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About Sand by Franz Ackermann
About Sand by Franz Ackermann
Robin Hill

Meet the $7 Million Collection of Public Art at the Miami Beach Convention Center

The Miami Beach Convention Center's makeover is a stunner. So naturally, the public art incorporated into and around the renovation has to equally wow onlookers. The first six works selected for the site by the Miami Beach Art in Public Places program are designed to achieve that goal.

The project to bring the collection of permanent, site-specific works of public art to the newly renovated and expanded convention center was produced with municipal funding of $7 million.

"We have an incredible Art in Public Places program that is inspired by our vibrant environment and showcases what makes our city so unique and truly a world-class destination for discerning art aficionados," says Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.

The public art installations are a culmination of four years of planning, during which the Art in Public Places Committee reviewed pieces by 524 applicants. The committee selected six standout works to be installed at the site.

"These projects all speak the same language, flow in a coherent, creative fashion, play off each other, and are integrated inrelationship to the building and to each other," says Dennis Leyva, Art in Public Places administrator. "The project will add to the city's legacy as a vanguard for municipally funded public art."

The artists and their works include:

Detail of About Sand.
Detail of About Sand.
Robin Hill

About Sand by German artist Franz Ackermann extends from his "Mental Maps" series. It is created with vibrant colors and abstracted forms of sand, hourglasses, and roadways that express his impressions of the city's tourism industry, commerce, urbanism, and daily life. The work was installed in December 2018 to coincide with Miami Art Week and Art Basel, and is located on the southeast corner exterior walls.

Bent Pool, created by Michael Elmgreen (Denmark) and Ingar Dragset (Norway), breaks the rules of traditional public sculptures, taking an everyday object like a swimming pool and modifying its design, isolating it from its functional concept. Seen above left in a Paris gallery, it's due to be installed at Convention Center Park in December 2019.

Atlantis by Ellen Harvey
Atlantis by Ellen Harvey
Robin Hill

Atlantis, by British artist Ellen Harvey, is inspired by Miami Beach's connection to the bodies of water that constitute Florida's larger ecosystem. The piece is a dark, watery 1,000-square-foot hand-painted design sandblasted into mouth-blown glass, filled with ceramic melting color, and laminated to a glass mirror. The result is a white painting of a diagonal satellite view of Florida reaching from Biscayne Bay to the Everglades, Miami Beach, and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean. Located at the grand lobby ballroom.

Located World, Miami Beach by Joseph Kosuth
Located World, Miami Beach by Joseph Kosuth
Robin Hill

Located World, Miami Beach is part of a series of works that American artist Joseph Kosuth has also created in Europe and Japan. This one consists of signposts of cities and towns, some arbitrarily chosen and others purposefully included. The closer the town's proximity to Miami Beach, the larger the lettering on the sign. Located in the west lobby.

Humanoids by Joep van Lieshout
Humanoids by Joep van Lieshout
Robin Hill

Humanoids, created by Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout, features abstract figures that use the park and natural environment as their habitat. The sculptures are placed strategically along the canal and among trees throughout the park. Located at Collins Canal Park.

A rendering of Morris Lapidus by Sarah MorrisEXPAND
A rendering of Morris Lapidus by Sarah Morris
Courtesy of artist

Morris Lapidus is an homage to Miami Beach's best-known architect. The installation by British artist Sarah Morris uses custom-fabricated porcelain tile to explore concepts of motion, scale, light, and social space via vectors, points, color, and geometric forms. The work is currently being constructed at the convention center, and when completed, it'll be the artist's largest installation to date. Look for it on the northeast and grand staircase exterior walls.

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