Miami’s sleek new Herzog and de Meuron building opens its doors December 4th for the much-anticipated opening of the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Formerly the Miami Art Museum, the museum changes its name and its home, now located in downtown Miami’s Museum Park, off Biscayne Boulevard. PAMM’s opening could not come at a better time, as the international art world flocks to Art Basel in Miami Beach. Filling a void for a world-class museum at this geographic and cultural crossroads of the Americas and the Caribbean, PAMM will offer a focus on Latin American and Caribbean artists, while also satisfying the art-engaged community’s hunger for established and emerging international artists.
With the opening comes a full program of inaugural exhibitions and specially-commissioned installations. Here are some highlights:
“Ai Weiwei: According to What?”: The first major international survey of renowned activist artist Ai Weiwei travels to PAMM, featuring the artist’s provocative social, political and cultural artworks from the past two decades. Known for his ever-present dialogue with and irreverence for his native China or a global audience, Weiwei’s multifaceted practice often engages audiences through his ingenious ideas and incredible craftsmanship. Included in the show is He Xie, an incredibly lifelike pile of orange and brown crabs made from porcelain.
“Amelia Peláez: The Craft of Modernity”: Influential Cuban modernist painter Amelia Peláez del Casal was one of the artists of the primera vanguardia, the pioneering group of Cuban artists who traveled to Europe prior to WWII and brought Cubism, Surrealism and contemporaneous stylistic movements to Cuba upon their return. Known for her bright, abstracted paintings evoking traditional Havana, Peláez and her works are explored through the socio-historical context of Cuba in the first half of the 20th century.
“Project Gallery: Bouchra Khalili”: In this commission, video artist Bouchra Khalili presents the final installment from her video trilogy, The Speeches Series (2012-2013), a project focusing on the act of speaking in order to investigate issue of identity immigration and transience. Each video includes five individuals who read historical texts or manifestoes and offer personal testaments regarding economic and political situations. The video to debut at PAMM targets the clandestine lives of immigrants living in New York City.
“Project Gallery: Monika Sosnowska”: Heavily influenced by the industrial urban landscape of Warsaw, Monika Sosnowska creates large, abstract, sculptures from steel and concrete. For her commission at PAMM, Sosnowska aptly utilizes the lofty ceilings of the Project Gallery, filling the space with her 1,100-pound steel sculpture. Borrowing the structural forms commonly found in market stalls in Warsaw, she she creates a visual impact as the work overpowers the space.
“Project Gallery: Hew Locke”: British Guyanese artist Hew Locke’s For Those in Peril on the Sea, a part of PAMM’s permanent collection, is an installation hung from the ceiling, consisting of dozens of colorful to-scale replicas of ships. The massive exodus of cigarette boats, catamarans, cruise liners, fishing skiffs, and cargo ships suspended above the heads of viewers is visually stunning and conceptually resonant, especially in Miami, given the city’s long-standing history of immigration.
“Project Gallery: Yael Bartana”: Splitting her time between Amsterdam, Tel Aviv and Berlin, Yael Bartana spent her early career in video art examining contemporary issues in her native Israel. Her newest work, which debuts at PAMM, Inferno, is the result of a residency in Brazil and her involvement in a large research-based project on emerging religious movements. The film’s point of departure is the construction of the third Temple of Solomon in São Paulo, a replica of Jerusalem’s first temple, built to biblical specifications.