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Thursday February 7, 2008

The Knight Foundation has announced major grants to three local arts organizations: $10 million to the Miami Art Museum, $5 million to MoCA, and $5 to the New World Symphony. Other organizations and individual artists can apply for a chunk of another $20 million available for smaller grants, which must however be matched by funding from other sources. Given this, and given the recent $30 million Arsch gift and the $10 million recently given to the Harn museum in Gainesville, the question becomes: who’s going to be the next to step up with an 8-figure donation?


Monday December 3, 2007

MAM building Herzog and De Meuron

Here’s the model of the new Herzog and De Meuron Miami Art Museum building. Not pictured: some of the vertical columns are hanging vegetation. Looks spectacular, although I didn’t make it to the museum this weekend to see for myself.


Monday November 26, 2007

Herzog & deMeuron’s plans for the new Miami Art Museum building will be revealed during Art Basel.


Tuesday June 19, 2007

A good discussion about Museum Park has been going for the last couple of days at Transit Miami.


Thursday June 14, 2007

The City of Miami has approved $2 million for the planning of MAM’s new building, despite the objections of some.


Tuesday May 1, 2007

A big sculpture by Fernand Léger that was installed outside the Miami Art Museum this weekend. It’s solid metal, and a crane was needed to lift it into place.


Monday February 12, 2007

“We want to ensure that MAC’s legacy is not only maintained, but strengthened with the combined resources of both MAC and MAM.” Terry Riley issues a non-response to the Save MAC open letter. (via a new javascripted-out TnfH) Update: The Herald had better luck getting a reaction out of Riley then Tyler Green: “When I read [the letter], I thought about it, and if I had received it I would have signed it.” The gist is, they don’t know yet exactly what the end result of the merger will be.


Tuesday February 6, 2007

An open letter to Miami Art Museum

Here’s an apparently anonymous campaign that’s circulating on email. It raises the Miami Art Museum and Miami Art Central partnership, specifically with concerns about MAC’s identity. They ask that you add your name to the bottom of the letter and e-mail it to them at They’ll be forwarding the letter with all the names they receive the MAM’s board and Terence Riley. They want them all back by 8 pm tonight (sorry, I just got it myself).

While I agree with the general sentiment of the letter regarding MAC’s excellence and the need to preserve its vision and artistic staff, and I will be adding my name to the list, I’m not sure the level of concern is warranted; Riley has shown himself to be a very effective leader, and I think keeping the hardcore art people (clearly represented by this letter) happy. Nonetheless, the tone is positive, and I hope they get lots of support for this.

An Open Letter to MIAMI Art Museum

February 5, 2007

To: Board of Trustees 2005-2006, Miami Art Museum (MAM)
c/o Terence Riley, Director, Miami Art Museum (MAM)

We, the undersigned, having been made aware through recent news reports of the merger of Miami Art Museum (MAM) and Miami Art Central (MAC), would like to bring to the attention of MAM’s Trustees the level of appreciation we share for the outstanding quality and scope of MAC’s achievements and contributions to our community since its founding in 2003.

At the same time, we would like to express our deep concern over the prospect that the internationally distinguished exhibitions and programs developed at MAC may be compromised as a result of the merger of the two institutions. Our community has benefited enormously from the scope and quality of MAC’s acclaimed exhibitions and educational programs, the product of the creativity and hard work of its Executive Director and Chief Curator Rina Carvajal and her talented staff, with the generosity of MAC’s founder, Ella Fontanals Cisneros.

Over the past three years, the program at MAC has consistently been at the forefront of art museums in Miami and, with the end of exhibitions and related programming at MAC’s Red Road facilities scheduled for late-April, we foresee a serious vacuum that could undermine our city’s reputation as a burgeoning center for the visual arts.

Since it has now been made clear that “MAC is MAM,” we are directing ourselves to you as the custodians of MAC in the hope that you will act to ensure that MAC and its legacy are kept alive and that its world-class exhibition program be continued and fostered under the auspices of MAM, to the benefit of our community and the credit of your institution.


(to be affixed)

Update: A related, if not completely coherent, post on Eye on Miami.


Thursday December 21, 2006

Miami Art Museum and Miami Art Central partnership

MAC Back

When I first heard about the partnership and possible merger between the Miami Art Museum and Miami Art Central (Links: MAM and MAC), I was aghast. I like things the way they are — these are two great institutions with very distinct curatorial and operational philosophies, and (like RL in the comments of the TNFH post) I didn’t see how any partnership between the two would do anything but water down those philosophies, creating a larger but less interesting homogenized whole.

But I’ve spent almost a week thinking about this now, and kicked it around with a bunch of smart and prominent local art people, and I’ve come around. The MAM has a new building to build in Bicentennial Park, and it needs to raise at least $100 million for it. You don’t do that by sending out a solicitation mailing. This deal may not bring Marty Margulies to the table, and ther collectors, such as the Scholls, are already working with the MAM, but the MAC is a gathering place for the hundreds of less prominent South American collectors who live in Miami, and this deal has the possibility of making them feel much more connected to the MAM. And of course Ella Fontanals-Cisneros has enough money herself to make the MAM pay attention when she makes a suggestion. A deal like this puts a lot of important momentum into an important fundraising project.

As for the MAC, well, it’s difficult being an organization that gets the majority of its money from one private source — just ask the once-wonderful PBICA. In a merger, the MAC’s facility becomes a satellite space for the MAC, in return for which the MAC gets . . . a say in the curatorial direction of the MAM? The MAC’s exhibitions have been described as more “cerebral,” and it has a strong inclination to exhibit South American art. But the MAM may already be heading in that direction, what with the new Director, it’s open Curator position, and it’s mission, which is all about art in the “western hemisphere” anyway.

In other words, this may actually be a good fit. The MAC gets absorbed into the MAM, we loose a little bit of a differentiated curatorial philosophy but gain a reinvigorated museum with three(!) significant exhibition spaces. In the more immediate term, have you seen how much programming the MAC does on weekends? It will certainly be great to have some of that thinking trickle to downtown. And as Tyler Green points out, the more distinctive extreme of MAC’s programing may be migrating to cifo anyway. And the permanent existence of MAC may not have been tenable anyway — how long can Fontanals-Cisneros focus on MAC and cifo anyway (and serve on MAM’s board)?

(One interesting side concern is the MAC’s staff? They’re really the ones that really make a museum what it is. If the merger really hits in six months, there are going to be lots of redundant people. When the new MAM building opens, the staff needs will increase again, but there’s probably years between those two dates. What will happen there remains to be seen.)

But so an eventual merger seems inevitable. It seems that there are reasons to be optimistic that this is the best way forward, just not the reasons the Herald article gives. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, all that.


Thursday October 5, 2006

cifo opening

cifo, outside

Stopped by the opening of “10 Defining Experiments” at CIFO last night. (Sorry: still not able to link to Flash sites.) Lovely event, I must say: fully stocked bars, beautiful people by the boatload, and a spectacular facility. The art was meh, and three gorgeous photographs absolutely stole the show. Big openings of course ≠ a good place to experience video so, you know, caveat there. And this sculpture made of bobby pins was very nice, though I expect it doesn’t look like much in the photo. Then I rushed over to the MAM, but the opening there was already over, having closed at 8:30(!) and people were on their way out.

Next time: opposite order!


Friday September 15, 2006

The architects for the new Miami Art Museum building have been selected: Herzog & de Meuron. I’m officially exited. The decision was suggested by Terence Riley and approved by a civic panel. The building might open in 2010. Tyler Green says, “Miami is the most fascinating museum city in America.” (via Riptide)

Update: Verticus went to the meeting, pitching Gehry, and was not pleased with the proceedings.