Art Basel brought Miami's art scene to national and international prominence over the past decade. But really, what does that mean for the local museums? It has to be positive, right? The publicity, excitement, and sheer number of visitors with a cultured palette bodes well for the arts in general and museums in specific. It's a no-brainer. But are Miami's museums doing the most they can to capitalize on the situation?
Truthfully, we haven't got the foggiest. But some people who know the answers to those questions - namely the directors and curators of the museums themselves - are getting together Thursday at 7 p.m. to talk it out. The panel discussion is part of the Bakehouse Art Complex/Quarterly Panel series and this edition is titled "The Role of Miami's Museums in the Wake of Art Basel." And you're invited. Read on for details and a short Q&A with panelist Carol Damian of the Frost Art Museum.
Among the topics up for discussion are the importance of local museums
embracing contemporary art at their institutions and what their
responsibilities are to the community as cultural leaders. They'll also
talk about supporting local art organizations. It won't all be drab
administrative talk though, the panel will also discuss Bakehouse Art
Complex's "Sin!" exhibition, which panelists served as jurors for.
The panelists are a who's who of the Miami museum top administrators,
including: Carol Damian, director and chief curator at the Frost Art
Museum; Peter Boswell, assistant director and senior curator at Miami
Art Museum; Silvia Karman Cubina, executive director of the Bass Museum
of Art; Cathy Leff, director of the Wolfsonian; and Brian Dursum,
writer and current arts editor at Ocean Drive Magazine (talk about
slumming it and a bad career move. We joke!) will moderate the panel
The public is invited to attend the panel discussion but you'll have to
throw down $10 to get in (BAC members get in free). What did you
expect? These people run museums, it's their nature to charge for
admission. That's just how they do.
Carol Damian gave us a little preview of the panel discussion in a short Q & A:
What is your impression of the effect Art Basel has had on Miami's museums?
I have to say positive - we have visitors from all over the world that
make their way to us, usually in the mornings, but after fair as well -
and of course we have a great event, Breakfast in the Park.
What is your museum, or others, doing well to capitalize on exposure of Art Basel?
We advertise in all associated press and do lots of outreach to
publicize our events and exhibitions. Being an official location for
our Sunday event gets us into the Basel press, and they send buses to
What could be done better?
Doing less events, or extending the chaos by a few days - too much going
on - but I can't imagine who would step to the end of the line!
What about the panel are you looking forward to, what will be
interesting about a meeting of the top museum people in the city?
The fact that we are all sitting around the table and sharing our
experiences (and probably problems as well, although I hope it will stay
positive). Do you know that we have formed a group of 7 museum
directors and we meet monthly? It includes Bass, Vizcaya, Lowe, MAM,
MoCA, Frost, Wolfsonian directors. It is a good story! In fact, we met
the other night. It gives us an opportunity to share, and to
collaborate, and look at each other's programs and resources so we can
all work together. I think such a group is quite unique and we are all
happy to be together for a great dinner and discussion - away from our
Any other thoughts ahead of the panel discussion?
I hope we can talk about the SINS! Much more interesting than museum administration and its challenges.
"The Role of Miami's Museums in the wake of Art Basel" panel discussion
takes place Thursday, January 13 at 7 p.m. at the Bakehouse Art Complex
(561 NW 32nd St., Miami). To reserve seats call 305-576-2828.