Pérez Art Museum Miami Celebrates the Opening of Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980-83 | A Documentary Exhibition

Pérez Art Museum Miami Celebrates the Opening of Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980-83 | A Documentary Exhibition

Opening Week Celebrations Culminated with a Book Signing and Art Talk by Christo

On View October 4, 2018—February 17, 2019

Christo speaking in front of audience
Hundreds gather at Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) on Thursday, Oct. 4 for a book signing and art talk by internationally-renowned artist Christo to celebrate the opening of Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Surrounded Islands. Photo: World Red Eye


MIAMI – Oct. 9, 2018 – Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) celebrated the opening of its newest exhibition Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980-83 | A Documentary Exhibition, with a full week of previews and exclusive events that culminated on Thursday night (Oct. 4)  with an opening celebration that featured a book signing and art talk by internationally-renowned artist Christo.

The evening program commenced with a signing, during which Christo signed books, posters, and personal photographs for the thousands in attendance. Following, guests gathered on bayfront steps for the art talk portion of the evening. To rousing applause, Christo walked guests through a slideshow of the projects he and Jeanne-Claude worked on over six decades. The artist then opened the floor to questions, during which he imparted personal insights into the fascinating story behind Surrounded Islands, 1980–1983, and addressed questions about his projects, process, and monumental career.  

On view now through February 17, 2019, Surrounded Islands is an exhibition of archival materials and artworks around the renowned artists’ site-specific 1983 installation, in Miami’s Biscayne Bay. The exhibition also commemorates the 35th anniversary of Surrounded Islands—an anniversary that also coincides with the founding of PAMM’s predecessor institution, Center for Fine Arts. The history of Surrounded Islands is inseparable from PAMM’s origins, and the exhibition reinforces the idea that the museum’s evolution is inextricable from the development of Miami as both a city and an artistic hub.

In May of 1983, Christo and Jeanne-Claude encircled 11 manmade uninhabited islands in Miami’s Biscayne Bay with 6.5 million square feet of floating, pink, woven polypropylene fabric. For just under two weeks, the results harmonized with water, sky, and foliage, creating a vivid composition in blue, green, pink, and turquoise. Despite its short duration, Surrounded Islands made a lasting impact on the city’s cultural history, marking the birth of Miami’s international artistic profile while anticipating its rise as a hub for contemporary art.

In addition to Thursday’s opening celebrations, PAMM celebrated the monumental exhibition with various events throughout the week.

The night prior, Museum Circle members were treated to an exclusive preview of the show during the Museum Circle Opening Reception (Wednesday, Oct. 3), where guests were treated to live entertainment by Fellows of New World Symphony, cocktails, and light bites. After the preview, select guests were invited to a private dinner celebrating the opening of the exhibition with Christo at the beautiful Star Island home of Linda and David Frankel.

The next day (Friday, Oct. 5), members of the International Women’s Committee attended an exclusive afternoon reception honoring Jeanne-Claude with guest speaker and art historian Dr. Carol Damian. The former director of The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum and chairperson of Florida International University’s department of art and art history, Dr. Damian is a strong fixture in Miami’s arts community, and a nationally recognized art historian.

The exhibition at PAMM is an adaptation of an earlier exhibition focused on Surrounded Islands, which traveled through Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, and Japan between 1984 and 1991. Like its precursor, the presentation at PAMM is of sweeping depth and breadth, comprising approximately 50 drawings and collages, a large-scale model of the bay and its islands, hundreds of photographs and documents, several photomurals, and physical components of the project. This extensive cache of materials attests to the profound challenges that the artist duo encountered over the course of three years (1980-1983) as they worked to realize their epic vision, overcoming formidable logistical and governmental obstacles with the help of hundreds of paid workers. The iteration at PAMM seeks to go beyond simply commemorating the original Surrounded Islands project and serve as a time capsule that captures and evokes a consequential time in Miami’s history.

Surrounded Islands had a strong impact on Miami, stimulating the growth of the local art community and encouraging the city to recognize the ways in which Miami could become a significant center for contemporary art. In a broader sense, the project had a unifying effect on the city as a whole, prompting residents to come together in celebration of the natural beauty that surrounds them. The project exemplifies art’s potential in fostering civic unity, an idea that Miami remains intensely invested in—an idea upon which PAMM is largely premised.

To learn more, please visit: pamm.org/surroundedislands.

Photo link: https://ws.onehub.com/folders/ts9288vy

Caption: [Name] celebrate the opening of Pérez Art Museum Miami’s (PAMM) newest exhibition Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Surrounded Islands.

Photos by World Red Eye

Organization and Support

Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1980–83 | A Documentary Exhibition is on loan from Christo, curated by Josy Kraft with the assistance of Lorenza Giovanelli and Jonathan Henery, and coordinated at Pérez Art Museum Miami by PAMM Curator René Morales. All photographs are by Wolfgang Volz.

This exhibition is presented by Citi. Lead individual support from Camille and Patrick McDowell together with additional support from María Bechily and Scott Hodes, Patricia and William Kleh, Linda and David Frankel, Dorothy and Aaron Podhurst, Jaleh and Patrick Peyton, Nedra and Mark Oren, Betty and Joe Fleming, Gloria Scharlin, and an anonymous donor is gratefully acknowledged. Additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Funding Arts Network, Duty Free Americas, and JW Marriott Marquis Miami is also gratefully acknowledged.

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About Pérez Art Museum Miami

Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) promotes artistic expression and the exchange of ideas, advancing public knowledge and appreciation of art, architecture and design, and reflecting the diverse community of its pivotal geographic location at the crossroads of the Americas. Led by Director Franklin Sirmans, the nearly 35-year-old South Florida institution formerly known as Miami Art Museum (MAM), Pérez Art Museum Miami opened a new building, designed by world-renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron, in Downtown Miami’s Museum Park on December 4, 2013. The facility is a state-of-the-art model for sustainable museum design and progressive programming and features 200,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor program space with flexible galleries; shaded outdoor verandas; a waterfront restaurant and bar; a museum shop; and an education center with a library, media lab and classroom spaces. For more information, please visit www.pamm.org, find us on Facebook (facebook.com/perezartmuseummiami), or follow us on Instagram/Twitter (@pamm).

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Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. Support is provided by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners. Additional support is provided by the City of Miami and the Miami OMNI Community Redevelopment Agency (OMNI CRA). Pérez Art Museum Miami is an accessible facility. All contents ©Pérez Art Museum Miami. All rights reserved.

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