MIAMI – Dr. Robert B. Feldman, a New York-based art collector, has promised a gift to the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU of a major installation by the artist Mira Lehr. The artwork, titled Sacred Dreams, is composed of 183 aerial sculptures that descend from the ceiling of the museum.
The installation, valued at $300,000, is currently on view at the museum as a temporary loan from Dr. Feldman and will become part of the museum’s permanent collection in September. The museum is located in South Beach, in the heart of Miami Art Week and Art Basel Miami Beach. Feldman previously lived in Florida, and was known for having one of the most important collections of contemporary art in the state.
The 183 aerial sculptures are made of burned and dyed Japanese paper, acrylic, ink and resin. “I am honored to donate this major work by Mira Lehr to the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU,” said Dr. Robert B. Feldman. “This large-scale work now has a permanent home in the community for all to enjoy, including the millions of tourists that visit Miami Beach, at this beloved gem of a museum that is of historic importance in the Southeast.”
The museum is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the only museum dedicated to telling the story of more than 250 years of Florida Jewish history, art and culture with a growing collection of more than 100,000 items. “We are very grateful to Dr. Robert B. Feldman for this donation to the museum,” said Susan Gladstone Pasternack, the executive director of the museum. “Mira Lehr created this stunning installation, Sacred Dreams, specifically with the museum in mind as a result of a personal visit here. After Lehr spent time at the museum, she reflected upon the emotions and inspiration she felt and created these 183 aerial sculptures to interact with the light they create together with our stained-glass windows. The result is truly magnificent.”
Sacred Dreams by Mira Lehr showcases the artist’s six decades of art-making on Miami Beach. Nationally renowned as an eco-feminist artist, Lehr is celebrated for working with imagery from the natural world, creating layered abstract compositions with unconventional materials. The lush flora of her Miami Beach home [where Lehr grew up in the 1940s] has a profound influence on her aesthetic vocabulary. The 60 Minutes television correspondent Morley Safer referred to her as “the mistress of light.”
“I want viewers to feel like they are walking beneath an aerial garden of luminous, reflecting sculptures,” said Lehr, adding, “a holy garden of light, that takes people out of the actual world and transports them onto a spiritual plane.”
In 1960, Lehr co-founded in Miami Beach one of the country’s first co-ops for women artists. It was called Continuum and thrived for more than 30 years, blazing a pioneer trail that helped establish Miami’s evolution as an art destination. She is known in the art world as “the Godmother of Miami’s art scene” and has mentored many artists through the years.
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