It’s no secret Miami is an international art hub, but this recognition usually comes only in December when Art Basel takes over the Miami Beach Convention Center. Attendance at the fair has grown steadily every year, and countless satellite shows and museum exhibits benefit from the increased cultural traffic. This year, museums across the city will display work that spans continents and generations and acts as an ideal complement to the myriad events surrounding Miami Art Week.
The Bass is in the midst of an impressive rollout of installations and exhibitions, including two that opened earlier this fall and another pair opening in conjunction with Miami Art Week. Edison Peñafiel’s Land Escape and Haegue Yang’s "In the Cone of Uncertainty" examine the fluid nature of human phenomena such as immigration and the navigation of contemporary life in a transhistorical context. Lara Favaretto’s retrospective, "Blind Spot," will present works that speak to the artist’s similar regard for the flux the world constantly experiences, while Mickalene Thomas’ Better Nights will transport visitors to the 1970s through an interactive apartment setup and a handpicked lineup of live performance, concerts, and DJs. 2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7530; thebass.org. Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for students, seniors, and youth; and free for Miami Beach residents, city employees, and active-duty military.
Coral Gables Museum
Tuesday, December 3, Coral Gables Museum will debut two exhibitions centered on the Latin American diaspora: "For Now: Contemporary Venezuelan Art of the Miami Diaspora," which includes the works of dozens of Miami-based artists of Venezuelan descent from the past 20 years, and "El Viaje…," which compiles 18 Latin American artists' graphic works that meditate on personal exile and the diaspora. 285 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables; 305-603-8067; coralgablesmuseum.org. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, $3 for children, and free for museum members and military families.
Frost Art Museum
The Frost Art Museum's standout exhibit "Art After Stonewall," celebrating the 50th anniversary of the legendary June riots, will be on view for only another month after Miami Art Week ends. Also, this week marks the last time visitors can see South Florida photographer Gary Monroe’s South Beach, a series of candid photos of the Beach’s aging Jewish community in which Monroe grew up. 10975 SW 17th St., Miami; 305-348-2890; frost.fiu.edu. Admission is free.
Another Miami Art Week means another Miami Street Photography Festival at HistoryMiami. This year’s fest will display the work of 100 finalists from the museum's vast application pool of artists, including three accomplished artists in the ever-popular Miami Series, capturing daily happenings in the Magic City. Plus, a handful of guest artists, including Miami-based shutterbug Anastasia Samoylova, will give talks throughout the week. 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-1492; historymiami.org. Tickets cost $20 via miamistreetphotographyfestival.org.
Institute of Contemporary Art Miami
The ICA will kick off Miami Art Week with three openings Tuesday, December 3: a retrospective of Cuban painter Agustín Fernández’s series Armaduras, a sculptural installation by Carlos Sandoval de León, and a video installation by Hong Kong's Wong Ping. Yayoi Kusama's über-popular All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, on view through January, is sure to be flooded with curious Basel-goers, and the recently opened Sterling Ruby exhibit gives a comprehensive look at the variety of mediums the Dutch-American artist has used throughout his lengthy career. 61 NE 41st St., Miami; 305-901-5272; icamiami.org. Museum admission is free; tickets to the Kusama exhibit cost $15 via icamiami.org.
Lowe Art Museum
Miami Art Week starts early at the Lowe Art Museum on the University of Miami campus. Sunday, December 1, the museum will partner with the Miami Museum of Contemporary Art of the African Diaspora to host a thought-provoking speaking event tied to its Juan Roberto Diago exhibit, on display through January 19. The institution is also hosting a series of works from Cuban-American artist Carlos Estévez through May, as well as this year’s exhibit "Russia Unframed," which highlights the immense artistic and cultural contributions Russia has produced in the contemporary era. 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables; 305-284-3535; lowe.miami.edu. Admission is $12.50 for adults; $8 for students and seniors; and free for museum members, military, children under 12, and UM students, faculty, and staff.
Museum of Art + Design
At the Museum of Art and Design (MOAD) at Miami Dade College (MDC) downtown, the imaginative exhibit "Where the Oceans Meet" enters its last month on display before closing January 12. The show places the works of Afro-Cuban artist and cultural historian Lydia Cabrera and Martinican poet and critic Édouard Glissant, along with the work of dozens of other artist, in conversation with each other. Thursday, December 5, MOAD will host a panel discussion with art history academics about the importance of exhibits that examine the connections among Caribbean cultures. 600 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-237-7700; mdcmoad.org. Admission is free during Art Week.
Museum of Contemporary Art
Two new exhibitions at MOCA have opened just in time for Art Basel: "Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen," an expansive retrospective spanning four decades of the influential Chilean artist’s career; and "Alice Rahon: Poetic Invocations," the first U.S. show dedicated to the French-born Mexican surrealist in 55 years. Don't miss a performance piece by Vicuña and an accompanying panel event Saturday, December 7. Vicuña will also appear at a public reception Thursday, December 5. 770 NE 125th St., North Miami; 305-893-6211; mocanomi.org. Admission is $10 for adults; $3 for students and seniors; and free for North Miami residents and city employees, children under 12, veterans, and members.
Pérez Art Museum Miami
Last year, PAMM kicked off Miami Art Week with the opening of José Carlos Martinat’s grand light sculpture American Echo Chamber. The piece remains on display through January 26 and is accompanied by a handful of exhibitions that opened throughout the year. "The Other Side of Now: Foresight in Contemporary Caribbean Art" imagines a future where the Caribbean isn’t a place of perceived destruction or trauma, and challenges viewers to rethink their views of the region. Teresita Fernández's retrospective "Elemental" opened last month, and the artist will be present for a special panel event Tuesday, December 3. 1106 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-375-3000; pamm.org. Admission is $16 for adults; $12 for students, seniors, and youth; and free for museum members, active military, and children 6 and under.
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One of FIU’s other museums — the Wolfsonian, located only a few blocks from Art Basel — recently opened the retrospective "A Universe of Things: Micky Wolfson Collects," which takes a deep dive into the career-spanning curatorial practices of Miami's longtime patron of the arts. The exhibit joins the museum’s show dedicated to Cuban caricaturist Conrado Walter Massaguer and the ongoing art deco and modern art and design installations. 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-531-1001; wolfsonian.org. Admission is $12 for adults; $8 for students, seniors, and children aged 6 to 18; and free for members, children under 6, and students, faculty, and staff of the State University System of Florida.