Miami art collector unveils plans for Latin American art museum
October 16, 2014
Miami Herald by Kathryn Varn
Gary Nader has always felt Miami’s art and culture network was missing something: a museum dedicated to showcasing Latin American media.
So he decided to create his own.
Nader, a local art collector with a gallery in Wynwood, revealed plans this week to build a Latin American Art Museum at a still-to-be-determined location in downtown Miami. The museum, he said, will feature about 600 paintings, drawings and sculptures from his personal collection.
“The influence of Latin America in the U.S. is extremely prominent,” he said. “We want to tell the story.”
The 90,000-square-foot museum, expected to open in early 2016, will feature exhibits showcasing a variety of modern and contemporary media, including visual art, couture fashion, film and music. Outside, Nader will display about 25 sculptures in what he has called a “cultural park.”
The first year of programming will feature a retrospective of works by Fernando Botero and a Brazilian art exhibit, along with individual shows of works by Latin American masters Roberto Matta, Wifredo Lam, Frida Kahlo and her husband, Diego Rivera.
To design the museum, Nader engaged Mexican architect Fernando Romero, known for his metallic, lopsided cylindrical design of the Soumaya Museum in Mexico City. Nader estimated the cost of the museum at about $50 million.
To help pay for it, Nader plans to build a 300-unit, $300 million residential tower on the same property, where units will be priced between $2 million and $20 million. Nader said he is working with three potential sites on Biscayne Boulevard, and negotiating with three potential partners to develop and construct the project.
The museum’s potential is heightened by Miami’s reputation as a “hotbed” for cultural institutions, said Dennis Scholl, the Knight Foundation’s vice president of arts. But that success will depend on the museum’s programming, he said.
“Any institution needs to have the highest quality artistic programming and needs to reach out to everybody in the community in order to introduce them to the work that they’re going to be showing,” Scholl said. Nader’s long standing as a collector and dealer of Latin American art gives Scholl confidence in the project, he said.
Michael Spring, Miami-Dade County’s cultural affairs director, voiced a similar faith in Nader’s knowledge and business savvy, drawing comparisons to other privately owned museums in the county, such as the de la Cruz Collection in the Design District and the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse in Wynwood.
“The force and determination of these people and their vision has given us an amazing array for opportunities for people to enjoy the arts,” Spring said. “I’m glad Gary’s moving ahead with it.”
During Art Basel and through January, Nader will display the rendering and a model of the museum at his gallery, 62 NE 27th St. Guests can also see a preview of some of the Latin American art in Nader’s collection on the second floor of his gallery until the museum opens in 2016.
“We’re not building a museum, then a collection,” he said. “We’re building a museum around a collection that already exists.”