Miami Heat

Miami is quickly becoming one of the country's hottest art destinations

By Brekke Fletcher

Illustration by Jen Adrion and Omar Noory

Miami has long been known for the year-round sunny weather, sexy beaches, and nightclub scene that make it one of the world's hottest grown-up playgrounds. But the region is becoming increasingly important as an art destination too. The success of Art Basel Miami Beach has opened the door for artists and curators to create an art paradise in, well, paradise. Here's a sampling that should whet any art lover's appetite.

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The Bass Museum of Art

in Miami Beach, classic, historically significant pieces are juxtaposed with contemporary ones in an art deco building and the outdoor exhibition space. In his recent work Lock, Stock, Barrel, 2012 (above), artist Ruben Ochoa manipulates concrete, rebar, wooden pallets, and fence posts to create playful forms that transcend physicality. The museum's permanent collection is rotated on a constant basis, but guests can often take in a famous 16-century Flemish tapestry, The Salute Before the Tournament, which was once part of Henry VIII's private collection.

The Wynwood Arts District

houses over 60 galleries and museums. The scene is a smash-up of artists painting and DJs spinning. Experience it best during a Second Saturday Art Walk, which features graffiti murals, like these three seen below.

111 Lincoln Road

South Beach is overrun with the art world cognoscenti each December for Art Basel, but two of the most interesting experiences in town are, of all things, parking garages. 1111 Lincoln Road is a stark structure that is breathtaking and functional. Arquitectonica's Ballet Valet Parking Garage and Retail Center (below) is an art deco–style garage draped in shrubbery, creating a lush garden feel.

The Miami Art Museum

The permanent collection of the Miami Art Musuem focuses on the 20th and 21st centuries with an emphasis on art of the Americas. It currently has more than 1,000 works, including Regard the Class Struggle as a Main Link in the Chain, by Kehinde Wiley (above). This summer, all events will be held off-site as the museum prepares to reopen in December as Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) in a new, Herzog and de Meuron–designed building in downtown Miami, overlooking the bay.

The Rubell Family Collection

Make time for the Rubell Family Collection, home to over 1,500 works by contemporary artists, including Jason Rhoades's Untitled installation (above, at right) and Barbara Kruger's Money Makes Money print (in photo above, at left). Through July, it's showing two powerful exhibits: "Alone Together," a 31-artist show, and "Oscar Murillo: Work," featuring the Colombian multimedia artist who was working as a janitor until recently, but whose works now sell for more than $25,000.