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Bass Museum of Art
The Bass is the centerpiece of Miami Beach’s "cultural campus." The core of the building is the old Miami Beach public library, originally built in 1930. After an $8m renovation it now boasts vastly expanded facilities. In addition to pieces from the museum’s own permanent collection (including European Old Masters, rococo court paintings, 18th-century English portraits, Flemish tapestries and Chinese woodblock prints), it hosts world-class traveling exhibitions—everything from folk art to photography and video installations. There are also talks, workshops and a decent little gift shop.
Rubell Family Collection
One of the country’s top private collections of contemporary art, this is a bold assortment of avant-garde work: conceptual art, photography, sculpture and painting are all represented. Owned by brother and sister Jason and Jennifer Rubell, the collection features important works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst. It’s located in a former DEA confiscation center—something that the late Steve Rubell, founder of Manhattan’s infamous Studio 54 and uncle to Jennifer and Jason—would have found hugely amusing.
Museum of Contemporary Art
Aiming to be a forward-thinking museum and to discover new artists, MOCA (or, even more cutely, MoCaNoMi) maintains an active schedule, presenting up to ten exhibitions each year in its Charles Gwathmey-designed structure. MOCA's permanent collection now numbers more than 350 works from artists such as John Baldessari, Louise Nevelson and Gabriel Orozco. With media coverage as far away as New York, high-profile exhibits and artists' discussions with personalities such as Yoko Ono, MOCA is firmly at the forefront of contemporary art on the East Coast. Free tours of the museum are given at 2pm every Saturday, and Jazz at MOCA, with outdoor jazz concerts and free gallery tours on the last Friday of the month from 7pm to 10pm, is popular.
Lowe Art Museum
The only museum in the area with a notable collection of Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities, the Lowe also features the Kress Collection of Renaissance and baroque art, plus galleries of pre-Colombian, Asian, African, Native American, European and American work. The European collection includes pieces by Monet and Gauguin; the south-west Indian art collection contains textiles, baskets and other utilitarian objects; and the Art of Asia gallery has objects from China, Korea, Japan and South Asia.