+5: Recent Acquisitions from the Wolfsonian

 

The Wolfsonian Museum celebrates its 15 years with an exhibition of its acquisitions from the last five.

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By Tom Austin

In 2005, 10 years after its launch, the Wolfsonian assembled X: A Decade of Collecting. Five years later, +5, curated by the Wolfsonian's Sarah Schleuning, has inspired another show of acquisitions.  As is always the case with the Wolfsonian, everything on view is thoughtful, sharp and accessible as art, scholarship or pure entertainment.

Some of the acquired objects, such as Charles Cowles' gift of a 1900 George Ohr vase, are in the permanent Art and Design in the Modern Age show on the fifth floor. But most of the pieces are displayed in the full-on +5 show, occupying the seventh floor.

The first gallery is an elegant prelude to all the madcap modernism and the second gallery explores the Florida-as-Arcadia theme with works like Frederick Dana Marsh's 1928 drawings of Timucua Indian chief Macaya, William Henry Jackson's photograph of the Royal Palm Hotel on the impossibly bucolic Miami River and assorted Miami Beach postcards.

The third gallery touches on Anglo-Japanese design, Dutch Art Nouveau and the Bauhaus while the fourth gallery contains glimpses of commercial lyricism, such as the Charles Marshall gift of a Pullman Company leaflet culled from the Chicago Railroad Fair of 1948.

In the show's final gallery is a selection of propaganda art, one of the strengths of The Wolfsonian's collection, spanning the 2008 purchase of a Gio Ponti table sculpture with the symbol of Mussolini's Fascist government to a 1936 Vierthaler broadsheet denouncing ``degenerate art.'' 


+5: Recent Acquisitions from the Wolfsonian Collection, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; open noon to 6 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Sunday; noon to 9 p.m. Friday. Closed July 4.

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