Organized by The Wolfsonian–FIU in partnership with WLRN and The Miami Herald Media Company, March 20–23. (Read More)
About Events Blog Complaints
Thursday 3/20
Opening Reception 6pm

Join us to celebrate the openings of the exhibition Complaints! An Inalienable Right, curated by Steven Heller, and the installation BUMMER, curated by Todd Oldham. Complaints on display are complemented by complaints set to music, with two performances by FIU's Complaints Choir, at 7pm and 8pm. Advance registration requested.

Complaints! An Inalienable Right 6pm

Exhibition opening & reception, free & open to the public

Because life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness may just depend on complaints. Acclaimed artists and graphic designers weigh in with original posters. The exhibition is curated by design historian, author, and critic Steven Heller.


Exhibition opening & reception, free & open to the public

Because sometimes beauty is a really big bummer...The Wolfsonian's astonishing collection of human documents includes items that are immediately exquisite while others at first seem rather ordinary. On occasion these artifacts, from gorgeous paintings to domestic pleasantries, are quite unsettling. Factory scenes with a dreariness that glows.  Frank Lloyd Wright prototype chairs that are elegant to the eye and simply torture to the sitter. And how easy to be put at ease by the coziness of totalitarian dinnerware! BUMMER, an installation drawn from The Wolfsonian’s collection and on view in the fifth floor galleries, is curated by renowned designer Todd Oldham.

Complaints Choir 7pm and 8pm

Performance, free & open to the public

It’s just what it sounds like: a bunch of people standing around, singing complaints. It’s also an international movement, with seventy complaints choirs in existence (Sweden has the most). This is a joint project of FIU’s School of Music and FIU’s Honors College, which spent months collecting complaints for our listening pleasure. Performances at 7pm and 8pm.

Friday 3/21
Opening Remarks 6:30pm

Welcome, ticketed

Our master of ceremonies is Kurt Andersen, best-selling novelist, cultural historian, and public radio host. His job is to welcome everyone with a keynote address that will get the complaints started. He'll be preceded by Cathy Leff, The Wolfsonian's director, and Matt Haggman, program director at the Knight Foundation.

The Wolfsonian: Collecting Complaints 7pm

Curatorial presentations, ticketed

A look at ways in which The Wolfsonian's collection expresses, addresses, reflects, and responds to complaints. Wolfsonian curators Matthew Abess, Silvia Barisione, Peter Clericuzio, Christian Larsen, Francis X. Luca, and Jon Mogul discuss examples from the collection.

Saturday 3/22
Cities and City Life 10am

Moderated discussion, ticketed

For, by, and with people dedicated to improving our cities. Moderated by Carol Coletta, vice president for community and national initiatives at the Knight Foundation. Speakers: Jaime Lerner, innovator in city planning and urban issues (Brazil); Alejandro Aravena, reformer in social and affordable housing initiatives (Chile); Andrés Duany, architect and founding member of the Congress for the New Urbanism; and Gabe Klein, expert in transportation technology.

Making It Funny 11:45am

Performance/talk, ticketed

Tired of complaining to the walls? Political satirist Andy Borowitz hangs out with chief complaints ombudsman Kurt Andersen for an in-depth investigation into how humor can get you heard...even when all you're doing is complaining.

The Air Travel Experience 2:30pm

Moderated discussion, ticketed

We're going there. We are. And we're taking you with us, on a direct flight straight to the petri dish of complaints. Moderated by Alastair Gordon, author of Naked Airport, critic, and cultural historian. Speakers include: Dickie Davis, director of public and customer relations for Miami International Airport and chief of staff to the airport's deputy; Kevin Doeksen of American Airlines; Nancy Novogrod, editor-in-chief of Travel and Leisure magazine; and Ashlea Powell of IDEO.

Prophets of the Digital Age: Jaron Lanier, Clive Thompson, and Michael Chabon in Conversation with Kurt Andersen 7pm

Dialogue co-organized by The Wolfsonian and Intelligence Squared London, free & open to the public

For better or worse? We're talking technology and its impact on our lives and minds. We've gathered three of our most profound thinkers on the digital age for a dialogue chaired by Kurt Andersen, chief justice of the Complaints Court. Speakers: Jaron Lanier, computer scientist who coined the term virtual reality, musician, visual artist, and author of Who Owns the Future?; Clive Thompson, science and technology writer and blogger, author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better, and Michael Chabon, author of works including The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Why these three? Lanier is a pioneering technology expert who has critiqued aspects of the current digital technology; Thompson started out a web skeptic and is now a cheerleader; and Chabon is an early adopter and fan of technology who is susceptible to the retro tug of vinyl and turntables. Event takes place at Perez Art Museum Miami. Advance registration required.

Sunday 3/23
Solutions! New Ideas and Art Made From Everyday Things You Might Otherwise Throw Away 11am

Youth program for children six through twelve accompanied by a parent, free & open to the public

Those peanut butter jars and tuna fish cans you complain about rinsing out for recycling may just be the raw materials for future works of art. Renowned designer Todd Oldham leads a hands-on workshop on creating art from the contents of your recycling bin. Advance registration required.

Barking at the Bad Guys: How Watchdog Journalists Spotlight Community Problems and Seek Solutions 3pm

Moderated discussion, free & open to the public

Journalists from several local media outlets discuss their most impactful work, both process and end product. Moderated by Jane Wooldridge, the Miami Herald’s business editor. Speakers include: Dan Christiansen, founder and editor of Broward Bulldog; Jim DeFede of CBS4; Carol Marbin Miller, investigative reporter with the Miami Herald; and editorial director at WLRN Alicia Zuckerman. The audience is encouraged to suggest ideas for future projects.

Yes, there’s more! On the drawing board, on stage, on the silver screen, online, in the community—we have a host of collaborators organizing related happenings.

Design by Complaint -

Charrette and Exhibition

The complaint? The pavilion at the western intersection of Lincoln Rd. and Washington Ave., Miami Beach: "One of the most disappointing public spaces at the most important intersection of Miami Beach." The solution? Thirty teams of FIU architecture and design students conducted a charrette to brainstorm alternatives. The top twelve proposals are on view at FIU's Miami Beach Urban Design Studios, 420 Lincoln Rd., Suite 440, Miami Beach. On view March 10–23. Hours: Monday–Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Saturdays 8:30am to 1pm.

Complaints on the Stage -

Microtheater Miami, Spanish Cultural Center

Microtheater Miami at the Centro Cultural Español of Miami has declared this the Season of Complaints. Original short works in English or Spanish on the theme of Complaint will be performed in the venue's twenty-foot containers. Performances take place from February 27–March 30, four nights a week. Located at 1490 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami. Contact: 305.448.9677.

Complaints Film Festival -

Miami Beach Cinematheque, March 22 & 23

Films will be screened on Saturday and Sunday afternoons at Miami Beach Cinematheque, just down the street from The Wolfsonian. The theme? You know it! Located at 1130 Washington Ave., Miami Beach.

Saturday, March 22, 4:45pm
Daisies (Czechoslovakia, 1966, 79 min) 

Sunday, March 23, 4:15pm
Woman in the Dunes (Suna no onna) (Japan, 1964, 123 min)


Solve This Miami! -

Got a complaint about Miami? You're not alone...but we're much more interested in hearing proposals for solutions.  As part of Power of Design we've come up with a grant competition, Solve This Miami!, through which The Wolfsonian is awarding $25,000  to a local nonprofit organization to address a local problem. Solve This Miami! is administered by the Miami Herald; proposals are due by February 25.

Wolfsonian Curators