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MAM to Present Three Public Art Projects During Art Basel Miami Beach

MIAMI.- Miami Art Museum (MAM) will present works by Jeff Koons, Daniel Arsham, and John Henry which will be installed at three public sites throughout the city during Art Basel Miami Beach 2008. These large-scale installations are part of MAM’s ongoing initiative to move programming beyond the walls of the museum and into the community.

Jeff Koons’ Silver Rabbit Balloon, a 50-foot rabbit-shaped balloon originally commissioned for the 2007 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, will float above MAM’s plaza on December 4, 2008. The reflective silver rabbit, outsized and buoyant, was modeled after the artist’s celebrated 1986 stainless-steel sculpture Rabbit, itself a cast of a small inflatable bunny.

Organized by MAM, in association with Art in Public Places, Daniel Arsham’s pulsing light installation BEACON/MIAMI on the Bank of America tower in Miami’s urban center will literally light up the sky for the people of Miami and some 30,000 anticipated fair visitors, on the night of December 4, 2008.

MAM recently acquired a monumental new outdoor sculpture by artist John Henry, thanks to the generosity of the Arison Arts Foundation. The work will be temporarily installed in downtown Miami on the future site of Museum Park and the new MAM building being designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron. The 80-foot painted steel sculpture will draw be on view from December until June 2009, drawing Miami residents and visitors to the surrounding waterfront site.

“These dynamic works of art will engage audiences at three different sites in downtown Miami, drawing both the local community and visitors to the fairs,” said Terence Riley, Director of the Miami Art Museum. “We selected examples of several different approaches to public art so that Miami audiences will get a taste of the diverse possibilities opened up by contemporary artists. These three pieces give art a new dimension in the city, and exemplify the range of experiences MAM will bring to the community in its new facility and on the Museum Park site.”

As previously announced, MAM will simultaneously present three exhibitions at its current downtown facility: the first U.S. survey of the work of Belgian filmmaker and video artist Chantal Akerman; a new installation by British artist Yinka Shonibare, created specially for Miami; and an exhibition of work by 20 contemporary artists exploring how value is assigned to objects and circumstances.

The Silver Rabbit Balloon by Koons is based on the artist’s iconic 1986 sculpture, Rabbit, a polished stainless steel cast of an inflatable bunny. The balloon wa created using new reflective material specially fabricated to replicate the mirror-like finish on the original sculpture. As inflatables have always been a part of Koons’ repertoire, he felt creating the Rabbit for the Macy’s Parade was a great opportunity to make his largest inflatable sculpture to date.

Arsham’s Beacon/Miami, at the Bank of America Tower at International Place in Downtown Miami will transform this landmark of Miami’s skyline by making the entire building pulse on and off like a heartbeat. Arsham is well-known for works that transform everyday architecture into reality-bending experiences; this intervention carries over Arsham’s ideas onto a mass, urban scale. In 2007 Arsham was selected by Merce Cunningham to collaborate on eyeSpace at The Miami Performing Arts Center, FL Beacon/Miami is presented in association with Miami-Dade County’s Art in Public Places/Department of Cultural Affairs.

Henry’s 80-foot painted steel sculpture Untitled (Miami Project) will mark the downtown waterfront site soon to be redesigned as Museum Park. The new MAM, scheduled for completion in 2012, will be an anchor of this 29-acre park overlooking Biscayne Bay. A vibrant mix of green space and cultural offerings, Museum Park will act as a catalyst for the transformation of the downtown district. Commissioned by MAM with support from the Arison Arts Foundation, the work will form part of Drawing in Space: The Peninsula Project, a presentation of Henry’s large-scale public artworks in seven cities throughout Florida. It will remain on view until June 2009; then be dismantled until a permanent site is created for it.

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