February 6, 2022
Miami for art lovers
Although dazzling beaches, cosmopolitan nightlife and shopping till you drop may be the first things that spring to mind when you think of Miami, it is fast becoming a world-class destination for arts and culture and the most exciting city in America.
Over the past few years, the city has been rightly taking its place as one of the newest cultural capitals on the block thanks to its internationally renowned art galleries, museums, iconic architecture, and edgy street art. Add in a buzzing theatre community, international concerts and opera, and it’s no wonder that people are flocking to the city for a burst of culture.
With the arrival of Art Basel Miami in 2002, the city was firmly put on the artistic map. Each year in early December, Miami joins the likes of Basel and Hong Kong in holding this world-class event, connecting collectors, galleries and artists from around the globe. Considered the premier art show of the Americas, it is undoubtedly one of the favourite annual meeting places for the international art world. An estimated 80,000 visit The Magic City each year for this incredible event, which combines the main exhibition at the Miami Beach Convention Center with a plethora of satellite fairs and events attracting art lovers and A-list celebrities from across the globe.
But art aficionados certainly won’t be bored no matter what time of year they visit Miami. Indeed, art museums and galleries aplenty can be found across the metropolitan area.
The Bass is Miami’s Beach’s contemporary art museum housed in a wonderful 1930s art deco building close to the beach, formally used as the public library. Although it displays some classical art, its main focus is contemporary. Founded in 1964 by the City of Miami Beach, it was established after John and Joanna Bass bequeathed their extraordinary private collection, thus giving birth to one of the city’s favourite museums.
The Perez Art Museum Miami’s (PAMM) architecture is a piece of art in itself and indeed one of the most Instagrammed places in the city. Opened in 2013 and designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, the museum is considered Miami’s flagship art museum. Its permanent collection is dedicated to exhibiting international art of the 20th and 21st centuries, but its regularly changing temporary exhibitions, which highlight Miami’s diverse communities, keep visitors coming back again and again.
The Rubell Museum is one of the most significant private contemporary art collections in North America. Long-time Miami residents Don and Mera Rubell have been collecting for over 50 years and show off their spectacular collection of over 7,200 words by more than 1,000 artists at the new Rubell Museum, which recently moved to the Allapattah neighbourhood from its original home in Wynwood. Work by Jeff Koons, Sterling Ruby and Keith Harang, as well as up-and-coming new artists and seasonal exhibits, make for a fascinating visit.
Although, in general, Miami’s art focus is on the cutting edge of contemporary art, the Lowe Art Museum in Coral Gables is one of the few places displaying historical art from around the world. At the time it opened, it was, in fact, the only art museum in South Florida. As well as incredible collections of traditional African and Asian art, visitors can view Renaissance European and Native American works. Paintings by some of the most famous historical artists, including Gauguin, Picasso, Monet and Goya, are on display.
For art and design lovers, Miami’s Design District has transformed a few years ago into a unique creative neighbourhood known for its sleek modern architecture, shops, fine dining and art. The impressive Institute of Contemporary Art is found here as well as local galleries such as the De La Cruz Collection, David Castillo and Locust Projects. The Haitian Heritage Museum is the perfect place to learn more about Haitian arts, culture and history.
And even if you don’t find the time to visit art galleries and museums on your trip to Miami, never fear; art and design are never far away. Miami’s street art is considered one of the best in the country, with giant murals adding a burst of colour to neighbourhoods across the city. Although Wynwood is well known for its Wynwood Walls street art, it can be found in many districts, from Little Havana and Hialeah to South Beach and Allapattah.
And, of course, look up from time to time. With the highest concentration of Art Deco buildings in the world, Miami is a true visual feast.