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While we were in Miami over Christmas, we went to the new Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). See earlier post here. The museum opened with a show of Ai Wei Wei’s (艾未未) work titled “According to What?”.

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Ai Weiwei is one of the leading contemporary artist of his generation from China. First becoming famous for his work Fairytale in 2007 and then he collaborated with Herzog & de Muron on the design of the Beijing National Olympics Stadium in 2008.

China log 2005  (made with 8 pillars salvaged from Qing dynasty temples and assembled using traditional joinery techniques).

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But after the Sichuan earthquake, he was determined to create artwork commenting on the value of life. He had been challenging the Chinese government and in 2011 he was detained for 81 days by the Chinese authorities on alleged charges of tax evasion.

Study of Perspective perez-8

This is the first time I saw his work. While not overly commercial, his works feels opportunistic and somewhat unsurprising. His works have been understood to ask certain fundamental questions concerning the human conditions, cultural and social aspects.

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According to the catalog, his works are created using a very simple form and systematic method similar to that of conceptual and minimal artists – Sol LeWitt and Donald Judd.

 

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In Feb 2014, a man picked up one of his ceramic works (Colored Vases) in the museum and smashed it. The series consists of vases from the Han dynasty which had been dipped in industrial paint. Ai weiwei had photographed himself dropping one such Han dynasty vase, thereby destroying 2,000 years of cultural tradition as an act of conceptual art. See the NYTimes coverage here.

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His Circle of Zodiac Animal Heads 2010 were also on display in the plaza.

perez-3The statutes represent those that were installed at the Yuanming Yuan in the Old Summer Palace which was razed and looted by British and French soldiers in 1860.

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We have no idea what the originals looked like but these statutes are rather austere if not downright oppressive-looking.

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It was a good show in a beautiful museum. This is a screen capture of a live web cam of the museum on Dec 31, 2013.

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Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), formerly known as the Miami Art Museum from 1996 until 2013, reopened at a new location on December 3, 2013. It is overlooking Biscayne Bay and provides a sculpture garden. We were lucky to be in town and visited it before it is even a month old !

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Adjacent to it and currently under construction is the city’s Science museum. When it is completed, the whole park will become an area for science and arts education as well as spaces for cultural and relaxation programs.

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The three-story building, built by Herzog de Meuron sits upon an elevated platform and below a canopy, both of which extend far beyond the Museum’s walls, creating a shaded veranda and plazas.

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The canopy is perforated to allow in light, and lush vegetation grows out of suspended planters amongst the columns, transforming the veranda into a multi-dimensional garden. The architect has created a slide show showing off its building on their web site, here.

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The museum is dedicated to collecting and exhibiting international contemporary art of the 20th and 21st centuries.

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The permanent collection galleries are located on the first and, principally, the second level, which  also house extensive temporary exhibition galleries.

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The interior of the museum comprises a series of distinct galleries and other public areas connected by a series of interstitial spaces displaying the permanent collection, allowing for a fluid visitor experience.

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It houses a collection of pieces from the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry – a comprehensive private archive of art that marries image and word. Something I have not seen anywhere before.

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This is my favorite which consists of hundreds of pieces of dyed cloth placed in circles on the floor.

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It had a small, rather open and flexible “auditorium” where visitors can sit on the steps and watch a performance or video.

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Nice museum – not overwhelmingly huge, quite comfortable, a neutral atmosphere.

 

pinacoteca-9Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (Museum of the state of Sao Paulo) is a highly regarded museum dedicated to the visual artists of Brazil from the 19th century to now.

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Designed in 1897 by Ramos de Azevedo, the museum building housed the first art school of the city, Liceu de Artes e Ofícios. It is the oldest art museum in the city but slowly took on the role of the city’s museum of contemporary art.

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The building is standing in one corner of the Parque da Luz.

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In 1997, architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha renovated the eclectic neoclassical building by stripping it of the stucco that covered it and leaving a stunning columned palace in exposed brick.

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He won the Mies van der Rohe Prize (2000) for this building and later the Pritzker Prize (2006) with another in Sao Paulo.

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There are two interior courtyards each covered by a glass lattice which allows sunlight to stream inside, illuminating several pieces of sculpture.pinacoteca-4

Over its 100 years of existence, the museum has accumulated more than 9000 pieces representing 300 years of works by Brazilian artists.

pinacoteca-3 ‘The Nanás’ Fountain’ (Fonte das Nanás) by Niki de Saint-Phalle (photo below).

pinacoteca-5There is a permanent collection and the museum mounts several temporary exhibitions at the same time. The types of art work range from audiovisuals to modern sculpture.

pinacoteca-6I particularly enjoyed the audiovisual works of William Kentridge: Fortuna.

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The museum has three floors connected by an elevator situated in one of the courtyards.

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The lowest floor has an auditorium and a cafe. The museum shop is a bit underwhelming (compared to those in big European cities) but the museum has published many books in relation to its exhibitions.

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Hmm, the upper floors are apparently supported by giants on the lowest floor !

pinacoteca-10This is a museum that is really worth visiting multiple times, for its timeless exhibition space and diverse exciting programs.

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The BMW Musuem is located across the street from and connected via a footbridge to BMW World. Go to our earlier post to see a bird’s eye view of the whole complex which includes the main manufacturing plant behind the HQ.

The silver bowl-shaped building was built in 1973 by the architect who built the tall HQ building next to it. It was closed for renovation from 2004 and reopened with the BMW World in 2008.

View of the hourglass of BMW Welt from the museum side.

The museum shows off BMW’s technical development throughout the company’s history.

Although several pre-BMW brand era cars were displayed at the entrance to the museum, the exhibition is theme-based rather than chronologically structured, allowing the exhibits to highlight the developments in various areas such as design, engines and motor sport.

According to the museum’s web site, the inner structure of the round building is created with the concept of a continuation of the road in an enclosed space. The museum building appears closed and small from the outside while it looks very open and spacious inside.

After having spent too much time in the BMW Welt and that we had to go back to the hotel for the Champions League Final pre-game events, we did not enter the museum proper.

A very impressive feature of the interior is the projection walls – where line drawings of various models, engine designs, etc. are projected and the outlines of cars, like traffic, move slowly passing from panel to panel around the building.

The design of the indirect lighting successfully created a hi-tech and yet serene atmosphere for the lobby area. Most of the time these two concepts don’t come together naturally. It worked well here.

The company started making cars around 1928 – originally a maker of aircraft engine (used in Wold War I) and then motorcycle. Every BMW fanboy must come here for a pilgrimage tour.

View of the HQ from the hourglass.

As much as we wanted to look at the museum more closely, we had to rush back to the hotel for the pickup to the stadium for the Champions League Final.  Next time when we return to Munich, we will come back and revisit the BMW museum properly.

One side trip we took while we were in Barcelona earlier this year was a visit to Figueras.  The only reason to visit that place is the Dalí Theatre-Museum (El Teatre-Museu Dalí), the largest surrealistic object in the world. I came to see this place many years ago but did not mind revisiting. It has a geodesic dome, gold-colored mannequins, and a dozen giant eggs on top, while the perimeter wall is studded by an array of croissant-like baked products.

It occupies the building of the former Municipal Theatre, a 19th century construction which was destroyed at the end of the Spanish Civil War. On its ruins, Dalí decided to create his museum. This inner courtyard is to me the most interesting space.

Inside this classic American car, is a mannequin and a sprinkler system which can be turned on by inserting coins into a slot next to the driver.  The effect is raining inside a car. Surreal ?

There are rows of waving gold-colored  faceless mannequins which remind me of the Academy award statutes.  High up is a boat dripping thick drops of blue liquid, and beneath it a fat lady standing on a black car.

Several pieces are massive, occupying several floors  …

Lincoln ??

The museum was a bit of a let down, especially the paintings. The pieces do not seem as impressive and I believe the best are displayed elsewhere. Perhaps I had too high an expectation – likely a by-product of only vaguely remembering how I enjoyed the previous visit.

The patches of feather on the wall behind the bust are stuffed pheasants and those black dots on her face are painted ants (below).

Below is a construction of Mae West’s face as viewed through a lens while standing on a platform.

The painted ceiling of a room depicting Dali and Gala going to heaven.

What turned out to be more interesting is what lies next door, an exhibition of jewelry designed by Dali.  Next post.

We took a day-trip out of Barcelona to visit Salvador Dali’s museum in Figueras.  Down the street from Dali’s is a museum of toys (Museu del Joguet de Catalunya).  It is a fairly well run place with lots to see, including toys that belonged to famous Spanish people.

What startled us were the dolls from early 20th century that were on display in the museum.

Why are they all looking to one side ?

Chucky’s bride ?

Night at the Museum !

Just the opposite, the devil looked much less treacherous, almost hilarious.

They looked collectively paranoid with that distrustful, almost submissive, sideway glances.All of them have hands with out-strectched fingers (due to I presume primitive manufacturing) –  and they look menacing, as if they are about to grab or strangle someone.  The way they are displayed makes it look like they are levitating.

This doll looks stunned but she has a cool denim-like dress.

Even the toy pets looked dangerous or evil.