Developer Jorge Pérez was engulfed in scandal last week when it was disclosed that a Carlos Alfonzo oil-on-paper work that Pérez had donated to Florida International University might be forged. Authorities found the claim credible enough that they removed it from an exhibition, saying that proving its authenticity would take "many months to complete."
But there's nothing bogus about Pérez Art Museum Miami -- Herzog & de Meuron's breathtaking masterpiece overlooking Biscayne Bay -- which was named for the developer. It offers the best views in the city under a sumptuous Babylonian hanging garden and 500 works on display. It drew tens of thousands of visitors during its opening week, which coincided with Art Basel.
But if you didn't make it to PAMM during Basel, don't go to pieces. You can revel in the stunning building's airy architecture for decades to come. And world-class exhibits by the likes of Chinese über-artist Ai Weiwei will remain on display well into the New Year just like the many other marquee museum and private collection offerings that debuted around town during Basel week.
Dramatic installations abound at PAMM, but it's "Ai Weiwei: According to What?" -- the first major international retrospective of Ai's work -- that commands the most attention. On view is everything from photography to the large-scale sculptures for which the artist is best known. There's also a towering wall of his trademark tangled bicycles, created specially for PAMM's debut.
Don't miss Ai's sprawling floor piece simply titled Straight. It was created from close to 40 tons of rebar left twisted from the force of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The artist's assistants hammered the tangle straight after the disaster. Across from it, the names of those who perished in the tremor swallow an entire wall.
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Another Ai piece that leaves an impression is He Xie, which includes a circular island made from 3,200 porcelain crabs in the middle of a PAMM gallery floor. And if all the staccato jack-hammering and drilling outside the museum annoys visitors, they'll surely find some humor in Ai's amusing Marble Helmet (2010), a construction hardhat elevated to a spectacular classical work.
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