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The Perez Art Museum

Architecturally, this is one of the more inviting and well situated art museums. It is in the heart of downtown, between the ocean and the also inviting science museum. Like the Getty(s) in Los Angeles, it makes the most of its surroundings. It invites you to savor the open spaces, both horizontally and vertically.

back plaza of the Perez Museum, facing towards the sea
back plaza of the Perez Museum, facing towards the building

Like the also well situated and architecturally impressive Broad Museum in Los Angeles, the collection is less impressive. They have only been collecting since 1996, and are heavily focused on contemporary art, emphasizing Latin American works perhaps understandably.

There are standout prints of Jasper Johns’ The Seasons (1987) – The Met has another copy but it’s not on view:

Jasper John's Fall
Jasper John's Winter
Jasper John's Spring
Jasper Johns' Summer

The shadow is Johns himself, but finding each recurring leitmotif and investing it with meaning was a long exercise. The geometric shapes bunched together, the stars, the skeletal hand on black disks…I was transfixed.

Gene Davis’ Blue Freak Out (1966) has a place of honor in a gallery, and while there were a few other examples of color school paintings, it stood out and drew me in.

Gene Davis' Blue Freak Out (1966)

Sculpture is in limited supply. There is a Sol LeWitt, which didn’t do anything to increase my estimation of his work. The highlight is given a separate room of it’s own: Abraham’s Farewell to Ishmael (1987) by George Segal. The :

Farewell to Ishmael (1987) by George Segal
Bye, Hagar & Ishmael…

The expressiveness of the bodies of Abraham and his exiled son juxtapose to the coldness of Sarah, who has demanded Abraham send them away.

The following work would have been well placed to be opposite Blue Freak Out,

Lynne Golob Gelfman's lines pink 5, (2007)

The Artist, Lynne Golob Gelfman, had just passed away – I’ve never seen accompanying text with the author dead, in the first seven weeks of the year and the event already recognized. Was the piece taken out of storage in commemoration? It was one of the better pieces.

The museum was filled on a weekday with classrooms of coloring children which added to the energy…and the noise…of the experience. Miami is taking it’s art seriously, but its still mostly in private sector hands. The Perez and the Bass have a way to go to become a destination but if you’re ready for a break from the beach each is worth a visit.

Published inArt and Architecture

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