More important for MAM, though, is that Pérez isn't the only big name who has donated a large chunk of artwork for the museum's new home. Earlier this year, the Dennis and Debra Scholl Collection announced a gift of more than 300 contemporary works with a value in the millions. Compared with the Pérez collection, the Scholls' donation is more focused on cutting-edge art created since the '60s, with installations by Ólafur Elíasson, a video by Raymond Pettibon, Anna Gaskell's photos, and giant birdhouse installations by Simon Starling.

But it's difficult to grade that collection because none of those works is on display yet. In fact, Collins estimates it will take between "ten and 15 years to get it all out in public in the museum's rotation."

Pérez Art Museum Miami remains on schedule to open this December, just in time for Art Basel. Collins predicts the opening — amid one of the world's biggest art fairs — will lead to more high-profile donations.

Pedro Figari's folkloric Gato.
Pedro Figari
Pedro Figari's folkloric Gato.

Location Info


Miami Art Museum

101 W. Flagler St.
Miami, FL 33130

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Central Dade


"Frames of Reference: Latin American Art From the Jorge M. Pérez Collection": Through June 2 at the Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-3000; Open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Tickets cost $8 for general admission and $4 for seniors; children under 12 get in free.

"Miami is a very young city, and promises here have been made and not delivered on in the past. When potential donors see something is real, it becomes easier for them to make gifts to the institutions," Collins says.

The Pérez collection at MAM today won't be the end of the developer's gifts to the museum, either. Ostrander has been working with Pérez to help handpick future gifts.

"Jorge has recently purchased work by Chilean artist Eugenio Dittborn, El Paso's Adrian Esparza, and Venezuela's Alexander Apóstol, whose works are very conceptual in nature," Ostrander says.

Still, in its current state, Pérez's gift doesn't inspire great hope for MAM's new permanent collection. The Scholl donations might help fill the glaring need for contemporary work, but it's difficult to tell just yet.

Inside MAM's old home on Flagler, viewers are left with the impression of a collection checked off a wish list by someone with a picky taste for the traditional rather than the adventurous.

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