The Bass Mu­seum of Art

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Showtime - Palm Beach - - ART -

After a two-year ab­sence, the Bass mu­seum in Mi­ami Beach is back, now with a $12 mil­lion facelift and bold new works hang­ing in­side its re­vamped gallery spa­ces.

The new vi­sion for the pri­vately run, city-owned mu­seum is a thought­ful blend of old masters and con­tem­po­rary art, says Sil­via Kar­man Cu­biñá, the Bass’ ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. The big­gest ex­am­ple: Bot­ti­celli’s 1492 mas­ter­work “The Corona­tion of the Vir­gin” dec­o­rates one ex­panded down­stairs gallery, which is also cov­ered floor to ceil­ing in 2,000 mul­ti­col­ored plas­tic eggs. Works by El Greco, Rubens and Van Dyck are also in the room, along­side tribal masks and stacked Ara­bic pots by Cameroon-born artist Pas­cale Marthine Tayou, whose new ex­hibit, “Beau­ti­ful,” will de­but when the Bass re­opens Sun­day.

“I want peo­ple to ar­rive and say, ‘Wow,’” Cu­biñá says dur­ing a re­cent tour of the mu­seum. “I’m still look­ing around now, check­ing for any im­per­fec­tions. It’s been a long time com­ing.”

The trans­for­ma­tion of the Bass’ 1936 art deco home, which be­came a mu­seum in 1964, added 4,000 square feet of gallery space, a cav­ernous lobby, a cafe and a more invit­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for Bass vis­i­tors, Cu­biñá says. The ex­pan­sion, de­signed by New York ar­chi­tect David Gauld with help from Tokyo ar­chi­tect Arata Isozaki, pre­serves the Bass’ orig­i­nal Florida key­stone ex­te­rior and in­te­rior col­umns while dou­bling its ex­hi­bi­tion space.

Gone is the lobby’s wind­ing, space-hog­ging key­stone ramp, re­placed with airy hall­ways. These hall­ways branch off into class­rooms, a pair of gallery spa­ces and a sun­lit court­yard, a glassed-in mul­ti­pur­pose room with a 30-foot-high ceil­ing that re­places the Bass’ old pa­tio. The mu­seum’s old education cen­ter is also big­ger, with more class­rooms and a con­fer­ence room that dou­bles as a theater. In ex­pand­ing the muse- Ugo Rondi­none’s “Vo­cab­u­lary of Soli­tude” is part of his “Good Evening Beau­ti­ful Blue” in­stal­la­tion, one of two new ex­hibits at the Bass. um, Cu­biñá says, adding a court­yard proved tricky, and ex­pos­ing the 80-year-old pip­ing of the Bass de­layed its re-open­ing from Mi­ami Art Week in De­cem­ber 2016 un­til now.

“We wanted to pro­tect the art and the art deco ar­chi­tec­ture,” Cu­biñá says. “But what’s also im­por­tant is our in­ter­na­tional con­tem- Reopen­ing with the ex­hi­bi­tions “Ugo Rondi­none: Good Evening Beau­ti­ful Blue” (through Feb. 19) and “Pas­cale Marthine Tayou: Beau­ti­ful” (through April 2) Where: 2100 Collins Ave., in Mi­ami Beach When: Sun­day Cost: Ad­mis­sion Sun­day is free, $5-$10 there­after Con­tact: 305-673-7530 or po­rary art. We live in an in­ter­na­tional city, and if you’re go­ing to start a con­ver­sa­tion with a lo­cal au­di­ence, you have to broaden ev­ery­one’s hori­zons.”

This per­haps ex­plains the assem­bly of 30 clowns loung­ing around the Bass’ up­stairs gallery. Dressed in polka-dot vests, old­timey bowler hats, mul­ti­col­ored fringe and gal­lons of white grease­paint, these life-size clown sculp­tures are part of Switzer­land­based artist Ugo Rondi­none’s “Good Evening Beau­ti­ful Blue,” another Bass ex­hibit open­ing Sun­day. (A third self-ti­tled solo ex­hibit by Mika Rot­ten­berg will open Dec. 7, co­in­cid­ing with Mi­ami Art Week.)

The in­stal­la­tion, ti­tled “Vo­cab­u­lary of Soli­tude,” fills the rec­tan­gu­lar room with clowns do­ing var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties — sit­ting, sleep­ing, day­dream­ing, run­ning — which rep­re­sent “the mun­dane ac­tiv­i­ties” that hu­man be­ings do ev­ery day, ac­cord­ing to wall text. A side gallery of­fers a six-video in­stal­la­tion with a para­graph-size ti­tle, de­pict­ing slow-mo­tion loops of peo­ple gaz­ing out win­dows and other ac­tiv­i­ties over a record­ing of Swell's 1997 alt-rock song “Sun­shine Ev­ery­day.”

The Bass isn’t the only ma­jor art mu­seum reopen­ing this year. Next up is the In­sti­tute of Con­tem­po­rary Art’s new build­ing in Mi­ami’s De­sign District, and its Dec. 1 de­but will also co­in­cide with Mi­ami Art Week.


For Pas­cale Marthine Tayou’s ex­hibit “Beau­ti­ful,” old masters from the Bass’ pri­vate col­lec­tion are wo­ven into Tayou’s dis­play of mul­ti­col­ored eggs, tribal masks and stacked pots.

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