For more than a decade, Miami Beach has played seasonal host to Art Basel Miami Beach, one of the world's largest art fairs. And standing at the center of the activity in South Beach is the Bass Museum, the city's oldest and only major institution. Founded in 1963, the Bass has been shuttered for the past 18 months while undergoing a major renovation that will drastically expand its programable space while leaving the building's square footage unaltered. For the upcoming Basel season, the museum is planning a grand return to the local and international art scenes via three solo exhibitions by contemporary artists Ugo Rondinone, Mika Rottenberg, and Pascale Marthine.
"The newly transformed Bass reflects the spirit of Miami Beach," executive director and chief curator Silvia Karman Cubiñá says. "The three exhibitions we chose to inaugurate the new space reflect the Bass' commitment to presenting international contemporary art of established and midcareer artists.”
The show will mark the first U.S. solo museum exhibition for Swiss-born, New York-based Rondinone, whose practice spans three decades. Titled "Good Evening Beautiful Blue," the retrospective comprises three separate installations: Vocabulary of Solitude (2016), A Place Where Nothing Happens. (1998), and Clockwork for Oracles (2008). Rondinone's pieces will take up the museum's second floor and range in mediums from video to performance and collage. In Vocabulary of Solitude, the artist created 45 life-size clowns that represent a single man's daily routine spent lying around his home.
“We are proud to present Ugo Rondinone’s first U.S. museum show," Cubiñá beams. "Our vision for the Bass has always expanded even beyond our walls, throughout the city of Miami Beach. Now we are delighted to have newly commissioned work by Pascale Marthine Tayou and introduce pivotal works by Mika Rottenberg to the U.S."
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The museum's redesign expands the programmable space by 50 percent, accommodating four new galleries, a museum store and café, and an educational "Creativity Center," set to open in spring 2017. Apart from the physical makeover, the Bass is also relaunching its digital presence by retooling its logo and website.
As Miami's art boom continues into another season, established institutions such as the Bass are actively searching for new ways to stand out from the flood of newer museums coming onto the scene. This year, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) plans to move into its permanent home, located in the heart of the Design District. Pérez Art Museum Miami is also nipping at the Bass' heels via dynamic exhibits that speak to the cultural heart of the city it serves. The Bass' redesign will go a long way to attract a new flock of art devotees, but whether the museum can remain the unchallenged bastion of art in Miami Beach is still up in the air.
The Bass Museum of Art
Set to reopen to the public December 1, 2016, with a members-only preview November 29, to coincide with Art Basel Miami Beach. For more information about the upcoming shows, call the museum directly at 786-436-8133.