the Vasari Project is an archive that documents the development of the visual arts in Miami‑Dade County since 1945.
For more information about the art collection, exhibition programs or the Vasari archive, call 305‑375‑5599 or e‑mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Visual Narrative
Miami-Dade Public Library System's Permanent Art Collection and Exhibitions
La Perla de las Antillas
An Exhibition from the Library’s Collections featuring items with a focus from the late 1800s to the early 1900s
January 17 - April 19, 2020
West Dade Regional
Special Collections & Archives and the Permanent Art Collection present La Perla de las Antillas, an exhibition intended to share a time of Cuba for those who have never known it, have forgotten, and for those who will never forget. The exhibition will feature rare books, lithograph prints, ephemera, photography, poetry, and more celebrating Cuba’s history, poetry, and architecture of the 1800s and early 1900s.
Pearl of the Antilles was dubbed so after the romantic title given to Antonio Carlo Napoleone Gallenga's journey to Cuba in 1873, seeing as it was the largest island of the West Indies upon his arrival. Used as a base to continue Spanish colonization and travel to neighboring lands, settlers prospered from her rich soil plantations of tobacco, coffee and sugar. The Cuban people would soon earn their independence from Spain in the Spanish American War of the late 1800s, a fight bridging together a relationship between the United States and Cuba which would later sever at the dawn of the Cuban Revolution of 1959. Prior to the embargo and the island being held in time, it was a destination for many—hypnotized by the fascination and magic of Cuba which could awaken the imagination of travelers, scholars, writers and artists from all over the world.
Poets from the island that are included in this exhibit showcase the illustrative power of language and poetry. Jose Marti, Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda, Jose Maria Heredia, and Dulce Maria Loynaz are showcased in this exhibition as examples of poets that have received international recognition and success as masters of their craft. Provided in Spanish and English, the sections of poetry have been chosen for a variety of reasons including their popularity within the culture, their elegance of execution, and their connection to the island’s natural majesty.
The SWEAT Broadsheet Portfolio
From the Permanent Art Collection of the Miami‑Dade Public Library System
January 10 ‑ April 9, 2020
This group of work is part of SWEAT, the first series of broadsheets created in 2009 ‑ 2012. The SWEAT Broadsheet collaboration was initiated in the summer of 2009 by a group of South Florida book artists, novelists, poets and printmakers. During a succession of planned events, artists and writers from Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties were invited to meet and share their work with the goal of promoting collaborations across genres by inviting participants to produce literary broadsheets. Thus, the SWEAT Portfolio was formed.
In total, the SWEAT Broadsheet Portfolio consists of 79 12" x 18" ‘broadsheets’ produced by 46 South Florida visual artists and 40 South Florida writers. This exhibition features a small selection of the portfolio.
More of the SWEAT Broadsheet Portfolio can be seen in the MDPLS Digital Collection.
Elizabeth Catlett: The Future of Equality
A 35‑Year Retrospective
December 2, 2019 - March 31, 2020
Main Library, Lobby Gallery
An exhibition in collaboration with the Dade County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Elizabeth Catlett (1915‑2012), an internationally renowned American and Mexican sculptor and artist, infused her work with her strong sense of heritage and social activism. Growing up in Washington, D.C., she was influenced as a child by her own life experiences and her grandmother’s stories of the horrors of slavery and heroism of oppressed people. As a graduate of Howard University and the first person to obtain a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from the University of Iowa, Catlett studied under artists who encouraged her to have her art reflect her unique view of life.
Primarily known for her sculptures, Catlett also created prints, lithographs and linocuts which feature persons ranging from Harriet Tubman to Angela Davis. This exhibition proudly includes linocut works from her series The Negro Women, 1946‑1947 from the Permanent Art Collection of the Miami‑Dade Public Library System. This series demonstrates an artistic narrative of the experience of African‑American women in the 19th and 20th centuries. First displayed by the library in 1984, this new exhibit revisits Catlett’s work, her world view, political convictions and beliefs thirty‑five years later. It also depicts her connections to Miami. The timeless quality of Catlett’s art and activism help examine what is the “future of equality” today.
View lithographs, correspondence and other memorabilia around the Miami‑Dade Public Library System’s 1984 exhibition The Graphics of Elizabeth Catlett as well as fifteen linocut prints in the library’s Digital Collections.
“We have to create art for liberation and for life.”
Plan(T): Miami Mangrove Forest
Eco-art by Xavier Cortada
September 19, 2019 - January 18, 2020
Main Library, 2nd Floor Gallery
In 2004, Miami environmental artist Xavier Cortada worked with hundreds of Hands on Miami volunteers to metaphorically reforest the I‑95 underpasses in the downtown Miami, Little Havana and Allapattah neighborhoods.
Cortada's images of mangrove seedlings were used by volunteers to paint dozens of columns beneath I‑95 and create the “Miami Mangrove Forest.”
Fast‑forward two years, Cortada staged an ecological art intervention with his “Reclamation Project,” where the community has since planted eight acres of mangroves on Biscayne Bay.
This art exhibition features the original drawings of mangrove seedlings that were initially exhibited at the OMNIART Miami Art Fair in December 2004.
Fifteen years later, Cortada is asking residents to actually grow Miami’s mangrove forest by planting salt‑tolerant mangrove seedlings in their yards. Through his “Plan(T)” eco‑art project they will plan for the future and plant mangrove seedlings to help combat saltwater intrusion, serve as storm buffers and prepare for sea‑level rise.
Recently acquired as part of the Miami‑Dade Public Library System’s Permanent Art Collection, Cortada’s “Miami Mangrove Forest” drawings will be permanently exhibited at each library branch to encourage residents to continue to learn and work together to “Plan(T)” for the future.
Learn more at www.cortadaprojects.org/planT.
The Holocaust & The Anguish of Liberation
A collaboration of artwork from the Permanent Art Collection of the Miami‑Dade Public Library System and Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
January 26 - April 26, 2020
Miami Beach Regional
The Holocaust was the systematic, state‑sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its allies and collaborators from 1933 to 1945. This tragic event in world history and its aftermath are represented by two different artwork series combined to form a unified artistic experience.
The first presents posters distributed by the Anti‑Defamation League of B’nai B’rith that depict a timeline of the historic events starting with the appointment of Adolf Hitler as the Chancellor of Germany, the enactment of the “Final Solution,” and culminating with stories of resistance and justice.
The second series is The Anguish of Liberation exhibition from Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel, which includes paintings created by Holocaust survivor artists from 1945 to 1947 and illustrate how they reacted to their liberation through art. The artworks reflect the tension between the need to document the terrible events and the desire to find solace through art and imagination. For most of these Holocaust survivor artists, the ability to paint again signified freedom and renewed independence.
Presented in partnership with the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach, with special thanks to Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel and the Florida Department of Education.
Through the Dark Valley: Primo Levi’s Auschwitz Liberation Testimony
Lecture in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz
With Professor Nicola Gavioli, Florida International University
Sunday, January 26, 3:00 p.m.
Seventy‑five years after the liberation of Auschwitz, the testimonial works of Primo Levi occupy a central role in the preservation of the memory of the Holocaust. This lecture aims to illuminate key aspects of Levi’s works on the experience of Auschwitz and celebrate his enduring testimony of the catastrophe.
Nicola Gavioli, PhD, teaches in the Department of Modern Languages at Florida International University in Miami. Witness literature is among his research areas.
Gitxsan First Nation
Silkscreen Prints from the Permanent Art Collection of the Miami‑Dade Public Library System
February 6 - May 30, 2020
Main Library, 2nd Floor Gallery
The Gitxsan are an indigenous people of British Columbia, Canada, who live along the Skeena River. The word Gitxsan means “people of the River of Mist.” Gitxsan are a matrilineal society that consists of four clans: wolf, frog, fireweed, and eagle. Storytelling, songs and oral history are a major part of their belief system.
This exhibition features a beautiful collection of original silkscreen prints from the Miami‑Dade Public Library System’s Permanent Art Collection by six Gitxsan artists including Walter Harris, Vernon Stephens, Art “Myanxa” Sterritt, Neil J. Sterritt, Ken M. Mowatt, and Earl Muldoe.
The Gitxsan are noted for their traditional arts, ranging from weaving complex Chilkat blankets to intricately carving mountain‑sheep horn spoons and the totem poles that the heirs of chiefs were obligated to raise as memorials. Learning and producing traditional crafts are encouraged by programs of Ksan (the reconstructed Gitxsan village which serves as a cultural center). These artists created their own unique styles that draw on traditional Gitxsan culture and history.