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
November 8, 2012

TC: temporary contemporary is a city-wide, public art program initiated by the Bass Museum of Art with the City of Miami Beach. It seeks to activate the urban landscape with art, surprising and engaging residents, visitors and passers-by with outdoor works of art in unexpected places. Sculpture, murals, sound installations, video and other interactive works of art, will interrupt people’s daily routines and encourage thoughtful interactions with the city and its communities.

Who outside your organization has been key to your ability to move your initiative forward? Are there secrets to good partnerships?

The success of our tc: temporary contemporary initiative can be attributed to the teamwork between the artists, their studios and assistants, our grantors and local contractors. There is a great sense of togetherness and ingenuity involved in realizing each project. There is also a good deal of Plan A to Plan B to Plan C back to Plan A horizontal movement, which although at times frustrating, lets me know that we are not always jumping at the most obvious solution but rather are carefully considering the intention of the artist and the scope of the project. Each party brings his/her expertise to the discussion, whether it is conceptualization or practical application, and the exciting part so far has been watching how everyone learns from one another in the process.

I’ll walk you through our new project as an example: Stefan Brüggemann’s work titled (THIS IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE). In an effort to be budget-conscious, Stefan did not come for a site visit. Instead, he received hundreds of images of proposed sites from the museum’s team, with the façade over the museum’s western entrance being the winner. I took measurements of the site, communicated them to Stefan, and he decided on the text and the dimensions.

Stefan usually works in black vinyl to create mediations in unexpected locations, often using language because of its power to shape and direct our existence. So I contacted a local vinyl sign maker in order to produce the work locally. It didn’t take long before we realized that there was a big problem – vinyl will not stick to stucco (Plan A). We put our heads together and came up with the idea of hand-painting the letters (Plan B), an idea which Stefan loved because of the “permanence” of the work, a major deviation from his usual practice. So with the assistance of the sign maker, I tried to locate a sign painter but had no luck. It’s a dying art apparently.

So Plan C was to produce the text as very thin mountable PVC letters, as long as they didn’t appear too dimensional and “sign-like.” We made a sample and tested it on the building and everyone was satisfied, until the installer came to do a quick site visit to see what sort of equipment he would need. He pointed out that the black letters would not be able to be installed directly to the building during our proposed timeframe, because with Miami Beach temperatures, they would get too hot and pop off the building. Bad news but then a breakthrough – the installer knew a sign painter that would be able to work from the template provided by the artist.

A few weeks later, we loaded the scissor lift onto the doorstep and got to work. The team arrived very early in the morning in order to beat the afternoon sun (always planning!) It’s been great to watch people walk or drive by, stopping to consider the message on the side of our building. You can see more images of the final installation on our website http://www.bassmuseum.org/art/tc/ or follow all of the projects on twitter @tc_BassMuseum.