TGIF: No means yes in South Beach

A picture of the museum

The Jewish Museum Florida FIU was designed by Henry Hohauser who attended Pratt Institute.

South Beach is a place of defiance. I once heard someone say, people come to South Beach to do every “God forsaken” thing they wouldn’t do anywhere else! No means yes in South Beach.

It should come as no surprise that the Jewish community in South Beach has often defied the status quo.

Art Deco weekend.

Thousands of people come to Art Deco Weekend each year.

Barbara Capitman was a Jewish woman who defied the establishment. Capitman fought city officials “tooth and nail” to preserve the historical buildings that light up Miami Beach and make it the second most popular place in Florida. If not for her vision and perseverance, there would not be an Art Deco District. The over 800 Art Deco buildings that remain are testaments to Capitman’s defiance. The Art Deco District was the first 20th century neighborhood placed on the National Register of Historic Places much to her efforts. The Miami Design Preservation League continues Capitman’s legacy.


Miami Design Preservation League poster rallying the community.

What’s more, Henry Hohauser, an architect who was Jewish, built over 300 Art Deco buildings. Hohauser lived in an era when signs “Gentiles Only” and “No Jews Allowed” were commonplace in South Beach. Jews were not even allowed to live beyond 5th Street.

An Art Deco chandelier and displays inside the Jews

An Art Deco chandler and displays inside the Jewish Museum.

Visit one of Hohauser’s buildings and experience first hand the story of Jewish culture in Florida. Hohauser’s building, once a synagogue, is now the home of the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. Eighty stained glass windows, a copper dome, and chandeliers are reminders of the days when Hohauser and others worshipped in the synagogue. Taste and see the Jewish experience during the Jewish Food Tour that leaves from the Museum. Learn how the Jewish community thrived despite many obstacles.

Falafel and Israeli salad.

Enjoy Falafel and Israeli salad on the Jewish Food Tour.

Facing off with those who thought South Beach should be known only as a place for “fun in the sun,” Holocaust survivors garnered public support for the building of the Holocaust Memorial. A memorial garden and a sobering sculpture recall those who died and remind all who visit: “we shall NEVER forget.”

Sculpture at the Holocaust memorial

A bronze sculpture by Ellsworth Kelly at the Holocaust Memorial.

The impact of Jewish culture permeates every aspect of the city. Mount Sinai Hospital was built because Jewish doctors weren’t given staff privileges at area hospitals. The Bass Museum scheduled to reopen in the fall, is named in honor of John and Johanna Bass, Jewish immigrants who bequeathed over 500 works of art to the City of Miami Beach.

The Bass Museum in Miami Beach.

The Bass Museum in Miami Beach during Art Basel.

It is said that obstacles are opportunities. Fighting bias and opposition, the Jewish community realized that no means yes in South Beach.


Japan Up in Arms

100 Artists at the Ouchi Gallery

At the “100 Artists Exhibit” at the Ouchi Gallery I did a survey on “what is peace.” The theme for the exhibit was Japan in New York.

Not since World War II has Japan had arms beyond it shores. The US drafted constitution forbids it but now the country is drafting new security legislation.

The security legislation will allow collective self defense according to Nikken News. Opposition leaders say Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and other leaders have reinterpreted the constitution.

Opposition lawmakers say the bill is unconstitutional. Street protesters chant ” Stop the war legislation.” While there is fierce opposition to the legislation, a Plenary session will make the final decision this week

Let there be peace on earth

Upcoming UN General Secretary Mogens Lykketoff recently visited Hiroshima and the peace memorial.

His visit reminded me of the 100 artists exhibit at the Ouchi Gallery in New York. I did a survey on peace at the exhibit (Check out my blog on “What is Peace?” for the results.) I also exhibited my painting “Godzilla Seeking New York ” which explored the relationship of the United States and Japan since the end of World War II. Wars make strange bedfellows as the recent exodus of refugees underscores.

My painting

My collage painting “Godzilla Seeking New York.”

The refugees seek peace in a world of turmoil. Will moving to a new location bring them the peace they are seeking?

Visit for ways you can help with refugee crisis.

What is Peace?

Ouichi Gallery

Guests at the 100 Artist Exhibit at the Ouchi Gallery.

With so much violence and hatred in today’s word, I thought I would ask a few guests at the Ouchi Gallery “100 Artists” Exhibit in Brooklyn the question “What is peace?”

Here are the answers to my question, “What is peace?”

“Peace is treating others as we wish to be treated?”
“Peace is friendship.”
“Peace is the Peace sign.”
“Peace is balanced.”
“Peace is the balance of chaos.”
“Peace is calm with no storm in sight feeling at ease with yourself and everything/one/in and around you.”
“Peace is love and compromise.”
“When I think of peace, I think of the color blue-a gentle smooth color.”

Godzilla Seeking New York.

My painting “Godzilla Seeking New York” on display at the Ouchi Gallery.

Thanks to all who answered my questions.

Great Wave Ashore at Boston Museum

The Great Wave.

“Under the Wave off Kanagawa” also know as “The Great Wave.”

I saw the street banners proclaiming “Hokusai” on my way from Logan Airport. It was a no brainer; I decided to visit the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. I perused their website. Seven decades of art by the internationally renowned “Great Wave” artist, Hokusai would be on view.

The cranes

“Umezawa Manor in Sagami Province.” Cranes are a symbol of longevity in East Asian art.

So I rode the Mass Transit Authority’s Green line for a direct route from downtown. I was fascinated by Hokusai. He inspired the French Impressionists who greatly admired his work. It was no wonder. This artist did paintings, wood prints, book illustrations, signs, silk scrolls, dioramas, and more. Hokusai seized every opportunity.

Warriors in combat.

Watanabe no Gengo Tsuna and Inokuma Nyudo Raiun.

He was a visionary who bucked tradition and used Prussian blue when black ink was the prevailing color. He instituted many other innovations. He led the way in subject matter (painting landscapes, still lifes, etc.) creating public demand. At the age of 70, he painted 36 views of Mount Fuji that included the “Great Wave.” I spent a day being mesmerized by this phenomenal artist with such humility. A narrative said he felt he did nothing that gained notice until he was in his 70s.


Newly Published Cut-Out Lantern Picture: “Dance of the Gods at the Heavenly Cave.”

When he died in his 90s, his last words were said to be a plea for just five or 10 more years to paint.

After being caught up in the “Great Wave”, I paused quietly at “In the Wake Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11” exhibit. I was moved by artists speaking to the times in which they lived in. The exhibit focused on the earthquake that struck Japan on March 11, 2011. The gut wrenching exhibit had “before and after” scenes. The artists compared the destruction caused by the Fukushima Nuclear Plant to the atomic bombs in 1945.

The Sun by Takashi Arai

“The Sun at the Apparent Attitude of 570 in WNW, Hijiyama Park.” The artist Takashi Arai took this image of the sun, waiting for it to perfectly align with the detonation point of Little Boy, the nuclear bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

Before I departed the museum, I paid my respects to “Leonardo Da Vinci and the Idea of Beauty.” The exhibit ended June 14. The Hokusai exhibition will be on display through August 9. The photographic exhibit concludes July 12.

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston is located at 465 Huntington Avenue.

The Museum of Fine Arts boasts the largest collection of Japanese art outside of Japan. For more information on the museum, visit or call 617-267-9300.


The Wolfsonian Museum at South Beach.

The Wolfsonian Museum at South Beach.

P is for propaganda and patriotism. It’s not exactly the cute title of one of the recently discovered manuscripts by Dr. Seuss.

Propaganda and patriotism is the subject of the library exposition at the Wolfsonian Museum in Miami Beach through March 31. It explores the use of “Educational pamphlets, coloring books, nursery rhyme books, games, and juvenile literature (that) were published to reach young audiences…“ during World War I.

Children were also targeted by the Nazis during World War II. Hitler’s Jugend (youth) movement indoctrinated youth who were forced to join. Those with approved blood lines were considered a vital part of the Nazi movement.

A recent chilling video by ISIL claims to show a child gunning down a Palestinian. The terrorist group refers to these children as “cubs for the caliphate.”

From books to guns, we’ve come a long way.


Honfleur, France.

Honfleur, France.


Last summer, I visited Honfleur, France just after the 70th Anniversary of D-day. I was amazed to see signs throughout the city thanking the Allied Forces for liberating the city. “Welcome to Our Liberators” signed hailed the city. Honfleur is in the province of Normandy.

My painting of Honfleur, France.

My painting of Honfleur, France.


As a tribute to the city of Honfleur, I have done two paintings. One of my paintings will be on display at the “Art Reveals the Soul” exhibit at Broward College, through April 23.