1. Travel
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Bass Museum of Art

By Tamara Lush

Bass Museum of Art
Bass Museum of Art
Haitian voudou art, vast swaths of religious-themed tapestries and Renaissance masters await visitors at the Bass Museum of Art. This small yet unique museum is one of Miami Beach’s cultural jewels.

The museum was founded in 1963 when art collectors John and Johanna Bass bequeathed their extensive collection to the city of Miami Beach. The collection and it’s highly varied, always changing exhibits, is housed in a piece of art itself: a symmetrical art-deco building that was once Miami Beach’s first public library.

Tourists will likely visit the museum for its temporary exhibits, (one recent and fascinating show featured photos and dioramas of Christo’s “Surrounded Islands,” when the famous artist wrapped the barrier islands near Miami Beach in pink fabric). This summer the museum features two important Haitian art exhibits. The first showcases the art collection of director Jonathan Demme (of Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia fame). Demme began collecting Haitian art in the 80s. The Bass Museum will show 80 paintings, sculptures and tapestries from some of the most important contemporary Haitian artists. The second exhibit, called “Voudou Pantheon,” is a collection of paintings and sculptures by Edouard Duval-Carrie that are owned by the Museum. The museum has also scheduled weekend symposiums, films and lectures about Haitian art; check the website or call for more details.

Another exhibit, “Arturo Rodriguez: Human Comedy,” takes visitors to another Caribbean island: Cuba. Rodriguez, a Cuban-American from Miami, paints whimsical portraits – and his subjects all have comically large heads.

The Bass Museum’s permanent collection is just as interesting, if not a little more traditional. Among the treasures: Sandro Botticelli’s “The Coronation of the Virgin,” a late 15th Century altarpiece and Peter Paul Rubens’ “The Holy Family.” Other works include Rococo portraits, Dutch master paintings and plenty of cherub-cheeked babies. Visitors will also notice the enormous 16th Century Flemish tapestries as they walk up a gentle ramp connecting the museum’s first and second floors.

Upcoming exhibits are in the modern realm, and include tapestry works by Picasso, Matisse and Calder, and a body of Miami-based work by French artist Herve di Rosa.

Museum hours: 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday; 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sunday. Closed on Mondays and holidays. Docent tours every Saturday at 2 p.m., these are free with regular admission. Visitors can also buy souvenirs, postcards and some eclectic, inexpensive Latin American-produced art in the gift shop. Museum entrance fee: $9 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, children under six and members free. Admission is also free for holders of the Go Miami card. 2121 Park Ave. (Between 21st and 22nd Streets), Miami Beach, FL 33139. Parking can be tricky, especially on weekends; most visitors park in metered spaces on the street. For more information, call (305) 673-7530 or visit them on the web.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.