The gift, made in late December, is meant to answer the question that some former supporters raised after the controversial decision to name the building after Pérez: Would potential donors be turned off if the museum were named for a person and not a city?
“We just want people to know that we think the Pérez Art Museum of Miami is a wonderful place,” Scholl said. “ I think we’ve made it clear with this gift how we feel about this institution as a repository for great art.”
Dede Moss, an executive committee member of the museum’s board, said she was “thrilled” to hear about the gift.
“It’s generous and it’s wonderful to fill in our collection,” said Moss, who made a million-dollar challenge grant intended to make sure the museum can “open this gorgeous building with equally gorgeous works.”
MAM started collecting in 1996; before the Scholl gift, it had acquired about 1,000 pieces for the permanent collection. The Scholls launched the Collectors Council there eight years ago, an initiative that is credited with amassing more than 100 works.
Their donation includes installations, such as Ólafur Elíasson’s sculptural installation Your Perfect Lovers and Plexiglas and aluminum screens from Liam Gillick; video from several artists including Raymond Pettibon and photographic work from Zoe Strauss and Anna Gaskell.
“It extends our holdings in a really interesting way,” said chief curator Tobias Ostrander. “The video is really, really exciting.”
Inverted Theme, USA (A House of a Song Bird) —
Debra Scholl, 56, chair of alternative art space Locust Projects, said deciding what to donate was “a major discussion.”
“It was tough to let some pieces go,” she said. “We never had children; some of them are like our children in a way.”
Dennis Scholl said the couple still has something like 500 pieces of art; he has been especially interested in the last couple years in contemporary aboriginal works. The Scholls’ Miami Beach condo is full of their art, and they show work from their collection at World Class Boxing, an exhibition space in Wynwood that they opened after acquiring the Starling piece.
He said the donation came with no requirements, so he’s not sure how or when it will appear in the new building.
Collins said the works will be put to good use.
“They gave us work that’s truly meaningful in terms of what we can present to the public,” he said. “You’re going to get to see all of it at some point. There are things we were just salivating about.”