life of riley
Post #720 • January NaN, 2006, NaN:2: AM • 18 Comments
Is this a gauge of MAM's standing in Miami or are Miami's arts bloggers just interested in other things: Only one of the three Miami art blogs on my blogroll have mentioned [Terrence] Riley's hiring as of this posting. And that was a one-sentence mention at the end of a much-longer post.
I can only speak for myself, but we're talking about a museum that has had a spate of so-so shows lately with six- to ten-month runs. (I thought Kathleen, who docents there, would be all over this, but it's been blog silence chez The Next Few Hours.) The expansion project slated for MAM has the pall of the Performing Arts Center looming over it, a money pit that has dealt with its critics by retaliating against them. (Alesh gets credit for commenting on this first, locally.)
I feel positive about the fact that he worked at MoMA and knows what an important museum looks like. His record? I dunno - how excited do you want me to get about an architecture guy? The board is trying to build a museum, so they got a museum builder. The devil on my shoulder whispers in my ear that Delehanty and curator Cheryl Hartup left when they did because the prospect of closing the $100 million gap between the bond ordinance and the total budget, which was only disclosed after the mayor started playing hardball with the museum, looked bleak. (No proof of this, by the way - just my speculation. You can bet the flacks down at MAM wouldn't cop to any such thing. Oh, the rumors I have... but I digress.) But Riley, here, he seems like he could do it. Three things:
1. Whom he ends up hiring as curators affects my life more than anything else. Until he makes those hires, I'm waiting to get enthused about him.
2. The reason that the four top art collectors in town (as rated by that silly system in Whatevart Magazine) have little to do with MAM seems to stem from friction between the collectors and the board, as far as I can get anybody to admit it. I suspect that much of the lethargy surrounding MAM's programming has to do with the board, and whether Riley can either energize it or do an end run around it is an open question. (I feel similarly about the Collections Council (PDF), which might work, or might turn into the nastiest exercise in conflicted interests you can imagine.)
3. MAM has to become as exciting as Art Basel/Miami Beach. I've long been harping about the improvement of the non-AB/MB portion of the calendar (you know, the other 51 weeks), but really, until the museums step up to the plate, we're just a resort town for the art world whose primary virtue is that in December, it's warmer in Miami than it is in Switzerland. Is that within Riley's power? Here's where we find out.