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With New Art + Research Center, ICA Offers a Singular Study of Miami Issues

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Lately, it seems like Miami's fledgling art institutions are growing as fast as the high-rises. Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is barely three years old, and as the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) prepares to move into its large permanent home, it's already nipping at PAMM's heels.

While the ICA's future building is still under construction in the Design District, the museum recently announced its newly formed Art + Research Center (A+RC), which will host a series of special workshops in conjunction with Florida International University. The launch represents the first museum-based research department in South Florida dedicated to theoretical inquiry.

Its first project, a monthlong workshop series open to public enrollment, will concentrate on the intersection of contemporary art and environmental and social issues. It's a topic of particular importance to locals who continually gaze upon an expanding skyline, built by developers with little to no regard for the consequences of gentrification or sea-level rise. 

Collaborating with FIU's MFA visual art program, the A+RC’s field-advancing curricula will include a calendar of lectures, programs, and symposia geared toward fostering robust dialogue with the general public. Speakers include Hito Steyerl, Simon Denny, Evan Calder Williams, and writer Ana Teixeira Pinto.
“The Art + Research Center greatly enhances ICA Miami’s mission to develop rigorous scholarship in our community,” says ICA Miami director Ellen Salpeter. “The center is indicative of a number of new ideas that the museum is developing as we begin to transition into our new permanent home late next year.”

The pilot seminar will begin October 3 and feature lectures by leading artistic theorists, with special emphasis on how art can tackle the growing complexities of the modern world. Titled New Social Abstraction, the series will address how multinational corporations and the financialization of the world economy blur sociopolitical and cultural borders, leaving many artists caught in the middle. 

Though local cultural institutions swell — along with real-estate values — they've yet to significantly address the unrest created by Miami's art-led reinvigoration. The success of the A+RC will test if the arts can do more than boost condo sales. 

Art + Research Center
Most programs take place at ICA Miami, 4040 NE Second Ave., Miami. Applications to New Social Abstraction are open to the public, and enrollment is free. Visit icamiami.org/arc.

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