Miami Beach: Get Your Art On at These 4 Must-See Spots

by Jill Gleeson

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday February 21, 2020

ARTECHOUSE  (Source:Cris Ascunce/Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau)

The skies are pristine, a cloudless blue the color of faded jeans, with that legendary bright-white Miami Beach sunshine kissing the skin of all lucky enough to be in this glamorous city. Outside, there's sugary sand, mellow surf and beautiful bodies; inside ARTECHOUSE, it's cool, dim, and, at this early hour, deserted. No matter, this jaw-dropping gallery dedicated to showcasing immersive digital art is so seductive, once a visitor enters, all thoughts of the world beyond its walls fall away. And it's just one of the city's art institutions that manage to so bewitch visitors.

Digital Reveries
ARTECHOUSE, founded by art visionaries Sandro and Tati, opened its first location in Washington, D.C. to wide acclaim in 2018. The Miami Beach and New York City outposts debuted a year later. It isn't easy to communicate what goes on inside ARTECHOUSE, as Sandro admits.

"Certain things words just cannot describe," she says. "They must be seen and experienced... In every city, there is an arts destination for fine arts, theater, music, films, etc. Our goal is to create an innovative, new-age arts destination dedicated to experiential and exploratory arts that are created through the mediums of art, technology and science."

Exhibitions change through the year at each location; there is no permanent collection at ARTECHOUSE. In Miami Beach, now through March 22, the first major retrospective of renowned Turkish-born creative Refik Anadol is on display. Dubbed "Infinite Space," it includes "Infinity Room," which submerges the viewer into a virtual world projected onto three walls and reflected off a glossy ebony floor. Kick back on a bean bag for a trippy, mind-bending experience, absolutely worth the time out of the sun.

Museum of Illusions, Instagram: @wexlerwrites  (Source: Jill Gleeson)

Instagram Worthy
You might not call it high art, but it's big fun. The Museum of Illusions is a wonderland of forced perspective murals created by a team of talented artists from around the world.

Joining Museum of Illusions stateside locations in Dallas, Kansas City, New York, San Francisco and Orlando (with plenty more around the world and opening soon in the U.S.), Miami Beach's outpost offers dozens of interactive optical illusion murals that place visitors in the middle of the action.

Ride a magic carpet, levitate in mid-air, fight off ghouls with a chainsaw — the Museum of Illusion gives all the chance to get in on amazing visual adventures, and Instagram them, too. Tip: Go early to avoid crowds and call ahead to make sure a local school group does not trample you. It's more fun when you have free reign of the place.

Old Masters, Modern Marvels
Serving up pieces from mid-career to established artists from around the world, The Bass has shifted its focus from its founding Old Masters collection to contemporary works since its 2017, $12 million revamp. Old-school legends Botticelli, El Greco, Rubens and Van Dyck are still represented, joined by (relative) upstarts like Sylvie Fleury and Ugo Rondinone. Current exhibitions include Mickalene Thomas' "Better Nights," through September 27.

Seriously Sexy
For visitors looking to arouse their senses, a stop at the Naomi Wilzig Erotic Art Museum is a must. Founded in 2005 and featuring some 4,000 works from around the world, the institution offers a collection boasting genres, including Art Deco, folk art and surrealism, plus pieces from iconic artists like Picasso and Klimt. There's plenty of queer art, too, including a print by the iconic Tom of Finland. The Wilzig, the only museum in the United States dedicated solely to erotic art, features work from 300 BCE to the present. The institution presents exhibitions as well. "The Eroticism of Things" is on display through March 20.

Where to Stay
Miami Beach is famously home to lovingly-restored, deeply-historic Art Deco hotels. But should visitors want to lay their head somewhere a little more epic than these sometimes small-scaled gems, Shelborne South Beach offers 200 guest rooms tucked away in a vintage property built in the 1940s. Onsite amenities like a spa and fitness center and pool with cabanas pamper as does the prime beachside location.

Jill Gleeson is a travel and adventure journalist based in the Appalachians of Central Pennsylvania. Find her on Facebook and Twitter at @gopinkboots.