Bass Museum of Art, Miami

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

If you enjoy art, then this museum is your diamond in the rough. Miami is home to many art museums and art galleries. This was my first visit to the Bass Museum of Art and a pleasant surprise. Thanks to my friend Cecilia, I was invited as her guest for an exhibition funded by the Mapfre Foundation.

In the heart of the Art Deco district in Miami Beach, the Bass Museum of Art offers an overview of major European paintings, sculptures and textiles.

Tonight's temporary exhibition showcased 20th century works on paper by renowned Spanish artists including Miro and Picasso. The works ranged from abstract to the realist.

I recall a class I took on the art of Picasso while studying at the University of Valencia, in Spain. This was in 1988. My creative right brain could not quite connect with the abstract left brain, but I learned enough to judiciously study and appreciate the artwork at the prestigious Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain. But like all new languages and skills, if you don't use it, you lose it. Thankfully my friend Cecilia Paz is a professional artist with a Master's Degree in realist body forms. Her brief explanations of the various works afforded me a less sheepish and more enlightened experience.

By the way, Cecilia also teaches art appreciation at a local university. I imagine she's very popular for her genuine passion of art and easy teaching style.

Like Cecilia, the realist forms were my preferred art work such as the one pictured below.

I wondered if I would run into anyone I know--again, Miami is a small big city. Sure enough in the social room where wine and hors'doevres were served by waiters in white gloves, I ran into a former colleague and the best photographer of food and drink--Sid Hoeltzell. In my days as Marketing Manager of Pollo Tropical (a local restaurant chain in Miami), I had the privilege to work with Sid. His studio/home, located in Miami's Design District, is decorated with original photos of his work, collections from his trips and brought to life with stories of scuba diving, fishing and cooking. Sid is an acclaimed photographer but equally passionate about cooking. Working with Sid was never routine or boring. I recall one photoshoot that went beyond quitting time, where cilantro was the hot topic (perhaps brought on by champagne bubbly at the stroke of 6pm). Somehow, Sid convinced me to choreograph the "cilantro dance". I vaguely remember the conversation leading up to this change in development. Aah yes. My company had once filmed a commercial with a two minute dance (some lame imitation of the macarena) and it was choreographed by a Dolphin football Cheerleader. In my champagne-induced confidence, I boasted I could do better. My job was hard work but also lots of fun.

Sid's client list boasts companies such as Bacardi, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and impressively the Vatican Museums in Rome, Italy. To learn about the famous (or infamous) Sid, and his award-winning work, visit

Sid, I'm looking forward to your yearly crawfish picnic in April! Viva Cilantro!

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