The Magic City's global art scene continues to grow with the bass, a newly re-minted Miami institution that now has more space and exhibitions inside its original art deco facade.
Silvia Karman Cubiñá, executive director and chief curator of The Bass.
The wait is over. After two years of careful construction inside its 1930s Art Deco building, Miami Beach’s Bass Museum of Art is reopening this month. The museum has a new name, a new focus, a new educational wing and, thanks to the removal of a sprawling pedestrian ramp, an additional 4,100 square feet of exhibition space. The entire second floor is being given over to good evening beautiful blue, a show of Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone’s work, including a creepy array of 45 life-size clown sculptures sure to become Instagram faves. Downstairs, Cameroonian artist Pascale Marthine Tayou is installing Beautiful, which mixes his own creations and reconfigured found objects alongside selected pieces from the museum’s permanent collection. We asked the museum’s executive director and chief curator, Silvia Karman Cubiñá, what to expect from the nowexpanded institution.
The new name is short and sweet. Just… The Bass. No more ‘Museum of Art.’ People already call it The Bass. ‘I love the Bass, I hate the Bass, let’s go to the Bass!’ So we said, ‘Let’s embrace our identity, let’s use the colloquial name.’ One of the goals of this project was the overall visitor experience. We didn’t have much in the way of a lobby or amenities when we started. Now we have a new lobby space, a café, a store and five new all-gender individual bathrooms. It looks beautiful!
You’ve shifted the programming to focus on contemporary art, with a lot more room in which to show it. We added four new galleries! It’ll allow us to produce even more ambitious exhibitions. And we now have the largest educational facility of any art museum in Miami-Dade County, with three classrooms and a multimedia room—all with their own entrance.
Tell us why you chose these particular artists to reopen the museum with. These artists, as a group, really demonstrate the global diversity we want to show. Pascale Marthine Tayou deals with larger social issues, while Ugo Rondinone’s work is all about looking inward, at you and your own feelings—which makes for an intimate experience.
If I had just five minutes, starting at the front entrance, what’s my must-see museum attack plan? Take a quick selfie at Ugo Rondinone’s ‘Miami Mountain.’ Then enter The Bass and walk into the new lobby. Turn to the left to see the Allora & Calzadilla ‘Petrified Petrol Pump’ and proceed through the lobby to see Pascale Marthine Tayou’s ‘Welcome Wall.’ Go up the new stairs and straight into Ugo Rondinone’s exhibition in the large Muss gallery to see his work ‘vocabulary of solitude.’ Then go down the elevator and grab a coffee to go at the Café. While they make it, buy a Bass notepad and colored pencils!
Do you have a favorite spot to take in the new museum? If you stand on 22nd Street just before Park Avenue, at almost 5 o’clock, you’ll see the ballerinas dancing in their class through the window of the Miami City Ballet. And you’ll also see our kids through the Bass’ window making art as part of ‘Art Camp.’ It’s a really great moment. 2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305.673.7530, thebass.org