Art Basel may be once a year, but art in Miami is forever. Likewise, the city’s art of living is intimately intertwined with its deep cultural heritage that lives along the waterfronts. We want to take you on the tour of the must-see museums--if not for their architecture, design, or innovation, then for their brow-raising eclecticism.
Perez Art Museum: Art with a View
We just love a good location, don’t you? Even more with a view. Few institutions do this better than Miami’s flagship art museum, Perez Art Musem of Miami (PAMM for insiders), located on the waters of Biscayne Bay with a beautiful view of Miami Beach on the other side. The building itself is known for its baffling architecture--one wonders how gravity has not yet had its way … Whatever the reason, we’re always happy to be in the presence of such innovation, as it’s atypical (and delicate) framework spotlights the vertical gardens suspended from the canopy’s overhang. To thank we have Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, who were inspired by Miami’s stint of a “Stiltsville” village in the 50s, which featured homes built on stilts (think moko jumbie meets real estate).
Situated in a lively area--American Airline Arena (Go Heat!) to the north, Brickell to the south, and gorgeous condominiums in between--the museum’s expansive patio is another site for special events. And on particularly beautiful afternoons, we go to the museum's waterfront restaurant and bar, Verde, which specializes in fresh ingredients and fresher cocktails. The following nap should be taken on the hammocks just outside its glass walls, in the midst of the sea breeze. Just lovely.
Drop a pin at the Perez Art Museum if …
- Art is best digested before the sea
- You’ve always been amazed by the moko jumbies at festivals
- Art in the heart of the city reigns supreme
Vizcaya Museum and Garden: History in the Making
We all know it, and we all love it. The Vizcaya Museum and Garden is also located on Biscayne Bay, however further south in the Coconut Grove neighborhood and has roots deeply entwined with the history of Miami. Here’s the short version: First a thought in 1910, built in 1912, destroyed and restored in the great hurricanes in 1926-1935, opens as museum in 1954, has air conditioned installed in 1986 (very important!), Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan meet here the following year (even more important!), makes National Historic Landmark list in 1994, and finally, in 2011, makes its latest debut after a $50 million revamp.
What does all this tell us? That a visit to the Villa Vizcaya is mandatory, and not because of its gorgeous Italian Renaissance gardens or Mediterranean Revival architecture, but because it is quintessential of the elegance and exclusivity of old Miami, and is a legacy we want to be a part of!
Not to mention, the museum itself is home to luxe artifacts, such as precious metals that once graced the necks of international socialites.
While there, we recommend taking the time to discover the grounds: the intimate cafe, the exquisite sculpture collection, the orchidarium, and (can you imagine) its village of luxury properties. All of which you may or may not have seen in the films Tony Rome with Frank Sinatra or Any Given Sunday with Al Pacino; nevertheless, here’s the chance to be a part of the scene!
An afternoon at Vizcaya awaits if …
- Elegance is key
- History is also key
- You’re an old soul
Museum of Contemporary Art: A Collector’s Item
This museum is small (2,100 m2), and still a favorite among contemporary art collectors. The Museum of Contemporary Art is located in the city center of North Miami, and you’ll find it with the letters M-O-C-A in bold and in black stamped across the side of the modern-styled building. Inside the institution exhibits a selection of both established and emerging artist, with an impressive permanent collection that attracts all from the art world. So of course, we followed (and so must you).
Since 1996, this little arena has served as a local and international institution, hosting jazz concerts, educational programs, as well as private shows during Art Basel. During a typical week, the foot traffic is slow; so it’s nice to pop in when in need of a moment of peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of Downtown Miami and Miami Beach, or looking for a rare piece to make your living room complete.
Take an artistic escape to the Museum of Contemporary Art if …
- You are a contemporary art collector
- You want to become a contemporary art collector
- You are looking for a contemporary art in a change of scenery
The Wolfsonian Museum: The Academy
This next museum also gets an A+ for location. In the heart of the Art Deco District of Miami Beach, lies a museum, library, and research center founded by Mitchell Wolfson, an art collector with an affinity for the decorative and propaganda arts. The Wolfsonian (could it be any more original?) is also an affiliate campus of Florida International University (FIU), and is quite an exciting building to look at (just wait till you go inside).
After discovering its collection of artifacts (rare books, ephemera, textiles, ceramics, furniture, and industrial design objects), it can be pleasant to meet a friend and get an early evening drink at the Pan Pan Cafe, stationed in between a huge selection of design and architecture books. And after, stroll through the green paths of Lummus Park and onto the breezy shores of South Beach. It’s an intimate learning environment in the heart of all the action, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
Meet at The Wolfsonian if …
- You were an A+ student
- You crave the academic environment
- Beach + book = heaven
Lowe Art Museum - The Cosmopolite
Here’s a special treat for those who value family life. Under the palm trees in the chic-suburban neighborhood of Coral Gables, we found a lovely little art museum known as the Lowe Art Museum. Opened in 1950, it was the first of it’s kind (and so it has a special place in our hearts) in South Florida, thanks to the philanthropic duo Joe and Emily Lowe. Today it's run by the University of Miami, found on its campus, and an institution to the community.
Its collections go well with the international crowd because the works and antiques have traveled far, from Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, as well as through time from Greco-Rome to the Renaissance to the Baroque to 19th century America to the contemporary world today. And we’re telling you, it’s a trip worth taking.
We love that this museum is very family oriented. The venue host community events for newborns and senior citizens, and everyone in between monthly lecture series, children programs, and art classes for all!
Keep the creative juices flowing at Lowe Art Museum if …
- You want your children to be worldly
- You want your children to be cultured
- You want to be worldly and cultured like your children