George Sanchez Calderon’s Americana
Art Basel set up shop in Wynwood and provided Miamians a glimpse into the art world. But before “socially relevant” art was a prerequisite in an artist’s portfolio and before Cuban-American identity had any cachet, Miami-bred Cuban-American artist George Sanchez Calderon was creating art that spoke of and to his surroundings in the most provocative and profound way.
I became familiar with Sanchez Calderon’s work in the mid to late 1990s — the first time art not only spoke to my soul but also made me question, revise and reaffirm notions and values that were for the most part digested as rote, traditions passed on from previous generations.
Sanchez Calderon’s latest work is PAX Americana, a piece that was unveiled last fall as part of a public arts project in the ritzy community of Bal Harbour. The work consists of two major pieces: a recreation of a Levittown-style house (the quintessential suburban home in the United States popularized after World War II) and a stainless steel sign that reads “AMERICANA.” The sign rests on the lawn of the present day St. Regis Bal Harbour Hotel, which stands on sandy land that was once home to the Morris Lapidus-designed Americana Hotel.