The Bass

By Shayne Benowitz | Oct 5, 2017
Bass Museum exterior
Bass Museum exterior

The Bass returns to South Beach’s Collins Park after a two-year, $12 million renovation.

The Bass, Miami Beach’s longtime contemporary art museum, will reopen on Sunday October 8 after a two-year, $12 million renovation. Set inside a landmark Art Deco building from the 1930s on the National Register of Historic Places, it was originally the Miami Beach Public Library & Art Center designed by Russell Pancoast. The museum opened in 1964 thanks to a donation from the private collection of John and Johanna Bass to the City of Miami Beach. The latest renovations by architects Arata Isozaki and David Gauld expand the building’s internal structure to create nearly 50 percent more programmable space while maintaining the building’s exterior footprint.

Inaugural Exhibitions

Ugo Rondinone's
Ugo Rondinone's "Vocabulary of Solitude" features 45 life-sized clowns

The museum will open its doors on October 8 with two inaugural solo exhibitions and a large gallery dedicated to recent contemporary acquisitions. Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone’s “good evening beautiful blue” is a retrospective of three decades of the artist’s work in mixed media installation and large scale drawings, including an installation that features 45 life-sized clowns called “vocabulary of solitude (2014).” “It’s late… (1999-2000)” is an immersive six-channel video installation featuring slow-motion loops of people doing mundane tasks. The exhibit will run until February 19, 2018.

Pascale Martine Tayou's stacked Arabic pots exhibit at Bass Museum
Pascale Martine Tayou's stacked Arabic pots

Cameroonian artist Pascale Martine Tayou’s solo exhibition “Beautiful” will feature his large scale, mixed media sculptures and installations featuring everything from stacked Arabic pots to works composed of hundreds of pieces of chalk. Tayou will also curate a space pairing his works alongside pieces from the museum’s founding collection. The exhibit will run through April 2, 2018.

Mika Rottenberg NoNoseKnows artwork at Bass Museum
See the US debut of Mika Rottenberg's "NoNoseKnows"

To coincide with Art Basel Miami Beach, Argentine artist Mika Rottenberg’s self-titled solo exhibition will debut December 7, 2017 and run through April 30, 2018 featuring her surreal video and installation work throughout the historic building’s galleries. The exhibition will feature the U.S. debut of several works, including “NoNoseKnows (Artist Variant) (2015),” a video and sculpture installation featuring various scenes from Shanghai, New York and ZhuJi, China.

New Acquisitions

Sylvie Fleury's
Sylvie Fleury's "Eternity Now" neon sign on The Bass facade

Guided by Silvia Karman Cubiñá, Executive Director and Chief Curator, and George Lindemann, Board President, The Bass launched a ten-year initiative to grow the museum’s permanent collection holdings of international contemporary art in September 2016. The initiative was inaugurated by the acquisition of two public art pieces currently on display in the museum’s adjacent Collins Park. The works include Rondinone’s “Miami Mountain (2016),” a totem of five massive, limestone boulders, each painted a different neon color - blue, yellow, orange, red and pink, and Sylvie Fleury’s “Eternity Now (2015),” a neon sign on the building’s facade. Most recently, The Bass also acquired “Petrified Petrol Pump (Pemex II) (2011)” by Puerto Rico-based duo Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, which will be on display in a new gallery when the museum reopens in October.

The New Space

Artist rendering of Bass Museum's new Creativity Center
Artist rendering of the New Creativity Center wing designed for educational programming

With 12,800-square-feet of exhibition space, the renovated Bass presents four new galleries for a total of eight. Six galleries are located on the first floor and two on the second. They will display temporary exhibitions, artist projects and works from the permanent collection. The museum will boast a new café and museum shop, as well as updates to the courtyard, restrooms, stairways and elevators. There’s a new 5,200-square-foot Creativity Center wing designated for educational programming. This full-service wing boasts two classrooms, a multimedia lab, outdoor terrace, as well as administrative offices and a reception lobby.

When The Bass reopens in October, it will be greeted with great fanfare by delighted patrons eager for this Miami Beach institution to take its place once again in South Beach’s beautiful Collins Park.

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