de la Cruz Collections

de la cruz collection Miami
Typically, tourists head to major museums to see art. Some, visit small boutiquey galleries. Miami has an outstanding selection of private collections, open to the public.

Open House 

The de la Cruz Collection is located on 41st Street in the Miami Design District. Carlos and Rosa began buying art 30 years ago. Eventually, their Key Biscayne home became more of a museum. People frequently strolled through their residence to view their stunning collection of art. Due to the extraordinary demand, they chose to find a dedicated space for their cherished pieces. They opened the Design District gallery on the first day of Art Basel 2009.

The de la Cruzes established this place with a sense of love for art, and love for the community. Neither a foundation, 501c (3) nor the recipient of government funding, it serves as a space to provide awareness and education in the visual arts.  As such, there is no entrance fee, and there are free gallery guides to accompany all visitors.

Set amid three floors of mostly white backdrops, approximately 300 pieces of art are displayed at a time. That represents just a third of their private collection. The couple began collecting art from Latin America, then Europe. Rosa enjoyed visiting Germany and would bring back remarkable works of art. Oftentimes, the de la Cruzes built relationships with the artists. Not until they were seasoned collectors did they seek guidance from an art agent to help them expand their collection.

Rosa, not a young woman, still comes to the museum, daily. She is involved in all aspects of the center. Even the hanging of the art.

Snapshots from the Collection

This is a first-class institution for contemporary art. It houses outstanding examples of sculpture, mixed media, painting, photography, and prints.

The rotating collection in the Design District is very three-dimensional. Immediately after passing through the entrance doors, there is a near floor-to-ceiling reverse candle drip Stalagmite sculpture by Sterling Ruby. Several of his paintings are in the same area, along with Basin Theology/False Positive, a smaller multi-colored filled bowl-shaped ceramic sculpture. Ruby is a German-born, Los Angeles-based artist who works in a large variety of media. In 2008, The New York Times called him “one of the most interesting artists to emerge in the twentieth century.”

One set of two primarily flat pieces of art appear to be silver lace, from afar. Close up, you can detect metalwork on the 120” X 96” distinctive pair. The creative work of Rudolf Stingel, his approach is a bit unorthodox. Italian-born New York-based Stingel immerses Persian rugs into silver oil and enamel and then presses them into the canvas to create the stamped metal effect. The de la Cruz Collection pamphlet explains, “There is a highly tactile quality in the textures of these paintings that make them sensual to the viewer. Rudolf Stingel’s monochromatic silver paintings are saturated with a sense of opulence. He silkscreens silver paint through the fabric, which produces delicate images resembling Persian rugs, as well as creates works that act like ghostly mirrors. While being visually seductive, they challenge the notion of what constitutes a painting.”

One set of two primarily flat pieces of art appear to be silver lace, from afar. Close up, you can detect metalwork on the 120” X 96” distinctive pair. The creative work of Rudolf Stingel, his approach is a bit unorthodox. Italian-born New York-based Stingel immerses Persian rugs into silver oil and enamel and then presses them into the canvas to create the stamped metal effect. The de la Cruz Collection pamphlet explains, “There is a highly tactile quality in the textures of these paintings that make them sensual to the viewer. Rudolf Stingel’s monochromatic silver paintings are saturated with a sense of opulence. He silkscreens silver paint through the fabric, which produces delicate images resembling Persian rugs, as well as creates works that act like ghostly mirrors. While being visually seductive, they challenge the notion of what constitutes a painting.”

Another textured frame piece is created out of pulled chewing gum strands on canvas.  Dan Colen’s Hot Box measures 48” X 36.” To preserve the work, the room has to be humidity-controlled. The other Colen pieces on display at the de la Cruz Collection are made from compacted punk rock steel studs on canvas.

Two replicas of common objects, a water cooler and a roll-down gate, are the creations of Adam McEwen using graphite. These “readymades” take the mundane out of the ordinary, and turn functional items into art. Sitting right next to the graphite life-size structures is a painting McEwen brought to life using four large flat cellulose sponges as his 74” X 56” canvas.

Don’t ignore the de la Cruz staff office. Seth Price, an Israeli living in New York, has created a trio of three-dimensional shiny hanging art pieces. Using vintage bomber jackets, he vacuum packs them into high-impact polystyrene. As unique as these are, Price has other pieces of art in the office that bear zero resemblance to the artist’s metallic bomber creations. Business Envelope, is an inkjet on protective film over mirrored acrylic, while TBA is a series of eight calendars produced with archival paper on aluminum.

Nurturing Artists and Enthusiasts

The third floor of the building houses an impressive art library — Rosa’s personal collection. Guests and students are welcome to peruse the catalogs and books.

As part of an outreach program with the neighboring Design and Architecture Senior High (DASH), students are sent to New York to deepen their love and knowledge for art and design. In 2016, 30 students attended a three-week pre-college program at the New York School of Visual Arts. Another ten students, during the same time frame, attended Parsons The New School of Design in New York City. Both these programs provide talented students with college credit, material to strengthen their portfolios and expose them to some of the greatest cultural sites in the country.

On the college level, all the BFA graduating class from New World School of the Arts are invited to a trip abroad, accompanied by Rosa and the staff. This program has been going on since 201. Last year, 28 grads and two professors went to Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’An for two weeks. This year, it coincides with the Venice Biennale.

For younger kids, there are free weeklong summer workshops in which they learn from artists, and are served breakfast and lunch.

The totally privately funded de la Cruz Collection is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Other private collections open to the public, just south, in Wynwood, are the Margulies and Rubell.

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