Miami Beach - this name immediately conjures up a grin on your face. The city is the dream destination in winter, especially with its unique art deco hotels, strung together like a string of pearls on the shining blue ocean and white sandy beach. However, chilling out between the iconic lifeguard cabins on well-kept sunbeds on the beach and recharging your batteries with vitamin D is not everything. Top-class art also attracts to Miami. Just recently, Art Basel has given the city additional glamour for the 18th time with stars and collectors who came from all over the world. All the important museums and collections have opened their latest exhibitions just in time for Art Basel Miami Beach. So it's very worthwhile to travel to Miami now. Here are the six most important art venues - I promise, in the end there will be enough time for perfect beach days and time out for dinner.
1. Rubell Museum – the Hotspot
On to Allapattha! Never heard of it? This is Miami's newest soon-to-be-spot. America's most important collectors, Mera and Don Rubell, have opened their new museum in this district dominated by industrial buildings. And the Rubell is not just any museum, it is one of the largest private museums in America and a must-do. The German star architect Annabelle Selldorf, who lives and works in New York, has converted the former rice warehouse.
Here the attribute is breathtakingly abolutley right. The names of the exhibited artists read like the A-list of contemporary art. The Rubells have been collecting for over 50 years, have always had a feeling for the right thing and have always supported artists as strangers. The former teacher and doctor now owns over 7200 works. The Rubell Museum will open with 300 paintings, installations, video works and sculptures by 100 international artists. Among them two mirrored infinity rooms by Yayoi Kusama - an arty Instagram moment is guaranteed.
2. Margulies Collection – everything is big
For 20 years, the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse in Wynwood, the district known for its street art, has been a permanent address of art. In 1999, real estate tycoon Martin Margulies had the vision that his collection should be accessible to everyone and had an old warehouse redesigned for his idea. The anniversary is now celebrated with the magnificent exhibition. Can it really be 20 years already? In the spacious rooms, old masters of contemporary art such as Willem de Kooning or Michelangelo Pistoletto are presented alongside younger stars of the scene such as Nathalie Djurberg or Olafur Eliasson.
Think big seems to be the Margulies motto; one huge installation replaces the next even bigger one. I was particularly fascinated by Anselm Kiefer's expansive installation Erdzeitalteralter (The Age of the Earth), in which layered canvases poetically tell of transience. Will everything simply disappear at some point? - please don't miss it!
3. Perez Art Museum Miami in beste location
The location of the PAMM is spectacular, as it is located in downtown Miami directly on the waterfront. In 2013 the Swiss Herzog & de Meuron built the museum, and the architect duo was also responsible for the Hamburg Elbe Philharmonic. The PAMM appears light-footed, is built on piles, also to withstand impending flooding. A huge canopy hovers above everything, below it hanging gardens whose plants form natural pillars. The roof provides shade in tropical Florida and the greenery provides natural cooling. The sculpture garden makes you want to simply sit outside in the middle of art and on the water, watching the hustle on the opposite quay
Inside, there are temporary exhibitions in which you can discover artists such as Teresita Fernández, who was born in Miami. With her installations and collages made of precious minerals, crystal or coal, the 51-year-old mixes up political themes such as migration, privileges and borders in an exciting way.
4. El Espacio 23 – brand new!
Allapattah the second: Real estate developer Jorge M. Pérez, that's right, the name giver for the PAMM, followed the Rubells and also turned a warehouse into a museum for his private collection. El Espacio 23 opened its doors for the first time at Art Basel Miami Beach. And, no wonder, everything here is of the highest quality: Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist, is represented with a self-portrait series made of Lego, and the South African William Kentridge with very fine video works. The somewhat unwieldy exhibition title "Time for change": Art and Social Unrest in the Jorge M. Perez Collection should in no way scare off a visit to El Espacio 23.
5. The Bass - a museum icon
It is a rather small museum, a stone's throw from the beach at the height of the W Hotel and since 1964 the icon museum of the city. Originally it was the public library in the 1930s. In 2017, the Art Deco building was completely renovated and currently, three trendy contemporary artists are guests.
With Better Nights, Mickalene Thomas has created a walk-in apartment that beams the visitor into her glamorous childhood at the side of her mother, a famous model, into the 70s. In the show "In the Cone of Uncertainty", the South Korean artist Haegue Yang has, among other things, a boxing ballet whirling through the rooms. And in Blind Spot, Lara Favaretto, who at the Venice Biennale had just plunged the main pavilion of the Giardini into wafts of mist, shows an interactive installation resembling a car wash alongside paintings. Curious? The Bass is a welcome break from a day at the beach.
6. Design District – simply beautiful
Architecture meets art meets shopping meets restaurants. Nobody can miss the beautiful, almost too perfect looking Design District. Everyone who has a name in the fashion or luxury industry can be found here: Tiffany, Bulgari, Prada, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and, and, and. All shops and buildings are designed by famous architects and there are also a lot of hip places to eat and drink.
In addition, there are two top museums in the district, which has been under construction for 20 years. The Institute of Contemporary Art did not open until 2017. The American superstar Sterling Ruby can currently be seen here. A retrospective of 50 works from the past two decades with psychedelically swirling sculptures, trendy paintings, and oversized ceramics.
Right next door is the de la Cruz Collection. In this private museum Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz show their contemporary art collection. Art by conceptual artists like Felix Gonzales Torres or Glenn Ligon or German stars like Cosima von Bonin or Martin Kippenberger. A collection that is fun, uncomfortable, asks questions and encourages you to take a closer look.
The truly real Miami feeling
The second look is particularly rewarding in Miami. What a city that changes abruptly in appearance from one block to the next. One minute everything is chic and highly polished, like in the Design District, and suddenly I'm standing, on my way to downtown, Wynwood or Allapattah, in the typical Miami Hood with small flat-roofed houses and their tiny gardens. Some of them are pretty run-down and at night these corners are rather to be avoided. Everywhere in Miami like Miami Beach the body cult is celebrated. If you think of fitness craze here, you're right. In this city, the body is mainly celebrated with an all accentuating outfit. And with every figure! The golden trousers are put on with wide hips and the legs in the ultra-short mini are not always handsome and slim. Nobody here cares about all that - South America and Cuba are characteristic. It smells of hash from time to time; in the morning, at noon, in the evening the smoke clouds pass by. In this part of the Sunshine State Florida everything seems to be sugared with a pastel lightness of being.
And Art Basel Miami Beach?
Art Basel Miami Beach feels like a single performance piece: Stars like Kate Moss or David Beckham arrive, influencers like Kim Kardashian mix with the art scene, and Lenny Kravitz invites you to dance. For the 18th time there were parties without ending. Dior celebrated the upcoming men's fashion collection in the rocked-out warehouse opposite the Rubell Museum, even before its official opening. In the lavishly renovated Convention Center, over 260 international galleries presented their artists at Art Basel Miami Beach. Directly on the beach, a casual tent attracted the worth seeing untitled and the Nada invited very successfully to the Ice Palace Film Studios. At these two satellite fairs you could discover art in a very relaxed atmosphere. Wonderful, and anyone travelling to Art Basel Miami Beach in December 2020 should add these two fair venues to their calendars.
Where to eat and sleep?
Miami is a melting pot of cultures and an immigrant city. This becomes especially clear when you eat. Diversity is everything here. We had the classic, American steakhouse with the amazing view from South Point Miami Beach to the skyline of Miami at Smith & Wollensky's - vegetarians will be happy here, too.
Italian wanted? Then we went to the always hip Cecconis in the Soho House Miami Beach or to the reduced Doma -Food & Wine in Miami Wynwood. Delicious!
In a Cuban atmosphere we ate in the Sireneuse - expensive, but very good! A tip for best seafood is the Sea Spice.
In the Design District, food in the St. Roch Market is considerably cheaper, but with style. In the market-hall-like location everyone gets what he likes: Bowls, Japanese, Peruvian, Italian or Israeli cuisine. Everything eats well. For burgers & co. we were very happy late in the afternoon, exhausted from a lot of art, at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink - here too there is food to satisfy vegetarians.
Those who only feel like having a coffee during the shopping frenzy will be well taken care of at OTL, opposite the yellow painted Fendistore. For those who feel like having a roof terrace, I recommend the Rooftop Café of the Dior boutique, here, one sits between big Toile de Jouy animals.
And stay where? There is an endless list of hip hotels in Miami Beach, for example the W South Beach, Delano South Beach or Setai Miami...We had rented a small apartment in Miami, which was quite comfortable in the evenings. Just start your search in the world wide web with your own preferences. Have fun in the art and on the beach!
About the author:
Juliane Rohr is a journalist, lives and works in Berlin. She writes with passion about art and people in art. Monthly she discusses exhibitions in the blog of kochen, kunst und ketchup and under @jr.artynotes you can follow her latest art tips on Instagram.