Big Heads and Other Monumental Art

Based on the level of snark in my post about the Perez Art Museum, you might think we dislike abstract art. Not so! We love — and own — plenty of abstract pieces. What we don’t have is any deep understanding of the sophisticated hidden meanings in the non-representational pieces. We either like the pieces or we don’t. One of the pleasant surprises about Miami is the proliferation of monumental art pieces, which tend to be abstract. Or at least somewhat hard to interpret, even if representational. Nonetheless, seeing artwork around the city is one of the highlights of our urban exploring.

Metal sculpture at the mouth of the Miami River (Brickell Key in the background). Not sure what it represents, but it’s definitely eye-catching.

I haven’t determined if the artwork is required (or beneficial) in getting approval to construct new buildings but it seems that most of the large projects downtown are flanked by giant pieces of art, which scale nicely to the buildings. While some might think that giant heads and indiscernible metal contraptions are a little strange or unsettling, I love rounding a corner on a major downtown street and being confronted by artwork.

Some of the pieces create connections with the history of Miami, like the multiple large sculptures of Tequestas located near the Miami River and the bigger-than-life statue of Julia Tuttle located in Bayfront Park. These items are particularly welcome since Miami, as a very new city, doesn’t have many palpable reminders of its history.



But many of the pieces are just visually interesting items that bring extra beauty to the area. I love artwork that serves no specific purpose other than to improve human experience. Compelling abstract pieces that encourage imagination are especially important additions to the city.

I haven’t been able to find a comprehensive directory or other resource for locating these pieces and giving information about the artists so our experiences will continue to be the product of happenstance — sometimes the best way to find interesting things!

Case in point: when paying a visit to the historic courthouse, I stumbled across a very interesting piece made from brushed metal — one of my favorite media. The sculpture is installed in a small park near the Government Center transit station, next to the Metrorail track, and signage indicates the piece is meant to evoke the motion of trains in its rippling, wave-like arches. This installation is on public property so thanks to the Miami-Dade Transit website I was actually able to find out a little about the piece.

Transit sculpture

A project about which we know very little from an artistic standpoint is the giant weeping girl located in front of 315 S. Biscayne Boulevard. This piece is in our “front yard” so we watched the installation from the initial (confusing) creation of what looked like a knee-high fountain to the final placement of the armless torso and head of a milky white girl. She has a wistful expression and water emerges from her eyes in a steady trickle. It’s not the most cheerful sculpture around, but it’s pretty arresting — especially at night, when the piece seems to glow from within. Just one of the many serendipitous artwork discoveries we’ve enjoyed here in the 305!


Sculpture behind 777 Brickell.I think this looks like a cross between a sailboat regatta and a dinosaur skeleton.


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