Wednesday January 4, 2006

Terence Riley named new MAM head

Terence Riley has been named the new director of the Miami Art Museum. For the last 14 years, Riley has been the curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art. Clearly, the fact that MAM is preparing to build a new building factors heavily into the decision. Probably more important is where Riley is coming from (Columbia, in addition to MoMA), and where the MAM sees itself going.

I’m feeling very optimistic about this – Riley sounds like an intelligent guy, and his background appears to be more academic then managerial, which should be a good thing. How will this affect the artistic direction at the MAM? Well, he is a modernist . . .

The shows I curated at Columbia, on Paul Nelson [1990] and Iacov Chernikov [1991], showed other types of modernism. And the purpose of my International Style show [1992] was to demonstrate the reductivism of the original show, which was done at the cost of a lot of other routes to modernism. Johnson came to see the Nelson show, even though he told me he thought he was a bad architect. He said to me, “So, you want to be a museum man, eh?” I instinctually said, “No, I’m an architect.” I believe that was, unthinkingly, the correct answer.

I suppose that accepting the MAM directorship (he agreed not to practice as an architect as part of the deal) indicates a change of heart with respect to the latter statement. Or maybe not.

It is also unclear whether Riley was in talks with the MAM when he announced his resignation from MoMA in November. It will be interesting to see what comes of this. The Herald article indicates that the hiring of an associate curator will be one of Riley’s first tasks – whom he selects will be a very good indication of the direction he has in mind for the MAM.

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  1. Living Will    Wed Jan 4, 12:48 PM #  

    When do you start as their new graphic artist?

  2. no more mediterranean!!    Wed Jan 4, 03:05 PM #  

    Thank You MAM for hiring Riley, maybe MAYBE he can influence the architect he “selects” to avoid the scourge of pseudo (and not even quality) Modern-terranean architecture shown in the rendering of MAMs new HQ in Museum Park!!!

  3. alesh    Wed Jan 4, 03:59 PM #  

    rendering? where^d ya see a rendering??

  4. no more mediterranean!!    Wed Jan 4, 05:13 PM #  

    Alesh, here’s the “rendering” that got the Museum that bigtime park bond money sent their way…..Miami needs a new -old Mediterranean vista (since we won’t see Miami News/Freedom Tower from the Bay, or anywhere, anymore)

  5. Franklin    Wed Jan 4, 07:40 PM #  

    Suzanne Delehanty characterized that rendering to me as a concept sketch meant to illustrate the basic parameters of the proposal, like land use, including the ratio of buildings to park space, etc. She said that the building could end up looking quite different.

  6. Hugh Bris    Thu Jan 5, 05:04 PM #  

    In the photo he looks like George Orwell.

  7. john    Fri Jan 6, 02:13 PM #  

    Please let the buildings have minimal impact on greenspace. Anyone with me here? Guess not.

    I want to be reasonable here. Museums along NY Museum Mile have not been allowed to expand for a long time. The green space folks are furiously protective. They know that each piece of green space in expensive areas is forever lost. Downtown Miami property is ten times cheaper but I don’t see any new major park land being set aside so the same rule applies.

    I don’t think I have ever encountered so many people who support the arts (whatever that means) care so little about increasing greenspace as Miami.

    I would love for the city to carve out a major downtown park. Even LA has just carved out a new 16 acre downtown park.

    Hell, we can’t even get new recreational parks and pocket parks so that is a pipe dream. Oh well.

  8. Merkin    Fri Jan 6, 04:32 PM #  

    Space is limited. It all comes down to a choice. In this case, it’s museums vs. trees. Art vs. bugs. Culture vs. possums. Miami chose wisely. Let’s build ourselves a first-class city that celebrates the arts, not a backwoods where cave painting is all there’s room for.

    You want green space, wear dark glasses on your voyage back to your home planet.

  9. alesh    Fri Jan 6, 06:17 PM #  

    john has a really important point. one of the things i’ve noticed here in Europe (just got back from Vienna!) is how well the cities (which, btw, their modern districts makes downtown miami look a little like a shantytown but nevermind) preserve LOTS of green space right near their city centeres.

    well, we’ve blown the abilitiy to do that in Miami, and yes, Bicentennial Park is the last scrap of waterfront green space in downtown… BUT since i moved to miami 25 friggin years ago, Bicentennial park has stood there, unused except by the occasional bum or the occasional soccer game. If the green space people wanted to turn it into a nice, people-friendly park, they’ve had plenty of opportunity. Whether for lack of will, or lack of political connections, they’ve failed, and the park has been little better then an empty lot.

    Now some people have come together and put a plan in place to use the land for the public good. Some of it will be built on, and most of it, yes, will stay green. It may not be ideal, and (yes) some shady tactics may have come into play. (also, there is no particular reason a museum needs to be on the waterfront.) The fact remains that it was this or scrap everything and maybe the park sits empty-lot-like for another 25.

    So, yeah, I’m glad this is happening.

  10. Camilo (I'm not Mexican, damnit!) Santana    Sat Jan 7, 02:35 AM #  

    Alesh, you forget one major difference between Americans and Europeans – the increasingly majority of Americans have no sense of culture, history, or greenspace.

    I bet the greenspace here in L.A. pissed of a lot of Hummer-driving, viagra-poppin’ cronies. Nothing irks them more than a bunch of citizens with time to defend the world around them.

    What matters to those that matter is profit. Those that matter are an elite minority who’s biggest threat is the propogation of culture and a sense of community.

    As popularity for this site increases, you become the threat ;-).

    Keep fighting the good fight, bruddah.

  11. Hose B    Sat Jan 7, 02:49 PM #  

    ”.....the increasingly majority of Americans have no sense of culture, history, or greenspace......”

    Santana, I am glad “you’re not Mexican damnit,” making as stupid and irresponsible a generalization like this. Go read a book. Culture and the business of culture are booming across the country, and there are more people, dollars, and money supporting environmental causes today than ever. Big statements like this sound impressive, but they are the mere willy-waging braggadocio of the ignorant and impotent.

  12. mkh    Sun Jan 8, 02:40 PM #  

    Remember, in Miami if you put some potted trees on the roof of your building it counts as greenspace for the purposes of development ordinances!

  13. Camilo    Mon Jan 9, 01:25 AM #  

    yo hoser, the tagline is a reference to folks here in Klan-with-a-tan southern California referring to all people of Brasilian, Honduran, Castillian, Colombian, etc heritage as Mexican.

    the same banter can be pointed right back atcha.

    Now lets try to stay on topic instead of flaming.

    Got any empirical data to support America’s love of all things aesthetic? Or you wanna attack my sexual preference/penis size/mother’s occupation/ etc instead?

  14. Hose B    Mon Jan 9, 09:48 AM #  

    When’s the last time you cracked open the business section of the newspaper? Didja hear about the Lindbergh baby? Feel free to conduct your own research, rookie. Start with the monographs on Americans for the Arts if academic study proves too challenging. You might take a look at Tyler Cowen’s interesting take on how despite Americans’ relatively small direct government support of arts (relative to Europe), economic engines such as tax laws and copyright laws, foundation support, etc. actually increase the dollars and involve greater numbers of constituents. And of course there’s Richard Florida’s work about the “creative community” and its impact on economic development of urban areas. For an opposing (and somewhat rambling) model, try this comparison from Princeton.

    It’s fun to make a grandiose claim, and it makes one sound sooooooo worldly and sophisticated. But you’re just another braying Che.

  15. Miami Harold    Mon Jan 9, 10:36 AM #  

    Mind if I jump into this learned debate?

    Check this out. Funding for arts education is at record levels.

    A further indicator of renewed interest.

  16. Camilo    Mon Jan 9, 01:03 PM #  

    Wow, I’m in awe of the power of name dropping.

    yeah you’re so right. I’ve seen the light.

    What a fool I’ve been. Florida loves the arts. That’s why so many 501c3s are flourishing there.

    Hoser, your last paragraph lights up the true passion behind your responses. The image of Che is an emotional trigger for you.

    Points have gone moot especially since the hose-meister is exhibiting cognitive dissonance (the business section and WS Journal are good for keeping up with clients, emerging technologies, etc – what’s that have to do with a kidnapping?).

    In ten years, when Miami/Fort Lauderdale turns into yet another generic-ville US city with scant museums, minimal branch office libraries, corporate parks, franchise restaurants, and art galleries geared to the rich, we’ll all reflect on how it was the result of my claimed lack of literacy.

    I would gamble it’s more related to people like Hoser that downplayed that there was a problem in the first place.

    I’m sure the board put a lot of thought into picking Riley to head the MAM.

    His job is to keep the boat afloat. My job is to drop money and attend the events.

    As the above mentioned economist simply puts, we’re all subject to the economics of art.

    P.S. Miami Harold, that’s cool and all but any info on how that $$$ trickles into local application in Miami or South Florida schools?

  17. Kent Standit    Mon Jan 9, 02:47 PM #  

    May I respectfully remind the parties that originally, the gripe was Camilo’s (ungrammatical) generalization (the increasingly majority of Americans have no sense of culture, history, or greenspace)? Generalizations like that usually come up empty (that one would, too, had I not added “usually”). I incline toward Hose B—there’s an awakening in progress following years of conservative-led slash-and-burn antics in the arts-funding arena. But while financial resources have something to do with this, it’s not the whole story. Came across this . Americans seem to genuinely regret the disappearance of art ed in schools, which suggests that Camilo the non-Mexican’s description is wide of the mark. And many of the articles uncovered in his Google describe Gov Shrub’s early years: most of that money was restored to the budget subsequently, and the Florida Arts Council is back in the grant business.

  18. oteditor    Mon Jan 9, 02:58 PM #  

    He really looks enthused about his new job.

    I just went to the MAM yesterday since it is free on Sundays. They have a really great exhibit on Ana Mendietta until January 15th. Then its back to the wasteland of stuff from their basement. Maybe this guy can bring in some living artists like: Purvis Young or masters like Piscasso.

    He should dismiss all those deadheads that stand on the floors near the exhibits. What a boring group of elistist art hating drugs they are..

  19. Hose B    Mon Jan 9, 05:03 PM #  

    Wow. My bad for trying to communicate with Planet California. “Flourishing 501c(3)’s?” “Kidnapping?” A “claimed lack of literacy?” I “downplayed the problem?” The hell does this have to do with that overblown crack about Americans and culture? Talk about flaming! Maybe it’s the fumes from Che’s ass on his nose that warps his reason. Or maybe he’s just embarrassed for getting caught bloviating.

    There IS a big problem about culture in 21st century America. For the most part, cultural endeavor is underfunded, largely unappreciated, and under -emphasized. But as those of us in the business are aware, recent trends are cause for optimism. Bullshit artists like Che-boy and their breathless ill-founded universal pronouncements do nothing but cloud the picture, and make it harder for those of us in the trenches.

  20. Lois Terms    Mon Jan 9, 05:17 PM #  

    Hey Hose B—you and Hose A (the one who isn’t a Mexican) need to settle down. You’re both on the same side, girls.