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Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Contemporary Art in Historic Contexts

  • Tanja Smeets, Installation view of Liquid Garden, 2017, commissioned by Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Photography: David Almeida, courtesy Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.

Symposium at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
February 25-27, 2018

Join us for a two-day international symposium examining the curatorial, artistic, and interpretive processes of presenting contemporary art in historic contexts. The program is organized and hosted by Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami. Alongside its centennial in 2017, Vizcaya is also celebrating ten years of its Contemporary Arts Program (CAP), and is taking this opportunity to reflect upon the matters raised when artists create site-specific work in a historic context.

The symposium will include contributions from curators, scholars, educators and artists on issues surrounding the commissioning and presentation of contemporary art in historic and public art contexts. Presenters are confirmed from the following organizations: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, MA), Sir John Soane’s Museum (London, UK), Jane Addams Hull-House (Chicago, IL), The Frick Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA), Huis Sonneveld (Rotterdam, NL), University of Leicester (Leicester, UK) and Kunstglaube (Vienna, AT).

The program will cover topics including but not limited to:

  • The objectives of creating site-specific work in a historic context
  • Working outside of the “white cube,” within the context of a historic site
  • Audience engagement and the influence of contemporary art and artists on programming and interpretation
  • The typologies of historic contexts that engage with contemporary artists
  • Contemporary art in historic sites as an interventionist approach
  • Creating an issues-based program with social impact
  • Co-production and collaboration between artist and curator, artist and site, artist and artist(s)
  • The negotiations in working site-specifically with curators, conservators, educators and others

The symposium will take place against the background of Overload, an exhibition featuring commissioned work by David Brooks (NY, NY), Orlando Jacinto Garcia (Havana, Cuba and Miami, FL), Arnout Meijer (Amsterdam, NL), and Tanja Smeets (Utrecht, NL).

The symposium will take place at Vizcaya on February 26 – 27, 2018 with an opening reception on Sunday, February 25, 2018.

The registration fee is $200 and includes the full symposium program, two breakfasts and lunches, the Sunday evening reception, and a cocktail hour and public program at the conclusion of the symposium. Limited space is available. 

Online Registration

Symposium Materials


Vizcaya Museum and Gardens offers three scholarships to students currently enrolled in the study of art history, museum studies, visual arts or related disciplines. The scholarships include complimentary registration for the full symposium program. Recipients must attend the full symposium program. Students should submit a CV and one page description that addresses how their participation in the symposium will impact their academic studies and professional growth. Application materials must be received via email no later than December 1, 2017. Notifications will be made in mid-December. Please send application materials to

For additional information on the symposium please contact or phone 305-860-8409.