Temporary Contemporary

Friends of the Bass Museum, Inc. d/b/a Bass Museum of Art

Funding Received: 2012
Miami Beach, FL
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
December 16, 2013

"Smoke Grid," 2013, Olaf Breuning

Art Basel | Public / TC installation (November 2013)
As we at the Bass Museum of Art excitedly and anxiously awaited the arrival of the behemoth that is Art Basel Miami Beach, we began to install the Art Basel | Public sector, of which some of the sculptures will become part of our tc: temporary contemporary project. As we began the installation process, we were certainly reminded of the vast differences in mounting a public art installation compared to a conventional indoor exhibition. Since our tc: temporary contemporary program consists of public art, this blog post will consider a major factor in the installation of public art: the weather.

During the outdoor installation, Miami Beach was graced as usual with scattered thunderstorms. When the rain started, the installation crew donned bright yellow ponchos, and continued their work without skipping a beat. When the thunder and lightning started, they hurried to put down crates and works of art and gathered inside to wait out the storm.

While they resumed their work outdoors soon after, this sequence of events reminds us of the unique nature of public art. These works are often subjected to extreme natural forces and circumstances. Art works displayed indoors are installed in a meticulously controlled setting—just look for one of the several humidity monitoring devices in any gallery. It’s almost as if works inside exist in a vacuum: they remain for however long is needed, and they can be installed at any point in time. Works outside though are immediately connected to the natural world, and in Miami Beach, that natural world includes highly variable and sometimes dangerous weather. If you’ve ever been caught out in the rain without an umbrella, you know how much we humans are held captive by natural forces. To subject works of art to the same natural forces is a really powerful statement—one that we will hopefully continue to explore as part of our tc: temporary contemporary program.