Art Basel's Biggest Buy: Jorge Perez Gets MAM Name For $35 Million, Over Objections

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The new MAM.
While Basel collectors plunk down millions on Miami Beach, this week's biggest art buy went down last night on the other side of Biscayne Bay. Developer Jorge Perez's $35 million bid to put his name atop the Miami Art Museum's new bay front home was finalized by trustees.

The gift seems like great news for Miami's fledgling arts haven -- or is it? "These payments do not come close to the value of the money and land that the city and county have already committed to MAM," former president Mary Frank objects.

Perez's gift officially adds up to $20 million in cash for the museum, plus another $15 million of his own Latin American art collection to join the MAM's permanent collection.

Museum director Thom Collins tells The Miami Herald this morning that the gift left him "stunned" with its generosity. "This campaign was kicked off in a very, very rosy economy ... This is not a very rosy economy," he says.

In a newspaper ad taken out earlier this week, though, Frank argues that Perez's gift isn't quite as rosy as it looks. He'd already pledged $5 million five years earlier and $10 million of the pledge isn't due until 2022, so really Perez got to slap his name on the museum for $5 million today plus a promise to let curators raid his collection.

"The name of this museum belongs to the people of Miami," Frank argues in her ad, pointing out that taxpayer's $100 million investment dwarfs Perez's individual donation. "The citizens of Miami-Dade paid for this museum, and it should bear the name of this community."

What's more, as Eye on Miami writes this week, Perez's recent real estate transactions leave transparency wanting.

Just before Genting swooped into town with plans of a giant casino on the Bayfront, Perez snatched up the Omni plot of land for $100 million; six months later, he flipped it to the Malaysians for a cool $61 million profit.

Did Perez have inside info that the casino deal was en route? Who knows, but as the Gimleteye of Eye on Miami notes: "Genting's name ought to be right beside Perez's on the new Miami Art Museum."

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14 comments
Eduardo Especial
Eduardo Especial

I propose renaming it the "Manuel Yip Museum of Art" after the legendary deceased individual who cast an absentee ballot for Xavier Suarez in the 1997 mayoral election.

It's a great name. And "I'm going to spend the day at the Yip" sounds better than "I'm going to spend the day at the Perez."

Trompushka
Trompushka

The Perez contribution is also part art collection ; said to be worth 10 to 12 million. The offical MAM receit for said donation value will no doubt help the donor's tax rate on the Genting sale.Everyone wins , not really, we're left with a trunk load of over valued art junk we didn't ask for.Perhaps Mr. Perez would be happy with just a collection room in his honor, a donation is in the name of charity , given without reward. afterall if so many are offended the donor ought to take only one bow of thanks to honor his charitable offering.  

Donate61Mil
Donate61Mil

He should get a wing named after him.   And yes, he is a crook.

Jdjr107
Jdjr107

WHY ON EARTH would any one be content with such a common hispanic hialeah name such as Jorge Perez on a brand new cool art museum ??  Just cause you donate money to a facility doesn't require you to add your name to it.  TACKY TACKY TACKY Miami...you'll never grow into a real boy !

Franklynotafan
Franklynotafan

Mary Frank has her name all over buildings on Miami Beach. Her name is scrawled across the New World Center soundscape. Someone else puts their name on something and suddenly the people of Miami deserve their name on it.

Her taking out an ad and complaining is the same as a little girl in the sandbox watching someone else play with her toy. Mary Frank should find a hobby other than harassing every arts affiliated board of trustees in Miami. Some people have too much money and time on their hands.

Rafi
Rafi

Don't worry the museum still has to be named 3 times before it opens. As is tradition in miami.

-Sunshine Miami Museum-Carnival Cruise Art Arena-Landshark Center for the ArtsDon't worry i'm sure the name is going to be extruded through a richer mans asshole sooner or later. 

Tele
Tele

I'm not a fan of people plastering their names on public buildings but you sound racist and have something against Hispanic names. At least his name sounds better than that of Arscht Center of Performing Arts ( another public building named after a donor) if you take the "t" from Arscht it is the German word for "@ss"... and the pronunciation is the same. Nobody complained about that!!!!!

Diandra Garcia
Diandra Garcia

troll alert troll alert troll alert troll alert troll alert

anon1
anon1

Uh, it's a very different thing to name the ENTIRE FACILITY after an investor. If Jorge Perez wants a museum, fine. But he should buy the land and build it himself, not hijack a project paid for with the taxpayer's money. How can the board even consider such a ludicrous proposal? It seems the local community should have the final word on this issue since the bulk of the financing came from public funds. If the community wants to make a mockery of itself by naming its art museum after a real estate developer, so be it. But the MAM board shouldn't be making that decision for everyone else.

Olga
Olga

furthermore, I give it about 6 months time for it to be just another "dust-collecting" site. 

Krisbahamondes
Krisbahamondes

Why is it so offensive for a building to be named after a donor? Lots of buildings do it all of the time. I went to a public highschool that was renamed after one of its biggest donors. I don't see any problem with a museum being named after a donor. We name public streets, buildings and parks in people's honor all of the time. I think it's nicer than some super generic name. (the Miami art museum; how lame is that?)I think Ms Frank just doesn't want anything named after anyone except for herself.

Tele
Tele

The Arscht Center for Performing Arts is a public building and is named with the donors name.... and worst, that name if you take the "t" is the German word for "@ss" pronounced the same way.

LallaSalmah
LallaSalmah

Shows how educated -- not to speak of well traveled -- you are, sch_uck! Nowhere else in the world is a public museum named after a donor, and even less with such a miserly gift. He could have endowed a wing, which is what people who are used to those types of donations do. Naturally, what the hell would Jorge Perez know... un Perez cualquiera, And who cares for his Latin American art! I'm sure we're not talking about the work of Picasso, Dali, or Modigliani or anyone in that category. Bunch of hicks is what they are here, in Miami. What a disgrace!

anon1
anon1

I'll tell you why it's offensive. It's a public space, a public building. A city's art museum is supposed to be part of civic life. It's publicly funded and its name should reflect that. It belongs the community, not an individual. Naming a street to honor someone who has contributed to society in some way is not the same as selling off a public asset to the highest bidder. And if you want to name the museum after the donor of the largest share of money, then it's still going to be called the Miami Art Museum because all of us in this community paid for the land and the building.

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