A few days ago I was given the treat of a hard-hat walk-through of the construction site of the Jorge M. Pérez Art Museum, due to open during the next Art Basel Miami Beach in December 2013. A small group of friends gathered at the site overlooking Biscayne Bay in Downtown Miami. PAMM will be an anchor of the 29-acre Museum Park which will include public gardens and sculpture installations. Museum Park, a vibrant mix of green space and cultural offerings, is Miami’s urban redesign vision for the area now known as Bicentennial Park. This vital downtown park, a catalyst for the transformation of the district, is central to efforts to strengthen Greater Miami’s momentum as an emerging global capital. In addition to the landmark new facilities for PAMM, Museum Park is the future site the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, due to open in 2015.
While the controversy still lingers over the name change, from Miami Art Museum to Jorge M. Pérez Art Museum as a consequence of the real estate magnate and collector donating $35Mil between cash and artworks to the Museum, there is a lot of excitement in the local art community for the unveiling of the new institution.
It was fascinating to hear about how the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron got their initial inspiration from ‘Stiltsville’, a small ‘village’ of week-end homes built on stilts in the ’50s in the middle of the Biscayne Bay, which the architects saw during a boat ride while visiting Miami.
The new PAMM facility, will include 200,000 square feet of programmable space, including 120,000 square feet of interior space – more than three times the size of the Museum’s current facility – and 80,000 square feet of exterior space ideal for the display of works of art, educational activities, relaxation and dining. It will house an educational complex with a library, auditorium, classrooms and workshop space, as well as a café and museum store. The building, which obtained silver LEED certification, will be embellished by hanging greenery up to 60 feet tall, that will not only look stunningly beautiful, but also help with temperature control.
As Tim Walker, the Capital Campaign Director who led the tour explained, the exhibition space includes various types of galleries: spaces for special exhibitions, spaces for special projects created by the artists-in-residence (4 each year), and overview galleries to showcase works from the museum’s collection of approximately 2000 artworks, including recent donations by Jorge Pérez and Dennis and Debra Scholl. Amongst the first artists in residence are Moroccan Bouchra Khalili, Polish Monika Sosnowska, and Israeli Yael Bartana, who have been visiting Miami and the construction site over the last year and are creating new projects commissioned by the institution.
The museum will open with several exhibitions, including a retrospective of Chinese super start Ai Wei Wei, a survey of Amelia Peláez del Casal (1896 – 1968), one of the most important Cuban painters of the modernist era, while the overview galleries will feature AMERICANA, presenting artwork from the permanent collection produced by artists working in North, South, and Central America, and the Caribbean.
Can’t wait to see it completed!