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Ugo Rondinone and Mika Rottenberg Inaugurate Expanded Bass Museum in Miami Beach

10 months ago

The Bass, Miami Beach‘s contemporary art museum, announces its newly transformed space will open to the public on December 1, 2016, with three solo exhibitions by acclaimed contemporary artists Ugo Rondinone, Mika Rottenberg, and Pascale Marthine Tayou.

This celebratory occasion will feature Rondinone’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States and the U.S. premiere of several significant works by Rottenberg. The Bass has also commissioned a site-specific installation by Tayou to inaugurate the newly redesigned space. A press preview will take place on Tuesday, November 29 prior to a Members’ Preview on Wednesday, November 30, to coincide with Art Basel Miami Beach.

After a $12 million project spanning the past 18 months, The Bass will premiere an entirely reinvigorated space as part of the institution’s multi-faceted transformation. Led by architect Arata Isozaki with consultation from David Gauld, the historic Miami Beach institution has been restructured to create a nearly 50 percent increase in programmable space, accommodating four new galleries, a museum store and café, and a new Creativity Center for education to open in Spring 2017. From an expanded and more dynamic physical space to a new visual identity including name, logo and website, The Bass unveils a new space dedicated to larger exhibitions and engaging programs for a further enhanced visitor experience.

George Lindemann, President of the Board of Directors for The Bass comments, “We are Miami Beach’s contemporary art museum, and we are fortunate to have the support from the Miami Beach Commission, who make art and culture a priority in our city. This is more than just a building renovation, rather it is a transformation that brings the physical museum to the level of its curatorial ambition. The museum’s walls carry more than a 50-year legacy as the first public exhibition space in South Florida and have grown to host some of the most intriguing and inspiring contemporary artists of today.”

“The three exhibitions we chose to inaugurate the new space reflect The Bass’ commitment to presenting international contemporary art of established and mid-career artists,” says Executive Director and Chief Curator Silvia Karman Cubiñá. “We are proud to present Ugo Rondinone’s first U.S. museum show, along with pioneering newly commissioned work by Pascale Marthine Tayou and introducing pivotal works by Mika Rottenberg to the U.S. Our vision for The Bass has always expanded even beyond our walls, throughout the city of Miami Beach. Now, we are delighted to have a space which allows us to welcome the visitors and residents who have long supported us throughout the years with a further enhanced experience, as well as expand our audience to more first-time guests.”

Spanning the entirety of the museum’s newly designed second floor across three exhibition spaces, Good Evening Beautiful Blue by Ugo Rondinone marks the first U.S. solo museum exhibition for the Swiss-born, New York-based artist. The exhibition is a part of a multi-institution retrospective, comprising works that span three decades of Rondinone’s practice, from the late 1990s to the present. Referring concurrently to the natural world, romanticism and existentialism, the work of Ugo Rondinone encapsulates a “mental trinity” that has underpinned his art for thirty years.

Good Evening Beautiful Blue evolves around three installations, which elaborate around the sensation of circularity, entropy, passivity and dreaminess. Vocabulary of Solitude, 2016, an installation of forty-five, life-size clown figures that are each named individually in the present-tense (sleep, dream wake, sit, stand, walk, shower), together describe a day in the life of a single man as he goes about his daily routine without leaving his home. A separate gallery presents It’s late and the wind carries a faint sound as it moves through the trees. It could be anything. The jingling of little bells perhaps, or the tiny flickering out of tiny lives. I stroll down the sidewalk and close my eyes and open them and wait for my mind to go perfectly blank. Like a room no one has ever entered, a room without doors or windows. A place where nothing happens., an immersive six-channel video installation from 1998, displaying slow-motion loops of people doing various isolated mundane tasks. On view in the third space will be Clockwork for Oracles from 2008, a four-wall installation comprised of 52-mirrored windows (one for each week in the year) set against a backdrop of whitewashed pages from The Miami Herald.

Mika Rottenberg‘s self-titled solo exhibition occupies the large gallery on the main level of the museum, presenting a selection of work from various series within the past five years of the Argentinean-born, New York-based artist’s practice. Rottenberg’s work focuses on elucidating the mechanics of late-stage, global capitalism by way of absurd and poetic comparisons. The most notable work included in the exhibition is NoNoseKnows, 2015, a video and sculptural installation that documents a group of laborers in China who harvest pearls from oysters, which first debuted at the 56th Venice Biennale last year.

Also on the main level of the museum is Pascale Marthine Tayou‘s exhibition, Beautiful. Greeting visitors as they enter The Bass’ redesigned space is a newly commissioned, site-specific work called Welcome Wall, composed of 75 animated LED signs, reading “welcome” is a wide array of languages. Born in Cameroon and based in Ghent, Tayou brings his self-described nomadic practice to Miami Beach for his exhibition, creating an organic and collaboratively formed intervention with the museum’s permanent collection. In the newly designed ‘Open Storage’ gallery, Tayou presents his work alongside his own selection of objects from The Bass collection, creating a dialogue between contemporary art works and objects from the past, speaking to his overall practice and material considerations for incorporating various objects from his immediate surroundings into the installation. Tayou’s concern for the decolonization of histories and territories aligns with the international and transient nature of Miami Beach and the impact tourism continues to have in shaping the city.

Carla Ingrasciotta

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