In a series of articles over the past week, The Art Newspaper takes an extensive look at the recently concluded art extravaganza in Miami. It reports that the scene was not as grim as last year, offering this roundup of celebrity-studded Art Basel Miami Beach: “The fair attracted its usual tribes of pop stars, fashionistas, museum directors, actresses in sky-high stilettos and dressed-down buyers, including a denim-clad Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire. Lily Allen was sashaying around White Cube, while John Taylor of Duran Duran showed interest in a Richard Prince collage at Gagosian.” But while on the subject of Miami and its art world, the paper reported on Terry Riley’s exit from the Miami Art Museum (MAM), and added a few interesting tidbits to the story.
The paper claims that Craig Robins—a MAM trustee and the person behind developer Dacra and the Miami Design District—was surprised by Riley’s departure, given that he had just unveiled plans for the museum’s new $220 million Herzog & de Meuron–designed home. “He saw the writing on the wall. It was either get out now or commit for another five years,” said Robins. Yet Robins also suggested that Riley might not have been the right fit for a protracted building project. “Terry was brilliant,” Robins said, “but his strength does not lie in construction management.”
The paper also claims that Riley was frustrated by a spending squeeze imposed by Miami-Dade County earlier this year, which resulted in a $350,000 funding cut. The museum laid off eight members of staff, and senior management saw their salaries cut by 5 percent, all of which, according to the paper, contributed to Riley’s departure from the museum. Riley, as we pointed out in our story, will focus his energy on his Keenen/Riley architecture practice.