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Miami Art Museum and Miami Art Central may merge

Collectors show their support for Miami art museums

Collector Ella Fontanals Cisneros, whose Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation runs the Miami Art Central (MAC) temporary exhibition space in South Miami, could ultimately merge her institution with the Miami Art Museum (MAM), she says. The collector has already signed an agreement to fund exhibitions and programmes in collaboration with the Miami Art Museum.

The first MAC@MAM initiative will be an exhibition of the Austrian Peter Friedl and British artist Tacita Dean, opening on 20 January at MAC. After six months of the partnership, Ms Cisneros says the two institutions will consider joining together.

The news comes as MAM is preparing to begin construction on a $208m building designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron, opening in 2010. But as the museum has fewer than 300 works of art, it is looking to build up links with collectors.

Ms Cisneros, a MAM trustee since 2004, has not said whether she intends to donate her collection of modern and contemporary Latin American art and video which she currently shows at her foundation’s gallery in the city’s warehouse district. But the new partnership suggests that an era of collaboration may be emerging between Miami’s traditionally independent collectors and the city’s public institutions.

“We won’t be a success without the support of collectors. No museum is,” says MAM director Terence Riley. The museum collection has been expanding rapidly in recent weeks. New York dealer Charles Cowles donated 101 photographs in November followed by gifts from local collectors: Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria donated Léger’s 10ft x 15ft relief Femmes aux Perroquets (1951-52) and Niki de Saint Phalle’s 20ft high Red Nana (1995), together valued at $4m; Gloria Luria gave a Sol LeWitt open-cube floorpiece; Dennis Scholl gave 32 photographs, works on paper and sculptures; Mimi Floback gave a Susan Rothenberg painting; the Rubells gave an installation by the local artist who goes by the single name Cooper; and five trustees bought a Vik Muniz waterlilies triptych.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as ‘Collector support for Miami Art Museum'