Press Release

Major Artist Commissions to Inaugurate New Permanent Home

Miami, FL

Allora & Calzadilla, Abigail DeVille, Charles Gaines, Mark Handforth, and Chris Ofili to Present New Sculpture and Installation 

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA Miami) today announced the forthcoming debut of six large-scale artist commissions created for the museum’s 2017 inaugural program, including new work by Allora & Calzadilla, Abigail DeVille, Charles Gaines, and Chris Ofili, and Miami artists Mark Handforth and Tomm El-Saieh. Ranging from large-scale painting to site-specific installation, these commissions spotlight trailblazing artists at different stages of their careers, and reflect the museum’s continued commitment to providing an international platform for a wide range of contemporary artists with innovative and experimental approaches to their practices. The new works will inaugurate the sculpture garden and ground-floor galleries of ICA Miami’s new permanent home, opening on December 1, 2017 in advance of Art Basel Miami Beach.

“The commissioning of new work for ICA Miami’s inaugural program embodies our commitment to supporting experimentation in artistic practice and engaging our audiences with a broad spectrum of perspectives and ideas,” said Ellen Salpeter, director of ICA Miami. “Through free general admission, all audiences and backgrounds throughout the Miami-Dade region will have the first opportunity to experience new, thought-provoking works of art that stimulate conversation and advance the appreciation and understanding of contemporary art.”

The museum’s six ground-floor galleries will feature a combination of long-term and rotating exhibitions, including two of the new commissions, works from ICA Miami’s permanent collection, and a space dedicated to temporary scholarly exhibitions that build upon key master works in the museum’s collection. The ground floor opens into the 15,000-square-foot sculpture garden, the museum’s central gathering space, which will showcase an annual schedule of site-specific commissions, gifts, and long-term loans, including major sculptural works by both post-war and contemporary artists.

To inaugurate these new flexible spaces, ICA Miami has commissioned major works by both established and emerging artists, representing a range of international perspectives, as well as the spectrum of influences on cultural production in Miami and internationally. The 2017 inaugural commissions include:

  • A new installation of paintings by internationally renowned artist Chris Ofili, reflecting the artist’s practice of employing historical and cultural references to comment on contemporary society. The focused presentation will inaugurate a dedicated gallery space on the museum’s ground floor;
  • A large-scale installation for the sculpture garden by artist duo Allora & Calzadilla, hailing from Puerto Rico and recognized for their radical approach to the medium;
  • A new work for the sculpture garden by Bronx-born artist Abigail DeVille that reflects on Miami’s rich and diverse social history. DeVille is known for multimedia installations that involve deep social engagement and historical investigation;
  • A major sculpture by Miami artist Mark Handforth depicting a bent telephone pole-star; on view in the sculpture garden, the installation will embody the artist’s signature use of industrial materials and pop iconography.

Fully utilizing the museum’s expanded space, ICA Miami has also commissioned Charles Gaines to create a dramatic two-story installation for the museum’s main passageway between the second and third floors, which will feature an annual rotation of site-specific commissions. Gaines’s practice places him within the legacy of conceptualism, evidenced by works such as his gridded, serial images of trees painted on Plexiglas. Activating the staircase’s vertical cantilevers, the site-specific installation will explore the artist’s application of seriality on a massive scale.

In addition to these large-scale works, a series of new paintings by Haitian-born, Miami-based artist Tomm El-Saieh will inaugurate ICA Miami’s new signature project space on the ground floor. Dedicated to debut solo museum presentations by emerging and under-recognized artists from around the world, the project space will feature commissions of site-specific or experimental works created in response to the flexible gallery. Rotating three times per year, the project space continues the museum’s commitment to providing critical exposure for up-and-coming international talent and bringing a range of emerging artistic voices to the forefront. For El-Saieh’s solo museum debut, he will create a suite of new paintings that explore the connections between abstraction and the Haitian tradition of narrative icon painting, on view through February 2018.

“With the expanded space in our new home, ICA Miami is able to build on our commitment to championing alternative narratives in contemporary art across generations.” said Alex Gartenfeld, deputy director and chief curator. “We are especially proud to feature two Miami artists, Mark Handforth and Tomm El-Saieh; and to inaugurate our new project space as a continuation of the museum’s strong focus on emerging artistic voices.”

Anchoring ICA Miami’s inaugural program is the major survey, The Everywhere Studio, presented in the museum’s second- and third-floor special exhibition galleries, which overlook the sculpture garden. Featuring over 100 works by 50 artists from the past five decades, such as Roy Lichtenstein, Bruce Nauman, Carolee Schneemann, Matthew Barney, Rosemarie Trockel, and Neïl Beloufa, the museum’s inaugural exhibition will explore the evolution of the artist’s studio from the post-war period to present day. Marking the most ambitious and broad-ranging survey ever mounted by ICA Miami, The Everywhere Studio represents ICA Miami’s expanded curatorial mission in its new home, which will juxtapose the works of leading, emerging, and under-recognized artists to create intergenerational dialogues.

About the New Building

Designed by the Spanish firm Aranguren + Gallegos Arquitectos and located in Miami’s Design District, ICA Miami’s new 37,500-square-foot home resonates and reflects the museum’s commitment to the contemporary and to serving its community. With more than double the space for exhibition galleries and a new 15,000-foot sculpture garden, the new building further advances the museum’s mission of providing a dynamic platform for the exchange of art and ideas. 

Visitors will approach the museum from the south, encountering a dynamic façade of interlocking metal triangles and lighted panels. The northern façade, in contrast, features a curtain wall of windows that bring natural light into the museum’s galleries and allow visitors to take in views of the sculpture garden and the surrounding cityscape. The new ICA Miami creates an integrated and transparent environment in which visitors can encounter and experience the museum’s varied artistic programming. The interior of the new museum includes 20,000 square feet of adjustable gallery spaces across three floors that respond to the diversity of artist installations, exhibitions, and performances that ICA Miami presents, as well as increased space for educational and community programming. 

The design and construction of the new building, along with the acquisition of land for the sculpture garden, has been funded entirely by a major capital gift from Irma and Norman Braman. The capital campaign for the new building has been additionally supported by a generous donation of land from Miami Design District Associates. The museum is in currently in the quiet phases of an operational campaign to support and ensure the long-term sustainability of the new institution. 

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Artist rendering of ICA Miami, South Façade, opening December 2017Courtesy of Aranguren & Gallegos Arquitectos and Wolfberg Alvarez & Partners

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