Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado Tries Some Art Criticism

Categories: Politicks
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Mayor Tomas Regalado stands in the lobby of the intercontinental hotel and stares up at an off-white marble sculpture that resembles a skewed donut hole surrounded by folds.

"You have to say it's pretty," the mayor says. "But I don't get it."

The sculpture by Uruguayan artist Pablo Atchugarry is one of 17 works displayed in the hotel lobby as part of Miami Sculpture Biennale, curated by local poet and Latin American art expert Ricardo Pau-Llosa. Outside another 47 sculptures line Bayfront Park along Biscayne Boulevard.

It's a crisp fall Thursday afternoon, and the mayor, along with some 50 aids, artists and art fans, takes a leisurely stroll to view the chosen works. It's a perfect chance to glimpse Regalado's art tastes, so we tag along.

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The mayor stops in front of a traditional, realistically rendered sculpture by Italian Sandro Chia, widely considered Italy's greatest living artist. The sculpture depicts a man carrying another man on his shoulders. It's clearly Regalado's favorite.

"It looks real," Regalado says. "I like to see things realistically. It looks so sad and dramatic. It's impressive."

Down the road is a teetering tower of tea cups topped by a black kettle.

"This one was controversial," the mayor says, and he tells the story of how developer Mas Vidal bought the artwork with money earmarked for a HUD housing development.

"That could be Miami," Regalado says, staring up at the dizzying tower. "The cups, the coffee and the balancing of all the communities."

The mayor stops to pose in front of a silver sculpture Englishman Richard Hudson that's all curves. No head, just sensuous luscious waves of silvery flesh.

"We know that's Marilyn Monroe," the Mayor proclaims, "even if we don't see the face."

 Then, he views the final few works and heads back to work.

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