Collector Jorge Perez Already Has His Name on a Big Miami Museum. Now He’s Opening a Museum of His Own

It's one of many private museums in the city.

Jorge M. Pérez. Photo by Nick Garcia Photography.
Jorge M. Pérez. Photo by Nick Garcia Photography.

Miami, a city famous for being full of collectors who continually splinter their efforts into tiny private museums, now has another new institution.

Florida real estate baron Jorge M. Pérez, who convinced the Miami Art Museum to change its name to the Pérez Art Museum Miami in his honor following his $40 million gift in 2011, is now opening a private museum in the same city.

Designed to showcase his contemporary art collection, the new art center, named El Espacio 23, will be housed in a 28,000 square foot former warehouse. It is due to open in December during Art Basel week.

“I remain whole heartedly committed to supporting the Pérez Art Museum Miami and see Espacio 23 as an extension of that mission,” Pérez said in a statement.

“The [Pérez] museum’s curatorial team has done an incredible job at positioning the museum and our city as an international cultural destination, and this new space will allow us to build upon that work through experimental exhibitions and programming focused around the specific interests of the collection,” he added.

The museum’s first show, organized by Colombian curator Jose Roca, is titled “Time for Change: Art and Social Unrest in the Jorge M. Pérez Collection.” It includes works by 80 artists including Alfredo Jaar, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Doris Salcedo, and Ai Weiwei, among others.

Espacio 23 will also have three apartments and shared work space for residencies, which will last six to eight weeks and be offered to artists and curators in various disciplines and stages of their careers. There are already plans to partner the institution with the Pérez Art Museum Miami and the Reina Sofia in Madrid.

In addition, the new institution will support local artists working in public in the surrounding neighborhood of Allapattah. The first such projects will be with Alberto Baraya, Raimond Chaves, Gilda Mantilla, and Susana Pilar Delahante.

“This new center was born from the belief that at the core of any of the world’s great cities, is a thriving community of artists and creatives,” Pérez said. “This is a project 40 years in the making, and I look forward to inspiring and challenging visitors to think beyond the scope of their personal world views, while also cultivating the artists and curators of tomorrow.”

Among Pérez’s other philanthropic initiatives are two prizes for artists: the $25,000 Jorge M. Pérez Award for alumni of Miami’s National YoungArts Foundation, and the $50,000 Jorge and Darlene Pérez Prize for living artists, selected by the Pérez Art Museum Miami.

In May, he also announced the Pérez CreARTE grants program, which will distribute $1 million to artists and art organizations each year.


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