With all eyes on Miami for its annual art bacchanalia, much attention gets paid to the dozen or so concurrent fairs that set up camp in various tents or at the convention center. To visit Miami and ignore its own art institutions, however, is a travesty. From a roster of superb galleries—Nina Johnson, Locust Projects and David Castillo to start—and world-class museums set across many different neighborhoods, there’s a plethora of easy-to-access cultural organizations embedded in the coastal city. The programming and curation compete on a global level—and the shows right now are not to be missed.
Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)
Time and again we return to PAMM for the way it incorporates art both inside and out of its Herzog and de Meuron-designed edifice. On display now, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s A Documentary Exhibition revisits the iconic duo’s large-scale outdoor “Surrounded Islands” installation from Biscayne Bay in 1980-83. Ebony G Patterson’s “…while the dew is still on the roses…” truly steals the show, however. Work drawn from five years of the artist’s career hang in a night garden-like installation. Beauty defines the experience—and the highlights are many.
The Bass Museum
Fans of the whimsical will delight over two shows at The Bass Museum. Here, the Haas Brothers’ first-ever museum show, Ferngully, guides viewers through their transition from designers to artists—a path littered with mystical creatures, furry couches and human algorithm-designed beaded palm trees. One floor up, Paola Pivi’s Art With a View pairs bright polar bears with one of the stand-out pieces in Miami as a whole right now, “World record” (2018)—an installation that asks visitors to play within a slender space confined by 80 mattresses.
Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami
One year ago, ICA Miami opened its doors to guests for the first time. Today, they’re offering exhibits from two of the most exciting artists today. With Judy Chicago‘s show A Reckoning, the museum surveys decades of work, and charts Chicago’s transition from abstraction to figuration. It’s a presentation worthy of the artist and her pioneering messages. Also on display, Larry Bell’s Time Machines features everything from his beloved large-scale colored-glass installations to earlier developmental works. It’s his first comprehensive museum exhibition stateside in more than two decades.
Faena Festival: This Is Not America
It was always hotelier and real estate developer Alan Faena’s mission to have the arts be a driving force behind his Miami Beach hotel—or, really, hotel district. Last year, Faena Arts presented work open to the public on the beach. This year, they’ve unveiled This Is Not America—a riveting multi-venue festival that’s free (but requires booking in advance). The programming is not light. Curator Zoe Lukov drew inspiration from Alfredo Jaar’s video art piece “A Logo for America” (1987), which plays on a screen just offshore. This source material drives several works across multiple venues that tackle identity in America, from site-specific dance pieces by Cecilia Bengolea at the Faena Forum to the an exquisite performance by boychild, “Love Is a Rebellious Bird.” Faena Arts’ inaugural festival is ambitious—and successful.