Let’s stop and rewind just a little bit, back to December 2013, or, to be more precise, to the 5th of December, when the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) celebrated its much-awaited grand opening, alongside the commence of the Art Basel in Miami Beach. Yeah, I know, it’s old news, but almost 6 months after all the frenzy we might be able to sit back, relax, and have a clear, overall look at this 131 million dollars “haute-design showcase for modern and contemporary work”.
You might not care why the formally known Miami Art Museum renamed itself after a Spanish surname meaning “son of Pero”, but here’s the long story short just in case you do: apparently the museum is named after Jorge Pérez , a 64-year-old Cuban-American billionaire, who back in 2011 gave the museum a 40 million dollars gift – half in cash, half in artworks, and in return, the museum agreed to rename itself after him. Just as the renaming motion passed the board of trustees, four of them quit in protest with the argument that an art museum with a specific donor’s name attached would erode the chances of future gifts from other – perhaps deeper-pocketed–donors. And then some predictable racial drama as Mr. Pérez himself suspected that there may be another issue at play, since Pérez Art Museum Miami, is the first gallery in the US, to bear a Hispanic name. At this time it seems that the dissent has mostly died down, most likely because the museum has managed to raise a lot more million dollars to date…
This is the Swiss firm of Herzog & de Meuron’s third museum in America, after the de Young in San Francisco and the Parrish in Southampton. The design of the museum was intended to deepen the connection between indoor and outdoor space – “The building’s environmental circumstances, the hot climate, the heavy storms, have informed the architectural concept in the very first place,” says Christine Binswanger, partner at Herzog & de Meuron. Taking over from the former Miami Art Museum, PAMM includes 32,000 square feet of galleries as well as education facilities, a shop, waterfront café, and exterior plazas and gardens. The project team also worked closely with landscape architects Arquitectonica Geo to select a range of plant life that could withstand exposure to sun and wind as well as the city’s storm season.
Different modes of display are deployed in a non-linear sequence, allowing visitors to map their own experiences of the Museum’s collection and physical space. The permanent collection galleries are located on the first and second levels but art is displayed throughout the entire building, including the garden and the parking garage. PAMM opened with with a pan-American perspective and the first major international exhibition of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, alongside shows dedicated to artists born in Morocco, Cuba, Poland, Israel, the U.S., and Scotland.
It seems to me the big buzz was mostly created around the (as some say) spectacular architecture, and not much was left for the actual art collection, but then again PAMM is young and deserves a fair chance… so let’s be on the look out for some spectacular exhibitions as well.
by Alexandra Mateescu
Alexandra Mateescu is a photo-video junkie who left her imaginary super successful forensics career in favor of the University of Arts. She frequently gets mistaken with a 16 year old high school girl so you’ll never catch her without her ID, she has a strong passion for the 80’s, and her kind of art must be funny and a little bit ironic.