Located in the center of Miami Beach’s rapidly expanding art and architectural hub, The Bass Museum has finally reopened after an ambitious renovation spearheaded by principal architect David Gauld. The $12 million renovation and expansion, which adds 4,100 square feet to the existing 8,700 square feet exhibition space, as well as a brand new 5,200 square feet wing for educational programming, is the second major renovation the museum has undertaken since opening in 1964. The Bass (which was originally named the Bass Museum of Art) went through an expansion of 16,000 square feet in 2001 under the creative consultancy of Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, whose team then had included Gauld. In the new space, the New York-based architect’s vision suggests commitment to authenticity, while expanding towards new horizons in the museum-going experience. The additions of new programmable space merges with the building’s monumental integrity and refined Art-Deco façade, allowing a sophisticated vision of a global contemporary art museum under the welcoming dome of a landmark institution that has catered to local residents in Miami Beach for decades.
Allora & Calzadilla, Petrified Petrol Pump (Pemex II) (2011), black lava and travertine stone, 100 x 80 x 80 inches, Courtesy of the artist and kurimanzutto, Mexico City.
The Executive Director and Chief Curator Silvia Karman Cubiña has initiated the new vision for The Bass Museum with an ambitious programming schedule that includes solo exhibitions by two globally-renowned artists, Ugo Rondinone and Pascale Marthine Tayou, as well as a notable presentation of new acquisitions to the museum’s permanent collection as a result of a ten-year growth initiative, featuring monumental works like Petrified Petrol Pump (Pemex II) by Allora & Calzadilla and neon installation Eternity Now by Sylvie Fleury.
Installed on the museum’s entire second floor is Rondinone’s good evening beautiful blue, a compact survey of the Swiss art star’s vibrant career since the early ‘90s. The exhibition weaves common threads in the artist’s multidisciplinary practice, while various, bittersweet components of everyday life chime like melodies from room to room. This introspective tone is unquestionably best rendered in vocabulary of solitude (2014), an immersive installation of forty-five life-size clowns dispersed around the space in various costumes and masks, each replicating another human emotion. Equally haunting and inspirational, the installation was previously shown at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam as part of a 2016 retrospective dedicated for the New York-based artist.
The second solo exhibition introduces beautiful by the Cameroon-born, Ghent-based artist Pascal Marthine Tayou, an inquisitive exhibition that touches upon issues of colonialism and institutional critique. Different from Rondinone’s interpretation of the word “beautiful”, Tayou offers an objective and research-based approach that includes a re-configuration of the museum’s collection of historical art alongside his own works from the last decade. Ideas of appropriation, social hierarchies, labor, and mainstream interpretations of art history are filtered through the artist’s mesmerizing sculptures of crystal figurines sporting mundane and utilitarian objects, exhibited on wooden crates used for art transportation. Greeting the visitors at the museum lobby is Welcome Wall (2017), a site-specific commission that blankets the entire wall with small over seventy LED signs that read “welcome” in varying languages. Responding to Miami Beach’s diverse population and the museum’s location in a highly eclectic part of the city, the installation is a celebration of inclusivity, acceptance, and hospitality, and ultimately, a fitting introduction to an updated institution that continues to push the city’s arts scene forward.
Ugo Rondinone: good evening beautiful blue is on view at The Bass Museum through February 19, 2018, while Pascale Marthine Tayou: beautiful is on view through April 2nd, 2018. The museum will also open a show of works by Mika Rottenberg in time for Art Basel Miami Beach
The Bass Museum [Museum Page]