South Florida

Artwork accidentally damaged during Art Basel week party at Pérez Art Museum Miami

Officials from the Pérez Art Museum Miami survey damage to a concrete sphere, which was damaged during the museum’s one-year anniversary party Thursday night. The work, entitled “Drywood,’’ is by Miami artist Gean Moreno.
Officials from the Pérez Art Museum Miami survey damage to a concrete sphere, which was damaged during the museum’s one-year anniversary party Thursday night. The work, entitled “Drywood,’’ is by Miami artist Gean Moreno. Special to the Herald

A piece in an exhibition at the Pérez Art Museum Miami was damaged accidentally during the institution’s first anniversary party Thursday night.

Museum officials said a visitor tripped over a concrete sphere placed on a gallery floor as part of a work, entitled Drywood, by Miami artists Gean Moreno and Ernesto Oroza. The damaged sphere was removed and was being repaired, but the gallery is open Friday and the work remains on view and accessible to visitors, PAMM said.

The work encompasses a dozen concrete orbs, each with a beach towel embedded in it, arranged on the floor. Viewers are meant to walk through the pieces. One of the hollow spheres, which appear to consist of two halves melded together at a seam, split in two during the mishap, which occurred as several thousand people were at the museum for an event timed to Miami Art Week.

“The damage to the work of art by Gean Moreno was an accident,” the museum said in a statement. “The artist was present at the event and PAMM has responded to remove the work for safety. We will continue to collaborate with Gean to have it repaired.”

The crowd at the event, open to sustaining PAMM members and cardholding VIPs here for Art Week, was orderly. A DJ collective from Britain, Future Brown, played spacey club music while a pair of flyboarders performed behind them, flying over the water just offshore on shoes that shot out pressurized water.

Earlier this year, a protester under the erroneous impression that no Miami artists were exhibited at PAMM, intentionally smashed a vase in a work by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei in one of the museum’s galleries. A review afterward found no issues with museum security.

Michael Spring, Miami-Dade County’s director of cultural affairs, said mishaps do occur with contemporary works that are meant to be accessible to the public.

“This is sort of an occupational hazard with contemporary art,” he said. “It’s no longer art on a pedestal or a painting on a wall. It’s particularly difficult when you have a lot of people at an event.”

PAMM officials said the museum has hosted a dozen events this week for Miami Art Week without incident.

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