After dinner with our friends Bob and JR at KYU (see the previous post in this series), we followed their recommendation and walked around the corner to get a look at the Wynwood Walls, a gorgeous collection of murals created by graffiti and street artists.
The Wynwood Walls was conceived by the renowned community revitalizer and placemaker, the late Tony Goldman in 2009. He was looking for something big to transform the warehouse district of Wynwood, and he arrived at a simple idea: “Wynwood’s large stock of warehouse buildings, all with no windows, would be my giant canvases to bring to them the greatest street art ever seen in one place.” Starting with the 25th–26th Street complex of six separate buildings, his goal was to create a center where people could gravitate to and explore, and to develop the area’s pedestrian potential.
The Wynwood Walls became a major art statement with Tony’s commitment to graffiti and street art, a genre that he believed was under appreciated and not respected historically. He wanted to give the movement more attention and more respect: “By presenting it in a way that has not been done before, I was able to expose the public to something they had only seen peripherally.” In 2010, building on the momentum of the year before, Goldman Properties added 10 more artists to their roster of Walls. They opened the Wynwood Doors, Tony Goldman’s nod to traditional portrait galleries and expanded the mural program outside the Walls.
The Wynwood Walls has brought the world’s greatest artists working in the graffiti and street art genre to Miami. Jeffrey Deitch co-curated the first successful year of the project in 2009, collaborating with Tony before his appointment as museum director of MOCA Los Angeles. “We have strived for a diverse representation of both American and international artists that encompasses everything from the old school graffiti artists to the newest work being created around the world. The project has truly evolved into what my friend Jeffrey Deitch calls a Museum of the Streets,” Tony had summarized.
This mural commemorates Tony and his work:
We wandered through the murals, taking in the art, as well as a lot of photos…
There are also a couple of indoor galleries, which we checked out:
- Wynwood Walls’ official site
- Wynwood Walls’ Facebook page
- Yelp’s Wynwood Walls page
- Tony Goldman’s obituary in the New York Times. Not only did he help revive Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood in the 2000s; he also renewed New York’s SoHo in the 1970s and Miami’s South Beach in the 1980s.
- Video: Art Miami — Wynwood Walls
- Video: A Day at Wynwood Walls
After taking in the art, we made our way back to South Beach and headed straight for Mac’s Club Deuce, Miami’s oldest bar. Mac Klein, who was born in 1914, had owned the bar since 1964, and was running it even at the age of 101 (alas, he passed away last year). After seeing him and his bar featured in the Miami episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, we had to stop by for a drink.
What did I have, you ask? A basic boilermaker:
We took in the vibe, which was provided by a mixed crowd: a couple of people who were just getting off their shifts, some older locals nursing their cocktails, a handful of twentysomethings shooting pool and shotgunning Mich Ultras, and a few sports fans watching the Manny Pacquiao biography on TV before his July 2 match in Australia against Jeff Horn. Of course I watched my kababayan’s bio.
I’m imagining a conversation between two developers going something like this:
Developer 1: Ahhh, South Beach. What a treasure trove of art deco architecture!
Developer 2: Mmm-hmm. Y’know, we could do something really great with one of these buildings. Fix it up, bring it back to its jazz era grandeur, put our mark on South Beach and make something really…special!
Developer 1: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Developers 1 and 2 in unison: Señor Frog’s!
We skipped Señor Frog’s and opted for Kill Your Idol instead. Here’s the view of the bar from their interior balcony…
…and I had to compliment the DJ on his excellent T-shirt, which references this scene from Snatch:
- Mac’s Club Deuce official site
- Video: Mac’s Club Deuce
- Miami New Times’ oral history of Mac’s Club Deuce
- Miami Herald: Mac’s Club Deuce owner Mac Klein dies at 101
- Miami New Times’ piece on Kill Your Idol
- Yelp’s page for Kill Your Idol