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Miami Arts and Cultural Institutions Driving Tour
Item 16 of 23

The Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) offers collections that reflect the diverse population of southern Florida. The museum's permanent collection of over three thousand works features international modern and contemporary art. Floridian, African Diaspora, Caribbean, and South American art are especially well represented in the collection. The Museum also hosts a plethora of travelling exhibitions and shows. Established in 1984 as Center for Fine Arts in 1984, the Museum changed its name to the Miami Art Museum in 1996 to reflect the institution’s growing collection and exhibition spaces. Following a gift of $40 million in artwork and cash from Jorge M. Pérez, the museum was renamed Pérez Art Museum Miami. The PAMM building was designed by internationally acclaimed architects Herzog and de Meuron, and combines indoor and outdoor elements to create a unified space.


  • The 2013 PAMM building was designed by Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron.
  • Hanging gardens by Patrick Blanc showcase eighty heat and hurricane resistant plants throughout the building.
  • A view of a permanent collection gallery.
  • Njideka Akunyili Crosby, See Through, 2016 (left). Firelei Báez, Sans-Souci (This threshold between a dematerialized and a historicized body), 2015 (right).

The Jorge M. Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) has its roots in an earlier organization known as the Center for the Fine Arts (CFA). In the early 1980s, voters in Miami overwhelmingly approved significant funding for the arts. By 1983, a $6 million arts complex was created using public funds in downtown Miami to support the arts. The building was designed by Philip Johnson and primarily served as a location for travelling shows. By 1994, the Center was experiencing so many visitors that the Metropolitan Dade County government decided to establish a museum and permanent collection. The CFA became the Miami Art Museum in 1994 and began collecting art in 1996. However, operation and acquisition were both severely limited by space constraints.

In 2009, plans were made by the Miami Art Museum and the Metropolitan Dade County government for a new museum building. $220 million were raised to fund the construction of the new building. $100 million was government funding approved by Miami-Dade voters, with the other $120 million coming from private donors. Latin American art collector and philanthropist Jorge M. Pérez donated $40 million, prompting the Miami Art Museum to change their name to the Jorge M. Pérez Art Museum Miami. The name change was controversial and caused the resignation of several museum board members. Critics of the name change felt that naming should have been left to the public, as $100 million was approved by taxpayers, while Pérez donated less than half that amount. Other concerns about the name change cite that it is permanent with no opt-out clause, or that the change could deter greater or similar donations.

Construction began on PAMM’s new museum building in 2010 and was completed by 2013. Former museum director Terence Riley commissioned the Swiss architecture firm of Herzog and de Meuron to design the structure. Famous for projects such as the Beijing National Stadium, the two architects also have experience with museum spaces; their redesign of the Bankside Power Station in London, for example. The three-story PAMM building is designed to resemble Stiltsville, a community of raised homes off the southern coast of Florida. A parking garage is cleverly hidden below the museum. Despite being directly on the water, the PAMM building is extremely hurricane resistant.

Herzog and de Meuron envisioned the PAMM building as a harmonious blending of indoor and outdoor spaces. This is accomplished in a variety of fashions. The structure is set in Museum Park – renamed from Bicentennial Park – and looks out over the Biscayne Bay. A large shaded patio runs the length of the building and allows visitors to comfortably sit and watch the water. The entire structure incorporates a copious number of windows, which allows ample natural light to flood the galleries. On the interior, the main and third floors incorporate copious amounts of glass and other translucent materials, while the second floor utilizes more opaque construction. This gives viewers the impression that the second floor is floating in space. Finally, botanist Patrick Blanc designed vertical hanging gardens throughout the building. These rigs straddle interior and exterior spaces indiscriminately. Eighty plants are included in the vegetative embellishments and are all resistant to the heat and hurricanes that frequently plague Miami.

The permanent collections at PAMM include over three thousand works and are centered on twentieth century and contemporary art. The permanent collection spans eight galleries. The Museum’s holdings have a strong international component, with special focus given to cultural groups found in Miami. For this reason, Latin American, African diaspora, and Caribbean art are frequently acquired and exhibited by PAMM. An outdoor sculpture garden has permanent installations by artists such as Anthony Caro and Edgar Negret. Temporary exhibitions at PAMM range from travelling shows to local artists. In addition to visual arts, the Museum also hosts frequent lectures and education programs. A reflection of their mission to support the local community, PAMM organizes a variety of educational programming for K-12 students. These initiatives include after-school events, art workshops in classrooms, and summer programs. PAMM models itself simultaneously as a museum, architectural space, cultural center, and community gathering place. 

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Tucker, Neely. Pérez Art Museum Miami’s setting on the banks of Biscayne Bay is part of the show, Washington Post. February 21st 2014. Accessed November 5th 2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/museums/perez-art-museum-miamis-setting-on-the-banks-of-biscayne-bay-is-part-of-the-show/2014/02/20/dda7d39e-929a-11e3-b46a-5a3d0d2130da_story.html.

Who We Are, Pérez Art Museum Miami. Accessed November 5th 2020. https://www.pamm.org/about.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Pérez Art Museum Miami. Accessed November 5, 2020. https://www.pamm.org/about/building.

Pérez Art Museum Miami. Accessed November 5, 2020. https://www.pamm.org/about/building.

Llanes, Lazaro. 2019. Pérez Art Museum Miami. Accessed November 5, 2020. https://www.pamm.org/exhibitions/permanent-collection.

Tarridas, Oriol. 2019. Pérez Art Museum Miami. Accessed November 5, 2020. https://www.pamm.org/exhibitions/permanent-collection.