Mar 112011

“Marble is a material that results from the encounter of powerful natural forces; colored veins are the result of a fluid of magma that penetrates the limestone rock. To mineralogists, these shapes that we consider beautiful are, in fact, impurities that invaded the rock. Any piece of marble in Vizcaya may be considered the diagram of a similar process of contamination that has occurred during the life of the building.
Similarly, for almost a century, Vizcaya has been exposed to the pressures of individual, social, economic and institutional forces, in an ongoing process of contamination. One of the most powerful and pervasive of these forces was Paul Chalfin (1873-1959), the artistic director who created Vizcaya’s fantastic interiors twisting and playing with the canon of European decoration. Other major transformations occurred after 1953, when Vizcaya became a museum. For example, to protect artifacts from visitors panels of plexiglass were placed over many surfaces. It was as if a transparent plastic vein had invaded the stone body of the building. Vizcaya itself can be seen as an intrusion into the Miami tropical landscape of 100 years ago.”
Ernesto Oroza, 2011