Thurs 10/17-1/5: Concrete Paradise: The Miami Marine Stadium

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Concrete Paradise: The Miami Marine Stadium
curated by Rosa Lowinger 
October 17, 2013 – January 5, 2014 
In the Robert and Marian Fewell Gallery 
Presented by the Coral Gables Museum and Friends of the Miami Marine Stadium 

Every city has a building that is emblematic of its culture and history. New York has the Empire State Building and Paris has the Eiffel Tower. For Miami, Florida, that building is the Ralph Munroe Marine Stadium, a modernist concrete structure that looks like an origami rendition of the Sydney Opera House. Designed in 1963 by a young Cuban architect named Hilario Candela, this 6,566-seat stadium is a marvel of design and engineering that takes its architectural cues from Havana’s Tropicana Nightclub. With a football field-length roofline (356 ft.) that was the longest span of cantilevered concrete in the world when it was built, the stadium was designed for watching speed boat racing at a time when Miami was the epicenter of the sport. The Marine Stadium also mirrored the cultural heartbeat of Miami, hosting stars like Jimmy Buffett, Dave Brubeck, the Beach Boys, and Ray Charles on its dramatic floating stage. Flamboyant enough to serve as a set for Elvis Presley’s film Clambake, it was also majestic enough to host religious services and political rallies. 

Though shuttered and neglected since 1992 when the City cited unsafe conditions after Hurricane Andrew, Miami’s architectural jewel has continued to be a focal point for cutting-edge artistic trends. Graffiti artists and skateboarders have turned its ramps and raw concrete expanses into one of the nation’s most important venues for street art. 

Contemporary artists, engineering scholars, architects, photographers, and designers continue to be mesmerized and influenced by its soaring roofline and panoramic water views.

The show will feature artworks by a number of high profile as well as local artists who have used the stadium as subject matter. In addition to the graffiti artists Crome and Fish, we will have works by NY sculptor and video artist Marie Lorenz, and Alexandre Arrechea, whose large scale architectural sculptures were recently featured on the Park Avenue median. 

This October, the Coral Gables Museum will mount “Concrete Paradise” - the first ever museum exhibit devoted to the Marine Stadium’s flashy past, edgy dilapidated present, and its spectacular proposed comeback as a world class sports and performance venue. Featuring film clips, antique hydroplanes, videos of Parkour athletes’ stunts, site-specific graffiti murals, and much more, this multi-media exhibit will bring Miami’s most daringly modern building back to dazzling life. 

Presented in partnership with the Friends of the Marine Stadium and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

Thank you to our generous exhibit sponsors: American Express, The Suntrust Foundation, The Villagers, Shelley Daniel Rutherford, Claire Frances Whitehurst, Claire-Angel W. Harris, Victoria Louise W. Glattfelder, Todd Kessler of Coralstone Press, Northern Trust Bank and Trigram G.C.