Rain in Miami? About as common as rush hour. Tropical climates: They happen. But if you’re at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach
, you’re already more than fine. For one thing, South Florida skies always clear up eventually (usually, pretty quickly too). For another, bad weather’s a perfectly good reason to venture out and see Miami’s great indoors. This city’s top-flight art scene, indie shops, and other distractions together represent a spoil of cultural riches worthy of your best rain dance. And these? They’re the best of them.
THE INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART MIAMI
Established in 2014, helmed by young all-star curator Alex Gartenfeld, the ICA's already becoming one of the most crucial stops for contemporary gallery gawkers all over the world. Think: Dan Flavin, Raymond Pettibon, Ed Ruscha, and so on—it's the kind of place that has Kim Gordon play their first birthday party. The ICA's just getting started. Right now, the museum is temporarily housed in the Moore Building in the Design District. Its new Aranguren & Gallegos-designed home, poised to open during Art Basel 2016, is gonna be a saved-the-best-for-last type event for the year in American art. In the mean time, think: A permanent collection that includes technologists like Cory Arcangel mingling with late-stage Louise Bourgeois sculptures and Ryan Trecartin clips, alongside cutting edge exhibitions like John Miller's first American museum show. And again: They're just getting started.
The Institute of Contemporary Art Miami
Photo courtesy of Panther Coffee
Miami's typical coffee order? The cafe con leche: half-milk, half-muddied tar-like Cafe Bustello. It's a Miami tradition because it's a Cuban tradition, but you could argue that it's also because Miami has tragically lacked truly great coffee until Panther showed up with their beans a few years ago. The small-batch specialty roaster stocks their worldly brews in trademark digs all over town—Wynwood, Coconut Grove, and one right around the corner from The Standard, on South Beach. Their woodsy, industrial, warm spaces are a perfect escape for curling up during downpours (to say nothing of being there during "cupping" sessions, when you get to sample that day's ever-rotating, wildly rare selection in every imaginable preparation).
Like any perpetually warmed-over locale, Miami natives enjoy their relief from the heat in distinct, controlled snaps. So it shouldn't surprise you that there's a more-than-decent ice skating
rink in the middle of South Beach at the Scott Rakow Youth Center
. Don't let the words "youth center" scare you off—all ages lace up for the 12,000 square-foot rink (more than enough room to learn on-the-ice) which costs $14, and comes with skate rentals. The place also has bowling lanes and indoor basketball for the rollers and ballers among you, lest your crew find their triple-axels unworkable that day.
The Scott Rakow Youth Center
Almost immediately upon swinging open its doors in 2005, Sweat Records
has owned Miami's one-stop music shop crown. And by one-stop, we mean: A hybrid space in Little Haiti slinging vinyl, above-par coffee, and hosting must-hit music events. On any given day, you might catch visiting or local music luminaries cruising the aisles—Iggy (yeah: 'only needs a first name, here) has been known to drop in, but in case you miss him in the flesh, you can't miss his face on the CP1-painted mural outside. The scene notwithstanding, Sweat claims to have the largest new vinyl collection in Miami—along with the free Wi-Fi, racks of Miami-made shirts, and the occasional experimental cinema VHS tape, Sweat's a much more than decent way to kill time, let alone drop coin.
THE RUBELL FAMILY COLLECTION
If you recognize the words "Rubell Family
," that's because at some point, you've been to a modern or contemporary art museum somewhere in the world, and seen their stuff on loan. To say the Rubells occupy a substantial place as private art collectors on this planet would be, let's say, mildly understating the case. The RFC isn't just their stronghold, it's also one of the most substantial private art collections open to the public in the world. And by "substantial," we mean: Basquiat, Koons, Keith Haring, Yayoi Kusama, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker. All the boldfaced names, all in one place, with equally enthralling exhibitions alongside them, and all it takes is a $10 spot to get in. Trust us, the price is right: They spent slightly more scratch putting the place together.
The Rubell Family Collection
THE PÉREZ ART MUSEUM MIAMI
Photo by Manny Hernandez, courtesy of PAMM
Just a straight shot across the South Beach causeways, and there she is: The Pérez Art Museum of Miami, the city's drop-dead gorgeous modern art stronghold, looking out onto Biscayne Bay. Or maybe, the bay looks in on PAMM, a concrete temple of sharp lines and smooth curves, swaddled in a canopy of greenery and flora, giving the Herzog & de Meuron-designed masterpiece the look of being wrapped in the arms of Miami's tropical essence. Lest you think she's only a party on the outside, PAMM's permanent collection features blue chip artists like John Baldessari, Gerhard Richter, and a eclectic mix of Caribbean and Latin American artists whose acquaintance you'll be better for having made. The featured exhibitions are a decent draw, too: PAMM was famously the stop on Ai Weiwei's According To What tour where a protester smashed one of his million-dollar "colored vases." Always a party, that P
The Pérez Art Museum Miami
THE DE LA CRUZ COLLECTION CONTEMPORARY ART SPACE
Know thy name: Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz are one set of the two major patrons currently stacking the ICA with that aforementioned loaded deck of contemporary artists. Sleep on their own private collection at your own risk, though: For one thing, admission's free. For another, the 30,000 square foot space in the Design District contains a regularly rotating cast of artists you'd go out of your way to see, anyway: Christopher Wool, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Alex Israel, and Rob Pruitt, just to name a few.
Note: This summer, the de la Cruz Collection will be closed Friday, June 10th and will reopen Tuesday, June 28, 2016.
Miami's obviously got a thing for the contemporary and the modern. And yet, there's relief in the Wolfsonian-FIU
, standing proud with a collection telling the story of design, whose timeline starts at the dawn of modern industrialism and ends where the contemporary era gets kicking (even its building, a storage warehouse dating back to the 20s, glows with the patina of Miami's past). It's a fascinating, comprehensive set of pieces right in the middle of Miami Beach. Whether its revolución-era Cuban cultural artifacts or early Miami miscellany, the Wolfsonian's more that just a time-trip—it's a refined museum-going experience in its own right.
Photo courtesy of Cinépolis
South Florida weather being what it is, Miami's always had a healthy selection of movie theaters. What it lacked, until recently, is a luxe movie plaza matching the city's outsized tastes. Enter Coconut Grove's Cinépolis
, with its seat reservations, oversized leather chairs equipped with swivel tray tables, beer & wine, backed by a kitchen that'll bring everything from hummus platters to flatbreads right to your seat. If killing a few hours waiting out the weather with a blockbuster is your plan, this is where you make it...
...But if Michael Bay in a Miami 'burb isn't your style, you'll want to head to one of the two O Cinema
locations nearby (in North Beach, or Wynwood) for a theater that more than brings the reels. Indies, foreigns, and touring art pieces aplenty, SoBe's O Cinema also hosts the occasional live simulcast from the likes of London's Royal Opera and Royal Ballet, beamed straight from Covent Garden right to North Beach, no evening wear required.
The final word in movies down here these days, though, is the Miami Beach Cinematheque, housed right in the heart of the historic Deco District. But, literally: Cinematheque was once Miami Beach's City Hall, a beautiful thing to see in and of itself. The MBC isn't just the city's most beautiful art house theater, it's also home to the Miami Beach Film Society (and their respectively smarty-pantsed screening series). Don't worry about whatever's playing—there usually aren't many choices. Just find a showtime, buy a ticket, and trust that you're in safe hands: that of Miami's most impassioned film snobs.
Miami Beach Cinematheque
THE BASS MUSEUM OF ART / bassX
The Bass Museum of Art
, smack in the middle of South Beach, has been showing off its contemporary wares since 1963. It's well-worth a visit, but undergoing renovations for the moment. That's fine, because bassX
, the pop-up museum they've mounted right across the street in the Miami Beach Regional Library, is well-worth a visit, too. They've already hosted Swiss performance artist Sylvie Fleury and Jérémy Gobé's first solo American exhibition. This summer features John Salvest's reconfigured medicine cabinets and pills and Miami's own Emmett Moore, who earned the space a rave review in the Times. Hit it before the pop-up folds, and the Bass gets back to business as usual.
The Bass Museum of Art / bassX
Once one of the most critical, early, and successful contemporary galleries in Wynwood, Gallery Diet
got priced out, and made the move to Little Haiti. They're all the better for it. They've landed in a hybrid indoor-outdoor space that includes an old Miami storefront dating back to the '40s, a former Haitian church, and a yard surrounded by aged mango and oak trees. It's enabled the gallery to do hybrid indoor/outdoor shows unlike anything else in Miami (the new space's first exhibition included, among other things, a transparent sauna visitors could book time in). Come for the space, stay for artists on the cutting edge of Miami's contemporary scene.
If you're looking to see Miami's art offerings as they're happening, in progress, a trip to Fountainhead Studios should be on your agenda. The 25,000 square feet space was born from the Fountainhead Residency for artists, and the studios feature upwards of 30 artists—some residents, some not, all at work in their respective (and affordable) studio workspaces—at any given moment. While the studios are open to the public at-large only twice a year, little-known tip: You can just give 'em a shout over email, and they're usually happy to oblige free tours for those compelled to see more than just the fruits of the labor, but the work as it happens, too.
Don't let the buzz-y name scare you off—the sound of Locust Projects
should bring to mind less the pesky bug hordes, and more the invasion that preceded them in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood, where they've been since long before anyone else plunked down galleries back in 1998. Yet, they're still as substantial as ever: as an award-winning nonprofit, they're not worried about sales or bringing in crowds so much as coloring far outside the lines. Whatever's going down at Locust, we can assure it's of interest.