The bustling streets of Miami contain colorful characters and art murals, drag queens and vehicle wraps, street parades and steamy cafecito. These familiar sights, sounds and smells of the city have been re-created inside HistoryMiami Museum for its new exhibit “Avenues of Expression,” on view now.
The show, subtitled “Street Traditions in Miami,” uses street artifacts, videos, installations and murals to re-create Miami’s distinctive flavor. On display are flashy costumes from Coconut Grove’s nutty King Mango Strut parade and an espresso machine from Sergio’s, the restaurant responsible for caffeinating Cubans for decades.
Other artifacts document political movements and social conflicts that sparked protests across Miami. A sign decorated in graphics of flames recalls the mass celebrations that broke out in the wake of Fidel Castro’s death in 2016. Its message, also written in Spanish, reads: “Satan, Fidel is now yours. Give him what he deserves. Don’t let him rest in peace.” Nearby is a T-shirt bearing Donald Trump’s face (caption: “#covfefe”), along with Alessandra Mondolfi's protest-themed props, such as her American-flag vests decorated in phrases such as “Love Wins” and “No Hate.”
Museumgoers seeking more insight about these Miami stories can enter one of 11 telephone booths scattered throughout the show, containing pre-recorded stories told by Miami artists and scene-makers highlighted in the exhibit. In one display, a building façade of the fictitious Little Haiti beauty salon “Tififi” features sign art by muralist Serge Toussaint. In his recording, Toussaint confesses how his family rejected his dream to become an artist, only supporting his craft once they saw him painting a mural during a CNN broadcast.
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday; through Jan. 13, 2019
Where: HistoryMiami, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami
Contact: 305-375-1942 or HistoryMiami.org
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