Miami Art Institutions

Miami is a global reference for contemporary art. Miami’s compelling and diverse artists combine with a dizzying array of exhibition venues open to the public. Miami’s continuous cultural conglomeration and evolution are reflective of broader historical movements and contemporary notions of identity. Miami’s contemporary art scene captures and reflects the unique nature of this most unique city.

Although predominantly reputed for its stellar contemporary art collections, other institutions offer fascinating alternatives. From Paleo-Indigenous shell tools to El Greco paintings, by way of Kiefer and Kusama, Miami offers a wide array of styles and eras. But Miami is always only Miami—different than any other city.

There is no encyclopedic museum, nor are the institutions close to one another. It’s a complicated journey, but one well worth the cultural adventure. Do not miss Miami artists Carlos Alfonzo, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and Purvis Young. As with everything in Miami, do not expect what you expected.

Aside from the distance between locations, the greatest hurdle to visiting Miami institutions is the lack of a cultural pass that would enable access to all or some Miami museums. In this regard, Miami has not caught up to the Barcelona’s Articket BCN, Paris Museum Pass, or Roma Pass. As a result of each institution charging an individual admission fare, the art of Miami can be quite expensive and inaccessible to many.

Miami-Dade residents do have access to a selection of free tickets from the Miami-Dade County Public Library System’s Museum Pass Program and Miami-Dade County Division of Cultural Affairs’ Culture Shock Miami. Culture Shock Miami exists to make art accessible to young people aged 13-22.

Enjoy the journey. One can not know Miami without knowing the art of Miami.

This page is simply a directory. All text is directly from the institutions. The only exceptions are the “Bailly Must” selections: a collection of Bailly’s subjective personal favorites. Due to the nature of rotating exhibitions, sometimes the selections are not on display.


Fleury at the Bass Museum of Art (Photo by Sabrina Anico / Courtesy of the Bass Museum of Art)

The Bass Museum of Art
2100 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139

The Bass, Miami Beach’s contemporary art museum, creates connections between international contemporary art and the museum’s diverse audiences. The Bass shares the power of contemporary art through experiences that excite, challenge and educate.

The Bass is Miami Beach’s contemporary art museum. Focusing on exhibitions of international contemporary art, The Bass presents mid-career and established artists reflecting the spirit and international character of Miami Beach. The Bass seeks to expand the interpretation of contemporary art by incorporating disciplines of contemporary culture, such as design, fashion and architecture, into the exhibition program.  The exhibition program encompasses a wide range of media and artistic points of view that bring new thought to the diverse cultural context of Miami Beach.

Bailly Must: Ugo Rondinone’s “Miami Mountain” is ironically the perfect mountain for a city with no mountains. Alluding to the traditional stacking of rocks to denote walking paths in undeveloped areas, Rondinone “creates a sense of romantic minimalism.”


Center for Visual Communication in 2022 (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

Center for Visual Communication
541 NW 27th St
Miami, FL 33127

The Center for Visual Communication organizes and presents art exhibitions at its Miami gallery located in Wynwood and at public venues in South Florida including The Arsht Center for Performing Arts, Florida International University, Miami Science Museum and Miami Dade College.


Susan Caraballo’s ‘Prelude to 2100’ at the Deering Estate. (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

The Deering Estate
16701 SW 72nd Ave
Miami, FL 33157

Bailly Lecture Notes on the Deering Estate

The Deering Estate preserves the 1920s era Miami estate of Charles Deering, Chicago industrialist, early preservationist, environmentalist, art collector, philanthropist and first chairman of the International Harvester Company. Nestled along the coast in South Dade, the Deering Estate is a cultural asset and historic site listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As a 21st Century museum destination for tourists and local residents, a variety of signature events, programs, tours and classes are offered throughout the year.

At the Deering Estate, we engage the public through a diverse season of contemporary and historic exhibits, concerts, on-site Artists-in-Residence, and diverse theater lab programming for professionals and students. The Arts at the Deering Estate are an integral part of our mission as stewards of Charles Deering’s vision. We strive to include, educate, and enrich the lives of local communities through our dedication to the arts, and we welcome local, national, and international visitors and partnerships.

Power House Studio at the Deering Estate (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

Bailly Must: Visit an active Artist’s Studio! The Deering Estate has a robust Artist-in-Residence program, with five on-site studios. There are artists studios in the Carriage House and Power House. Visitors are welcome to knock on doors and to visit the studios, if the artists are on site.


Gonzalez-Torres at the de la Cruz Collection (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

de la Cruz Collection
23 NE 41st St.
Miami, FL 33137

In the late 1980’s, Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz started collecting from their home which they opened to the public by appointment only. From 2001 to 2007, Rosa founded and chaired the non-profit Moore Space, a kunsthalle located in the Design District. It was then that Rosa and Carlos started planning and building the present de la Cruz Collection on 41st Street, a 30,000 square foot museum which opened to coincide with Art Basel/Miami 2009. The Collection also organizes lectures, educational scholarships in NY for high school students of DASH, educational travel to Europe for college students of New World School of the Arts, and summer workshops for grade school children.

The de la Cruz Collection is a private museum and is not government funded.

Felix Gonzalz-Torres. Untitled, 1990. de la Cruz Collection. (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

Bailly Must: The de la Cruz is the best place to experience the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres (pictured above). Viewers are invited to actually take a part of Gonzalez’s work with them, selecting a paper from one of the piles for free.


Doral Contemporary Art Museum – DORCAM
5775 NW 84th Ave
Doral, FL 33166

DORCAM (Doral Contemporary Art Museum) is a catalyst for learning, creativity, and community building. We accomplish this mission through the integration of an art + industry approach comprised of contemporary art exhibitions, educational programs, and community partnerships.

DORCAM inquires and adapts to the developing definitions of art. We propose a museum in an industrial setting, like no other in South Florida; an inspiring and innovative audience-centered facility. We aim to be an essential site for lifelong dialogue and exchange, establishing innovative ways to engage the public.


El Espacio 23
2270 NW 23rd St.
Miami, Florida, 33142

El Espacio 23 is a contemporary art space founded by collector and philanthropist Jorge M. Pérez. Located within a repurposed 28,000 square foot warehouse in Miami’s Allapattah neighborhood, El Espacio 23 serves artists, curators and the general public with regular exhibitions, residencies and a variety of special projects drawn from the Pérez Collection.


Frost Art Museum in 2018 (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum
Modesto Maidique Campus
10975 SW 17th Street
Miami, FL. 33199

The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum’s mission is to provide transformative experiences through art; collect, exhibit, and interpret art across cultures; and advance FIU’s stature as a top tier research university. One of the largest academic art museums in South Florida, the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum provides the community with free access to world-class art that spans cultures and time periods. The museum started as a small space in FIU’s Primera Casa building in 1978. As the collection and programming grew, the university recognized the need for a dedicated museum space. The museum now resides in a beautiful 46,000 square foot building designed by Yann Weymouth and situated in the heart of FIU’s Avenue of the Arts. The museum opened its doors in 2008.

The museum presents an exhibition schedule as diverse as Miami’s population. We showcase artists from around the world and across cultures, disciplines, and genres. As a free museum, we provide our Miami community with access to a phenomenal arts education. In addition, the museum also showcases emerging and established local artists in select exhibitions throughout the year.

Purvis Young paintings at the Frost Art Museum. (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

Bailly Must: The Frost Art Museum is home to multiple works by Purvis Young.


Wood Tools at HistoryMiami (Photo by JW Bailly CC BY 4.0)

HistoryMiami Museum
101 W Flagler St
Miami, FL 33130

Bailly HistoryMiami Lecture Notes

HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate located in downtown Miami,  safeguards and shares Miami stories to foster learning, inspire a sense of place, and cultivate an engaged community. Through exhibitions, artistic endeavors, city tours, education, research, collections and publications, HistoryMiami Museum works to help everyone understand the importance of the past in shaping Miami’s future. HistoryMiami Museum connects people by telling the stories of Miami’s communities, individuals, places and events.
HistoryMiami now operates one of the largest private, regional history organizations in the southeastern United States.  The museum’s collections include more than 37,000 three-dimensional artifacts that cover everything from prehistoric archaeological finds to 20th century Afro-Cuban folk art.  HistoryMiami’s Archives and Research Center collection, one of the most important in the state, includes over one million historical images.  The museum’s permanent exhibition, Tropical Dreams: A People’s History of South Florida, presents 10,000 years of South Florida history.  In addition, HistoryMiami offers a robust schedule of temporary exhibitions each year on subjects important to the community.

Segregation Sign at HistoryMiami (Photo by JW Bailly CC BY 4.0)

Bailly Must: It’s not a pleasant object, but it’s an important one. The “White Passengers Seat From Front” artifact in the trolley serves as an important reminder of the history of dehumanization in the USA.


ICA Miami in 2019 (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

Institute of Contemporary Art Miami
61 NE 41st St
Miami, FL 33137

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA Miami) is dedicated to promoting continuous experimentation in contemporary art, advancing new scholarship, and fostering the exchange of art and ideas throughout the Miami region and internationally. Through an energetic calendar of exhibitions and programs, and its collection, ICA Miami provides an important international platform for the work of local, emerging, and under-recognized artists, and advances the public appreciation and understanding of the most innovative art of our time. The museum is deeply committed to providing open, public access to artistic excellence by offering year-round free admission.

Carlos Alfonzo at the ICA Miami (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

Bailly Must: The ICA Miami has works by Carlos Alfonzo.


Luna Goldberg Lecture at the Jewish Museum of FIU (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU
301 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU

The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU (JMOF-FIU) is the only museum dedicated to telling the story of more than 250 years of Florida Jewish history, arts and culture, with a growing collection of more than 100,000 items. It is located in the trendy SoFi area of South Beach at 301 Washington Avenue. The Museum is housed in two restored historic buildings that were once synagogues for Miami Beach’s first Jewish congregation. The original synagogue was built in 1929, and the second, built in 1936, was designed by Art Deco architect Henry Hohauser and features 80 stained-glass windows, a copper dome, and a marble bimah.

Meyer Lansky sign in Jewish Museum (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

Bailly Must: The stained glass inside the old synagogue creates a unique luminosity. One panel in particular is of historic interest. It bears the inscription “Generous Contributor Meyer Lansky.” Lansky was linked to organized crime throughout the twentieth century.


T. Eliott Mansa and Tim Buwalda look at the El Grecos at the Lowe Art Museum in 2019 (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

Lowe Art Museum
1301 Stanford Dr
Miami, FL 33146

An integral part of the University of Miami, the Lowe Art Museum offers its diverse audiences opportunities and resources for engaging with contemporary culture through 5,000 years of human creativity. The Lowe touches lives and builds communities by serving as a laboratory for learning, a place for engagement and enrichment, and a site for self-discovery.

The Museum’s Permanent Collection represents five millennia of human creativity on every inhabited continent. All collection objects are works of fine art or culturally significant archaeological/ethnographic material. In addition, the Museum maintains a collection of public sculpture installed throughout the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus on behalf of its parent institution. 

Bailly Must: The Lowe Art Museum has two works by the Spanish master El Greco.


Eliasson at the Margulies Collection (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

Margulies Collection
591 NW 27th St
Miami, FL 33127

The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse is a nonprofit institution located in a 50,000 square foot retro-fitted warehouse in the Wynwood Arts District of Miami. The Warehouse presents seasonal exhibitions from the collection of renowned collector Martin Z. Margulies as well as educational programs, special exhibitions and an international loan program. The Warehouse is operated and funded by the Martin Z. Margulies Foundation, a thirty-year resource for the study and enjoyment of the visual arts.

In 1998, Martin Z. Margulies along with his longtime curator Katherine Hinds began looking for a suitable space to display the growing collection of photography, video and installation works, and sculpture of the Margulies Contemporary Art Collection. In 1999, the first phase of the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse opened to the public with an event to benefit the Lowe Museum at the University of Miami. After a series of expansions, the Warehouse now comprises 50,000 square feet of exhibition space with set hours each week. The Warehouse is open to the public October–April, during which time we welcome thousands of students and visitors from all over the world.

Ernesto Neto. É ô Bicho!, 2001. Margulies Collection. (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

Bailly Must: Ernesto Neto’s work is one of the most viewed works in Miami.


The Freedom Tower in Miami. (Photo by JW Bailly CC BY 4.0)

Museum of Art and Design at MDC
600 Biscayne Blv Miami, FL 33132

The Museum of Art and Design is Miami Dade College’s flagship institution dedicated to the presentation and exhibition of visual art and design, housed within the National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower in Downtown Miami. MOAD at MDC provides its patrons and visitors access to unique cultural, historical, and educational exhibitions that enrich the greater community while building and preserving an expansive permanent art collection, Freedom Tower archives, and newly established design collection.

The mission of MOAD at MDC is to provide open, critical, and collaborative frameworks for artistic experimentation and interdisciplinary risk-taking that explores the intersections of art, design, and other art forms with cultural action. MOAD advances Miami Dade College’s core values, contributing to the intellectual life of the college, engaging students and audiences from the community and the world beyond.

Bailly Must: The structure of The Freedom Tower is something to behold in itself. Based on the Giralda Bell Tower in Sevilla, this tower served as a processing center for thousands of Cuban immigrants. It is known as the Ellis Island of the South.


The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
770 NE 125th street
North Miami, FL 33161

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is dedicated to making contemporary art accessible to diverse audiences – especially underserved populations – through the collection, preservation and exhibition of the best of contemporary art and its art historical influences.

The Museum of Contemporary Art expanded from the original Center of Contemporary Art, which was inaugurated in 1981 in a modest single gallery space. The Museum opened a new building in 1996 designed by Charles Gwarthmey of GSNY, who worked in conjunction with Miami firm Gelabert-Navia in the creation of the space. The museum is a site for discovering new artists, contemplating the work of contemporary masters, and learning about our living cultural heritage.


PAMM in 2018 (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)
1103 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33132

Our mission is to be a leader in the presentation, study, interpretation, and care of international modern and contemporary art, while representing Miami-Dade and cherishing the unique viewpoint of its peoples. Through our exhibitions and programs, we aim to encourage everyone to see art as an incentive for genuine human interaction, communication, and exchange.

Visit Miami’s flagship art museum, and learn about modern and contemporary, international art at Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Exhibitions highlight Miami’s diverse community and pivotal geographic location at the crossroads of the Americas. In addition to exploring the galleries, visitors can: enjoy waterfront dining at Verde restaurant; shop a unique selection of art books, furnishings and handmade items at the museum’s gift store; and take in the spectacular views of Biscayne Bay and the elaborate hanging gardens. Designed by Pritzker Prize winning architects Herzog & de Meuron, PAMM provides an educational and civic forum for the County’s residents and visitors alike.

Soto. Penetrable BBL Blue 2/8, 2015. PAMM. (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

Bailly Must: “Penetrable BBL Blue 2/8” by Jesús Rafael Soto is probably the most photographed and popular artwork in Miami. This is because Soto immerses and transports the viewer. Soto’s own words describe this: “My goal was to create the effect of having the individual and the world in a different spot than they were initially because they’ve both been absorbed by one another. The only thing that’s left is the perceptual impression of fullness.”


Cattelan. La Rivoluzione Siamo Noi, 2000. Rubell Museum. (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

Rubell Museum
1100 NW 23 ST
Miami, FL 33127

For more than 50 years we have been on an incredible mission: searching for new art and art that has been overlooked. Now, with the opening of the new Rubell Museum, we will be able to share the remarkable range of art we fell in love with along the way,” stated Mera Rubell. “Rather than presenting a single narrative or survey, we wanted to let the many voices that contribute to contemporary art speak for themselves and with each other. In retracing our steps, we hope visitors will discover, as we did, that creativity thrives where artists energize each other’s practices, and wrestle with shared issues and artmaking in new ways.

Kusama. Where the Lights in My Heart Go, 2016. Rubell Museum. (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

Bailly Must: The Rubell Museum has two Yayoi Kusama rooms.


Bacchus at Vizcaya (Photo by JW Bailly / CC BY 4.0)

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
3251 South Miami Ave. 
Miami Fl. 33129

Bailly Vizcaya Museum & Gardens Lecture Notes

Experience Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a breathtaking Gilded Age estate on Biscayne Bay surrounded by ten acres of formal gardens, a mangrove shoreline and rockland hammock. Be inspired by Vizcaya’s natural beauty, connect with Miami’s past and discover this unique cultural gem. A National Historic Landmark, Vizcaya offers an experience to delight your senses.

Brittney Sanchez of the FIU Honors College at Vizcaya (Photo by JW Bailly/CC BY 4.0)

Bailly Must: The stained glass in the south facing loggia creates an effect of luminosity and color that is quite moving. The glass wall also contains the two different symbols of Vizcaya—the Spanish caravel and the seahorse (Bailly votes seahorse).


The Wolfsonian-FIU on South Beach (Photo by Lynton Gardiner/Courtesy of The Wolfsonian–FIU, Miami Beach, FL)

The Wolfsonian FIU
1001 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Rooted in the greatest century of growth and change humanity has ever known—1850 to 1950—The Wolfsonian traces the odyssey from agrarian to urban, colonial empires to Cold War superpowers, the first spike of the Transcontinental Railroad to the advent of television.

With more than 200,000 objects, our collection contains a vast universe of ideas: household appliances that sped the pace of work; designs that bridged cultures; architectural plans fueled by ambition; and propaganda that helped turn the tides of war. Our core focus is material from Europe and the United States, extending to regions of Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

Fountain at the Wolfsonian-FIU (Photo by Lynton Gardiner/Courtesy of The Wolfsonian–FIU, Miami Beach, FL)

Bailly Must: South Beach is Art Deco and Art Deco is South Beach. The Frozen Fountain relief sculpture in the lobby of the Wolfsonian is the best example in Miami that proves that Art Deco is not only an architectural style.

Sofia Guerra
, Monica Perez, & John William Bailly 22 November 2022

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: