Bass museum’s Miami Beach expansion delayed

Construction on the landmark Art Deco building pushed back until spring 2017


Those who were planning to visit the newly expanded Bass museum during this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach fair will be out of luck. The institution’s grand reopening, which was originally scheduled for 1 December, has been postponed until spring 2017. The museum says construction delays are to blame for the new schedule. The $12m renovation of the Bass’s landmarked Art Deco building has been in the works since 2013 and aims to increase programmable space by nearly 50%.

“The process of renovating historic landmarks differs greatly from that of modern structures, and we have needed to extend our construction deadline to accommodate these intricacies,” the museum’s director Silvia Karman Cubiñá says in a statement. The original building on Collins Avenue was constructed in the 1930s by the architect Russell Pancoast, the grandson of Miami Beach’s first developer, John Collins. It was placed on the National Register in 1978.

The Bass has been closed since May 2015. When it reopens next year, it will have four additional galleries, a store, café and new education facility. The museum’s inaugural exhibitions will also be rescheduled to next year, including the first solo US museum presentation of work by Ugo Rondinone, video and sculpture installations by Mika Rottenberg and an LED wall installation by Pascale Marthine Tayou.

The museum previously expanded in 2002, but has seen its attendance rise considerably since then, thanks in part to the booming popularity of Art Basel Miami Beach. The Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, who designed the first extension, is overseeing the new renovation.

The Bass has not been entirely dormant during its closure. It organised a ten-month-long programme of talks, exhibitions and performances—including a small show by Rachel Harrison and a presentation of artist-made shoes—at the Miami Beach Regional Library that concluded in July. A spokeswoman says the Bass is planning off-site programmes during this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach fair, but details have yet to be confirmed.