Seeing that it's in the 40s and raining right now, I'm dreaming about my time in the Tampa and Sarasota area last week. I got to take in some rays (actually, too much of it) and see some incredible art while attending fun events surrounding Sarasota Film Festival with my friend Chris, owner of Johnsonese Brokerage. We alternated days at the beach and art-going and the art was unexpected for more reasons than one. 

After doing a quick whirl through St. Armand's Circle, which I found to be mostly commercial and not terribly challenging, I was pleased to visit Ringling Museum of Art, part of the grounds which were built by John and Mable Ringling (yes, that Ringling). From their luxurious waterfront home to the secret garden and numerous banyan trees, there were little treasures to be uncovered at every turn.

The front entrance of Ringling Museum of Art

The front entrance of Ringling Museum of Art

One of the many cool things about the property is that you can explore the grounds or have a guided tour. And there are doors that open right into the middle of the museum, (where normally rooms don't have exits to the outdoors for liability or issues with stealing). From the middle of the courtyard, we entered right into Re:Purposed, a contemporary exhibition of found objects, reused materials, refashioned with newfound life. A couple of Nick Cages and El Anatsuis were practical and imaginative but I discovered Daniel Rozin, who's "Trash Mirror" simply blew me away. In its simplicity and execution, I was already enamored. But the interactiveness of the "clack clack" of the motion-sensored garbage planes made it addicting to come back again and again. (Unfortunately, no photos were allowed in this area). 

In another gallery was the fascinating and haunting exhibit,  Beth Lipman: Precarious Possessions. I had seen her work before at Milwaukee Art Museum but this time the scale of her work was more monolithic with the a baby cradle, buffet and crib. 

The grounds of the Ringling are incredibly well-groomed and offer an exceptional visitors' experience. And on a side note, we coincidentally visited on a Monday when the art museum and grounds are free to roam. I recommend this landmark as a "must see" on your visit to the area. I'll let the photos persuade you. 

The tower of the Ca'd'Zan, or "House of John", the Ringlings' home. 

The tower of the Ca'd'Zan, or "House of John", the Ringlings' home. 

Mable's rose garden. 

Mable's rose garden. 

Romulus and Remus. 

Romulus and Remus. 

The main entry of the museum leads right into these larger-than-life works. They had to have been at least fifteen feet tall, truly sublime.

The main entry of the museum leads right into these larger-than-life works. They had to have been at least fifteen feet tall, truly sublime.

The dock of the Ringlings' home. 

The dock of the Ringlings' home. 

Walkways were dotted with sculptures and this one had become entangled. We almost missed it. 

Walkways were dotted with sculptures and this one had become entangled. We almost missed it. 

The Ringlings bought up thousands of paintings, sculptures, and objects in Etruscan, Asian, European and American art. 

The Ringlings bought up thousands of paintings, sculptures, and objects in Etruscan, Asian, European and American art. 

I was examining their installation like a hawk. Notice the color-coordinated rods and wall tags on the fabric wallpaper. Seamless!

I was examining their installation like a hawk. Notice the color-coordinated rods and wall tags on the fabric wallpaper. Seamless!

A view of the art museum courtyard filled with sculptures.

A view of the art museum courtyard filled with sculptures.

Wandering down the corridor, we popped into the door on the left and walked right into a Nick Cage. 

Wandering down the corridor, we popped into the door on the left and walked right into a Nick Cage. 


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