Day 5. Strike 1. Rosa de la Cruz´s House

Rosa. We love Rosa! Such a beautiful person.
On what must have been her 237th tour showing guests her collection her voice was hoarse, but her enthusiasm unfaltered. Always worth a trip over to Key Biscayne to drop in on her--apparently about 2,000 people also feel the same way and made the trek out to her surreally exquisite location. Breakfast was a very civilized affair, with muffins and strawberries on the rear lawn looking out onto the bay. Well heeled folks chatted and dined alongside Bozidar Brazda's Bogus Fellow Journey Man

--an installation consisting of a fallen parachutist, his reading material and his parachute caught in a tree. Somewhat gruesome but no challenge for the seduction of the modern white palace, the bright florida sun, and the mimosas.
Inside, we were handed 2 packets of a self-guided tour--one for each floor. The house's exhibit changes every year just in time for Art Basel. This year, there are almost 35 international visual artists and a variety of video artists represented within 30 rooms of the house (and the garden). All but 10 of the pieces were created in the 21st Century! The others are from the 1990's. Rosa curates and collects all the pieces herself and is clearly dedicated to supporting contemporary international artisits!On one of her tours, she explained that the theme running through this year's exhibit is cultural debris. Building on the idea that we cannot escape pop culture and the images therein, artists are again appropriating those which may have already been appropriated by our culture and repackaging within a new context, adding or teasing out additional significance.
On another tour, Rosa admitted that she has told her kids to "bulldoze the house when I'm gone. Who's going to want to buy a 16,000 square foot house with one bedroom?" Originally, this was the house she lived in. She kept buying more art that rendered her furniture invasive, so she kept removing the furniture and eventually had to buy the house across the street so that she could keep her bed. She told us this, she says, "just so we don't worry about her [welfare]." One of the attendees said, "we were concerned."By leading the tours herself with an infectious enthusiasm for life and art, she hopes to create a situation such that when people find themselves in a museum looking at contemporary works, they won't find it a hostile experience.I found her collection and the way she shared it to be tranformative. Although this is quite certainly a private collection, Rosa says the house is open to the public all year round. Just get in touch with her and make a reservation!


More photos of Rosa's House 2005 here. Or the same pictures in a slide show. For validation of the claim that almost everything changes in Rosa's house between Art Basels check Rosa's house in 2004, see Rosa's party in 2004 (it ain't going to happen again she says, 500 invitees, 1500 showed up) and Rosa's house in 2003. And many more photo galleries listed on the right.

Jill also did a wonderful house tour of Rosa´s house on the informative & entertaining Apartment Therapy site. Read the comments, some of them are hilarious ("Hey, toward the end of the slideshow was that a dead maid lying face down in the yard?"), but most deal with the fact that we all wish we´d live like Rosa, combing art & daily life in such a beautiful setting.

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