Ways of Worldmaking: Notes on a Passion for Collecting

By Manuela Gabaldon

The role of the art collector should never be underestimated; the collector is responsible not only for his obvious role in being a patron of the arts, but more so for his exceedingly important endeavor of conserving a generation’s artistic harvest. Over the years, or rather centuries, distinguished individuals and families have taken it upon themselves to fulfill this role, and assumed the magnificent burden of preserving culture through art. Just as we are indebted to their often more appreciated and definitely more public counterpart, the museum, we are thankful to the collector for their devotion to the artistic translation of an era.

Co-curators Cristina Nosti and Vivian Nosti partnered with an exceptional team of collectors this season, taking on the extraordinary task of selecting 85 of the most impressive pieces from their collection of contemporary art (of over 1,000 artworks) to successfully communicate a message of Cuban-American culture in South Florida. Ways of Worldmaking: Notes on a Passion for Collecting, appropriately housed by Miami Dade College’s second floor gallery at the landmark Freedom Tower in downtown Miami, is an intimate showing of these hand selected pieces from Dr. Arturo and Liza Mosquera’s collected works.

The quiet halls of the Freedom, Tower’s gallery, above Miami’s bustling Biscayne Blvd., are replete with works by such distinguished Cuban artists as Rafael Soriano, Gustavo Acosta, Carlos Alfonzo, Jose Bedia, Humberto Castro, Beatriz Monteavaro, Heriberto Mora, and more, as painting, photography, sculpture, and video art, all claim their nook in this now illustrious collection.

A quote by philosopher and sociologist Walter Benjamin, opens the exhibit, so to speak, beautifully describing the collector with the following words: “The most profound enchantment for the collector is the locking of individual items within a magic circle in which they are frozen as the final thrill, the thrill of acquisition, passes over them… to renew the old world – that is the collector’s deepest desire when he is driven to acquire new things…”

The Mosquera’s, in an effort to be present at every individual’s experience of their treasures, have left behind little annotations of their own, rendering a more personal understanding of the art on the walls and guiding younger enthusiasts and those aspiring to the role – “Over time we have collected work from artists that were underappreciated or emerging. We have acquired their work at a certain vital time in their career through trusting our intuition, instincts and eye,” one reads.

This most delicate touch is exactly what makes this sampling of the Mosquera Collection all the more enjoyable and unique from others of equal caliber. The husband and wife Mosquera team has truly taken an active interest in communicating more than an impressive ownership of a remarkable anthology, emphasizing love for art above all else; “For us, it’s about the art and our appreciation of the artwork. We see our collecting as something that is important culturally, certainly not as a stock investment or any other monetary venture.”

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