Drawn from Miami presents a fascinating range of drawings by Miami architects and of Miami projects spanning almost 100 years. It focuses on hand drawings as opposed to digital and reveals the diversity and creativity of designers and artists as well as a range of drawing and project styles. Curators Allan Shulman, Nick Gelpi, Jake Brillhart, Jean-Francois Lejeune, and Terrence Riley rightly note in the introductory panel that to understand the image of Miami, the exhibit should include drawings of both built and unbuilt projects that created its increasingly cultural image. And if any city is about image, it’s Miami. There is no doubt that this exhibit grew from earlier ones in which Shulman and LeJeune were involved, including Interama at the Miami History Museum, and their knowledge of the archives shows here. They have sourced from university and museum archives, private collections, and collections of architects, with the drawing types ranging from fast, conceptual sketches, to sketchbooks, diagrams, design development, and renderings. Many of the drawings have not been previously exhibited or published, and the possibility of a catalog of these works is most welcome.
The curators chose not to organize the drawings chronologically, as one might expect, but by size, which creates some serendipitous moments of juxtaposition as modern and historical drawing in various media hang close enough for real comparison. The show is small enough to see quickly, but big and engaging enough to make you want to spend some real time with it. Some drawings, such as Rocco Ceo’s Overstreet Overlook, an intricately drawn work in colored pencil, beg for your nose to be inches away to truly appreciate the fine hatching and lines that create the texture of the River of Grass.