Nevertheless, major international museum exhibits of Latin American artists bypass Miami. This fall, significant exhibits of Antonio Berni, Mira Schendel, and Waltercio Caldas arenâ€™t traveling here.
Why does this keep happening? Independent curator Elizabeth Cerejido offers her opinion: â€œThere are no public institutions in Miami that have committed to the study and exhibition of the artistic production in Latin America, both from a historical perspective and from the context of contemporary art. Â I think itâ€™s ironic that Miami is perceived as â€˜the gateway to Latin Americaâ€™ with regard to the arts because few public institutions, if any, actively cultivate working relationships or exchange initiatives with the myriad of cultural institutions in the region. There is reciprocity on a much more â€˜grassrootsâ€™ levelâ€”artists come and go between Latin America and Miami, collectors, etc., but at the institutional level there is still a huge gap and missed opportunity to create a systematic program that articulates a long-term vision for the study and collection of Latin American art within their broader institutional mission.â€
Nathan Timpano, University of Miami art history professor who curated â€œPan American Modernismâ€ for the Lowe, thinks that gap can be closed. He notes that often such traveling exhibitions â€œare arranged through intricate networks and connections within the museum world, so it is likely that Miami will begin to attract major exhibitions devoted to art from Latin America in the next few years as PAMM, MOCA, and other museums become globally recognized as institutions devoted to Latin American art.â€
Timpano, who teaches theory and criticism in art history courses at UM, adds: â€œThe increased attention on Latin American art in academia is focused on training future art historians, critics, curators and museum professionals in this arena.â€ He counsels patience while waiting â€œfor the next generation to enact change in Miamiâ€™s cultural offerings.â€
Roc Laseca, independent researcher with PhD in art theory and cultural prospective from University of La Laguna, has since 2007 divided his time between Miami and Canary Islands. Heâ€™s seen growing interest in cultural issues here but wants more. Thus heâ€™s involved with seminar â€œLatin Off Latin: Collecting Latin American Art Outside Latin Americaâ€ at Ideobox Artspace. Â â€œMiami is in a key situation,â€ he says.
MarÃa Del Valle, director of ArtCenter/South Florida, thinks that in terms of museums showing major exhibitions of Latin American artists, Miami is â€œfar behindâ€ Houston or Los Angeles. While Miami is indeed â€œgateway to Latin Americaâ€ for business, she says this moniker doesnâ€™t fit for culture. Del Valle seeks stronger Latin American connections: â€œIâ€™m very interested in Central America. Small countries with a tumultuous history of war, genocide, extreme poverty have given us an impressive number of good, young artists. This is something we are going to explore at the ArtCenter.â€