In the end, the building is a means to an end. It just happens to be a smart and elegant means to an end, Collins said. It is our aim to become the go-to cultural institution in Miami.
There will be more collaborative, multi-disciplinary and experimental work at PAMM, Collins said, with an expanded focus on the hot media of video and performance (the museum is now looking for a video and film curator).
For PAMMs grand-opening show, for instance, museum curators have commissioned works from four contemporary-art luminaries: two photo, film and video artists, Israels Yael Bartana and Moroccan Bouchra Khalil; Polish sculptor and installation artist Monika Sosnowska; and Scottish painter and sculptor Hew Locke. All four will visit Miami several times to participate in public discussions, mingle with its artists and generally soak up the city.
Or take the New Work Miami 2013 exhibit on the ground floor of its current home, hidden within a misconceived, fortress-like cultural center that its architect, Philip Johnson, would later virtually disavow.
Ten Miami-based artists collaborated on a series of artworks and installations that use real and reconstructed architectural fragments as the undergirding theme and exhibition framework arches from the Fountainebleau, glass blocks ubiquitous in the 80s, a two-tone pastel wall from Miami Beachs Art Deco district, granite kitchen and bath counters that appear to have been stripped from foreclosed homes, and bike racks from the plaza outside that continue to be used inside the museums lobby.
Outside the building, a 15,000-pound granite sign bearing the logo of Miamis collapsed CenTrust Bank sits below the elevated Metrorail tracks, a reminder of the roller-coaster cycles of international investment and capital that have shaped Miamis urban development.
Artist George Sanchez-Calderon, who rescued the behemoth from a Wynwood scrap yard, said he hopes the new PAMM will follow through on administrators pledge to increase support of the local art community, especially financially. The current show, he said, is a good start.
Its time that there is more investment, in the way you see in other cities like New York and L.A., Sanchez-Calderon said. They need to go deeper into the community, and broader.
But progress on the new building has not come without its share of controversy. Though voters approved the bonds for its construction, some vocal critics have criticized the use of public money for what they describe as an elitist institution, as well as the loss of several acres of park space in a city desperately short of it.
The new PAMM could also require increased public operating support, now about $2 million, because the costs of exhibitions, educational programs and staff are projected to more than double to about $11 million. Some prominent local collectors, including Martin Margulies and Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz, have questioned whether the museums relatively sparse collection around 1,000 pieces merits that kind of public expense. But perhaps the most public, and stinging, flap was over the museum boards decision to accept developer Perezs naming offer, roughly half backed by art from his collection. Some say Perez got a bargain and they raise concerns that, by tying up naming rights for the long-term, the decision will discourage donors from making other, larger gifts.
Collins and board members have strongly defended the naming decision, saying Perezs cash gift went a long way toward helping the museum meet its fundraising obligation, which includes $31 million to offset construction costs, $19 million for transitional expenses, and $70 million for an endowment.
The museum has so far received $75.5 million in pledges and checks, more than enough to cover construction and moving expenses, and is now focused on raising endowment money, MAM said. That pledge total includes a $5 million gift from Coral Gables healthcare entrepreneur Miguel Mike Fernandez and his wife, Constance, that was announced on Thursday.
Perezs donation of 110 works, Collins said, was a valuable supplement to the museums collection, particularly its Latin American segment. A selection from the Perez gift, including works by Wifredo Lam, Diego Rivera and Jose Bedia, will go on exhibit at MAM in March as the current museums swang song.
Perez, meanwhile, has proven an active patron of the museum, Collins said.
Jorge has worked overtime to connect us to people we havent been connected to in the past. That helps you scale up, and its been truly wonderful, he said.