The Miami Art Museum is currently raising $220 million to pay for the development and construction of its new 32,000-square-foot downtown location, a swamp-inspired structure designed by Herzog & de Meuron. With the help of patron and Miami real estate developer Jorge M. Perez, the museum has reached $167 million of its goal. But Perez’s gift comes with a cost. A press release has confirmed rumors that following the pledge, the new space will be renamed after the patron as the “Jorge M. Perez Art Museum of Miami – Dade County.”
Perez has just pledged another $15 million on top of donating a portion of his extensive contemporary Latin American art collection (to be selected by the museum) and a previous pledge of $15 million, bringing the developer’s total contribution to $35 million. The combined pledge is a “generous gift,” as MAM director Chris Collins calls it, but not all are happy about the choice to rename the institution.
Some Miami Art Museums board members were upset with the decision. Mary Frank, a longtime member and previous president of the board, plans to resign over Perez’s naming rights, and her husband, Howard Frank, told the Miami Herald that he plans to withdraw his own financial support for the museum. “To hijack and privatize the name of the museum is completely inappropriate,” he said.
The museum’s new downtown space is planned to open in 2013, under one name or another.