Posted November 8, 2012
By MALEANA DAVIS
MIAMI, Fla. — Walking in, I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve been to art exhibits before, but not one in Miami. I wasn’t sure what I’d see and if I’d need to turn my head sideways to interpret what I was looking at.
Miami Art Museum is a small and quiet art exhibit center that is dedicated to showcasing modern and contemporary art. It is located at the Government Center in downtown Miami next to the Miami-Dade Public Library and the Historical Museum of Southern Florida.
Before entering the museum, visitors already see art outside of the building. With a statue right above the steps that lead to a patio joining all three buildings and a piece of artwork hanging on the exterior museum wall, I figured that was the type of art I’d see inside, but I was wrong.
At the time I visited the museum, it was showcasing a specific artists’ work, Rashid Johnson; his exhibit called “Rashid Johnson Message to Our Folks.” I was glad that I was able to see it.
When I first walked in, a museum employee sitting at the front desk greeted me. I was expecting to pay a small fee to enter, but the employee asked if I was a student and needed proof, so I showed him my student ID. To my surprise, entry was free for students and I was already even more excited that I decided to visit the museum.
At the beginning of the exhibit, I grabbed a program that gave me some background information about the artist. The first two paragraphs were also on the wall entering the exhibit in plain black font. I immediately asked one of the security guards standing at the entrance if I was allowed to take pictures; even though I already knew what she was going to say, and she of course replied with a no.
Johnson’s exhibit began with a video and next to the small television monitor was a large image titled “Self-Portrait with my hair parted like Frederick Douglass.” Johnson’s exhibit included sculptures and portraits, and even a rug with different sized Styrofoam balls placed on it titled “How Ya Like Me Now.”
Rashid Johnson is from Chicago and his work references and features figures and icons from the African-American culture. Some icons include W.E.B. Du Bois and Miles Davis. His work also includes mirrors, rugs and books, which were present throughout his exhibit.
One of his pieces featured a rug with a TV on it showing an African-American male performing yoga and it was fittingly titled “Black Yoga.” Another one of his pieces was a rectangular mirror hanging on the wall with the words “The Promised Land” spray-painted on it.
Walking through the museum, I saw that his work alternated between black and white and color portraits. Each of his portraits featured African-American men except for two portraits that featured women. His wall-based work incorporated mirrors and shelves that held everyday objects such as books, plants and candle holders.
The museum itself is small, but is very open with big rooms through which visitors can walk. The interior of the museum is simple with white walls and hard wood floors. The gift shop, which is at the entrance, is where visitors can purchase items for friends and families to remind them of their visit to the museum.
The Miami Art Museum had a second level, but it was closed off the day I visited. Construction was going on, which made me even more curious as to what they were doing upstairs especially because the museum is preparing to move to a new location.
The museum is reopening as the Perez Art Museum Miami in Miami’s Museum Park in fall 2013 next to the American Airlines Arena on Biscayne Boulevard. The move is dedicated to accommodating the thriving community of artists, designers and collectors in downtown Miami. Not only will there be the new art museum but also the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science.
As I was leaving the art museum, I realized more people had entered and I was no longer the only visitor. Two people were standing in front of the “Houses in Motion” picture, which was made of branded red oak flooring, black soap, wax and spray enamel.
A family of three was crowded around the first video, which is located at the beginning of the exhibit. They were also reading the program probably trying to get a better understanding of what they were watching.
The Miami Art Museum is a great place to view contemporary work from artists located all over the country. With the new art museum opening downtown next year, visitors and artist will be able to experience more collections and artwork in a beautiful new complex.
IF YOU GO
Address: 101 W. Flagler St., Miami, Fla. 33130, in the Phillip Johnson-designed Miami-Dade Cultural Center.
- Phone: 305-375-3000
- Hours: Mondays: Closed. Tuesdays – Fridays: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays: Noon – 5 p.m.
- Admission: Adults: $8. Senior: $4. Children under 12: free. MAM Members: free. Students with valid ID: free. Combination tickets to HistoryMiami and MAM: $10. Admission is free every second Saturday of the month.
- Tours: MAM offers tours for school groups, adult groups, and youth groups during the summer and they must be scheduled in advanced online.
- Directions by Metrorail or Metromover: Get off at Government Center. Walk south one-half block.
- Parking: Parking is offered at the Cultural Center Garage at 50 NW 2nd Ave. Visitors to MAM receive a discounted parking rate of $5 with a museum validation.
- Directions by car: From North: Head southbound – Downtown on I-95. Take exit 3B/Port of Miami at NW 8th Street. Turn left onto NW 2nd Street. Turn right onto NW 2nd Avenue. The museum is two blocks south on the left and the parking garage on the right. From South: Head north on I-95. Take exit 2B/Arenas at NW 2nd Street and turn right. Turn right again at NW 2nd Avenue. The museum is two blocks south on the left and the parking garage on the right.
- On line: http://www.miamiartmuseum.org/home.asp