November 5, 2015

IN "ORANGE ORATORY," WOLFSONIAN AND EXILE BOOKS DIVE INTO FLORIDA'S CITRUSY HISTORY in Miami New Times

Although citrus trees aren't indigenous to North America or Florida, the orange has been synonymous with the state for decades. From postcards to tourism ads, through crop booms and frosts, the happy fruit has endured as the Sunshine State's fruit and beverage, marking its place in pop culture. Taking inspiration from a major Miami event featuring the fruit, the Wolfsonian-FIU and pop-up bookstore Exile Books have collaborated on the museum's latest exhibition: "Orange Oratory."

The concept of "Orange Oratory" stems from a 1939 Miami Herald article announcing the opening of the 27th Avenue Bridge over the Miami River, the original home of the Bridge Tender House, a notable Miami landmark today located in front of the museum on Washington Avenue. Headlined "Fruit Juice and Oratory to Feature Span Opening," the article detailed organizers’ choice of fresh-squeezed orange juice to toast the new architectural landmark with city officials and the Miami community.

"During my initial research, I was enamored by an article that I came across about the 1939 opening ceremony of the 27th Avenue Bridge Tender House," Exile Books' Amanda Keeley tells New Times. "For the opening reception, women from the [Public Works Administration] distributed fresh orange juice, and local politicians spoke. This seemed like such a quintessential and romantic event — refreshments and conversations — and how somehow I could create a homage to this historic community gathering moment."