Renowned artist Manolo Valdés’ work has shown in Paris, Rome. Now, it’s in Doral

Renowned artist Manolo Valdés’ work has shown in Paris, Rome. Now, it’s in Doral

The name Doral often conjures images of warehouses and the tractor-trailers that supply them. Now the city is aiming for a new reputation: art nexus.

Just installed is a monumental exhibition of renowned Spanish artist Manolo Valdés, known for his renditions of Las Meninas, the ladies-in-waiting made famous by a 17th Century Diego Velázquez painting. Valdés is considered one of Spain’s most important postwar artists and has represented the country at the 1999 Venice Biennale.

Until June, 18 of Valdés’ often-colossal metal sculptures will take over the city’s parks. This will be his largest outdoor exhibition to date. Valdés’ sculptures have previously appeared at the New York Botanical Garden, in Miami Beach parks and in the Design District’s Opera Gallery. The total value of the sculptures in the six Doral parks is approximately $16 million.

Titled “Legacy,” the show brings together a variety of his sculptures, from his life-sized bronze Meninas to his towering “Butterflies” – a steel and aluminum bust of a woman wearing a butterfly headdress and measuring the height of almost three basketball players. The piece is valued at $1.2 million.

The city partnered with the Doral Contemporary Art Museum, known as the DORCAM, to put on the show.

“We’re a museum that doesn’t have any walls, so we think outside the box,” said Flor Mayoral, a South Miami based dermatologist who co-founded the DORCAM in 2017. Without a permanent physical space, the museum has been organizing exhibitions and educational opportunities from an executive office inside a Doral warehouse.

Mayoral first came across Valdés’ work on a visit to Madrid more than 10 years ago. Like many others who’ve seen the artist’s sculptures in cities and museums across the world, she said she quickly fell in love.

Around the time DORCAM was founded, Valdés moved his production to ASU Bronze, a Doral foundry just east of the Palmetto Expressway. Most of the pieces that will appear in the show are being transported from the foundry. (He also has a home in South Dade.)

“This is something I’m doing for my neighbors,” Valdés said of the exhibition. Although he lives full-time in New York, he said he’s excited by DORCAM’s enthusiasm and desire to bring more art to Doral, an area he’s gotten to know through his work at the foundry. Valdés decided to forgo his artist fee to put on the show.

Most of the pieces are coming from the Doral foundry, while a handful are being transported from the artist’s home in Coral Gables. Those include his bronze “Alhambra,” a bronze bust with geometric lattice walls that stands more than 11 feet tall. A few smaller pieces came by boat from Spain.

Despite the proximity of the foundry, the installation process is complex. It takes two trucks and a crane to transport larger works, which must first be disassembled, with the busts and headdresses traveling separately. Each site needs to be prepared; with the ground leveled, the pieces can then be puzzled back together using cranes and forklifts.

Even the pieces traveling from abroad require extensive documentation and handling before they can board a ship.

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