Art museums are about more than the art that hangs on walls and fills collection displays. They are just as much about the people who fill their halls; and they are about the communities in which they reside and are created to serve.
This couldn’t be truer of The Bass, Miami Beach’s contemporary art museum that came to be after two residents – John and Johanna Bass – donated their private collection to the city in 1964. Since then, The Bass has served as an anchor art institution on Miami Beach and has become a beloved destination for locals seeking culture, companionship, and connection to the community.
As President of the Bass Board of Directors, I am very conscious of the unique role The Bass plays in the Miami Beach community. During our recent $12 million renovation and subsequent re-launch, the notion of continuing to serve as a reflection and nexus of the community was central to our planning. This is evident in our key acquisitions, our programmatic choices, and our physical transformation which combines art-deco and contemporary architecture.
In preparation for our reopening, The Bass also launched a ten-year initiative to add to its permanent collection. The inaugural acquisition was Miami Mountain by Ugo Rondinone. The large rock sculpture is the most significant acquisition in the history of the museum and it resides where everyone in the community can enjoy it all the time – outside in public space.
While The Bass is proud of its many outdoor programs, our physical transformation was all about enhancing the visitor experience inside the museum. We wanted to preserve the feeling that The Bass Museum is for everyone. And it is! The museum is free for all Miami Beach residents and all visitors under the age of twelve.