ICA Miami a Strong Addition to Thriving Miami Art Scene
A new museum comes to the Miami Design District.
Miami’s newest addition to the its art scene, the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami (ICA Miami) officially opens this evening, with a party celebrating its inaugural exhibitions of work by Pedro Reyes and Andra Ursuta. The fledgling museum joins the burgeoning Miami Design District, a hotspot for innovative fashion, design, art, and architecture.
It wasn’t that long ago that the leaders of the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (MOCA), were embroiled in an ugly legal battle with the city, the institution’s future clouded uncertainty (see “The Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami Sues City For Breach of Contract” and “MOCA North Miami Closes in Controversy“). Now, with that dispute behind them (see “The Battle Over MOCA North Miami Has Ended“), the former MOCA board have taken tremendous strides, establishing the ICA in just a few short months, securing a new home in the Design District’s Moore building, and announcing plans to break ground on a new Aranguren & Gallegos Arquitectos-designed building in the neighborhood (see “The ICA Miami Will Build a New Home“).
“Everything moves at a much more accelerated pace in Miami,” admitted the museum’s interim director, Suzanne Weaver, in a conversation with artnet News during a press preview of the museum held last night. Early this fall, Weaver stepped into the vacuum left by the departure of MOCA’s longtime director Bonnie Clearwater, now with Nova Southeastern University’s Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, taking the reigns of the new ICA (see “Suzanne Weaver Will Lead Miami’s New Contemporary Art Museum“).
Though she hails from Texas, 20-year museum veteran Weaver is a no stranger to the Miami art scene, having attended Art Basel in Miami Beach since it first launched in 2002. Getting involved at the ICA was an easy decision: “Who in their lifetime gets to launch a museum?” She believes that the MOCA/ICA resolution gives the city “two strong, really important museums that will feed off each other.”
Weaver has helped lay out a plan for the museum’s first two years, with programming announced through the spring of 2016. In the spring, the ICA will present its first solo exhibition, of paintings by Ryan Sullivan, while photographs by Shannon Ebner will follow in the fall. In 2016, the museum has planned a mid-career survey for conceptual artist John Miller, ahead of the projected December opening of its new permanent home.
The move to the Design District seems almost serendipitous, as MOCA leadership had spent nearly a decade looking for ways to expand its programs and its reach in the community. It was a conversation between Design District founder Craig Robins and Norman Braman, husband of Irma Braman, the co-chair of the museum’s board, that finally set the ball in motion.
“We’re extremely excited about our move to the Design District, which is part of a dense network of extremely diverse communities including Little Haiti, Little Havana, Edgewater, and downtown. We’re at the center of Miami Dade county and at the crossroads of two major highways,” ICA chief curator and deputy director Alex Gartenfeld told artnet News.
At a Design District press conference announcing the museum’s opening, Miami mayor Tomás Pedro Regalado voiced his support for the new venture, saying “it’s because of education and art that cities become global cities.” He believes the opening of the ICA and other Design District projects (see “The Design District: Miami’s Coolest New Shopping Mecca“) will help kick off a new era for the city.
“There’s a huge appetite for cutting edge contemporary art here in this city, not just this week but throughout the year,” added Gartenfeld.
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