He Got That Bass

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David Gauld and Pascale Marthine Tayou’s “Welcome Wall” at The Bass. Miami Beach 12.5.18

This is my friend, the New York City-based architect David Gauld.

David steered the recent renovation and expansion of The Bass, a Miami Beach Art Deco landmark museum that opened on South Beach in 1964 that I quite seldom visited during the time that I lived in South Florida. What can I say other than, in my estimation, back in the aughts, the Bass didn’t used to enjoy the (well-earned) buzz and attention now lavished upon it.

Consulting with his mentor, the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki (who oversaw the museum’s previous 2001 renovation), and collaborating with the interior designer Jonathan Caplan, David re-activated The Bass’ existing footprint by simply reconfiguring it in time for its relaunch last season. He gained gallery space by eliminating an interior ramp and adding a new staircase leading to the museum’s second floor, changes that delivered a more intuitive flow of traffic to and from galleries currently featuring works by The Haas Brothers of California, the Italian multimedia artist Paola Pivi, and the Texas-born, L.A.-based painter and sculptor Aaron Curry.

He also incorporated (and preserved) courtyard space in which visitors now can spend time without outside interference. And he expanded The Bass’ creative learning center over an existing pond on the north side of the property so the space now can effortlessly commune with the neighborhood.

On the east side, the courtyard leading to the museum’s entrance received a holistic landscape makeover in order to improve visibility from and to The Bass and to showcase Ugo Rondinone’s colorful, massive, and photogenic “Miami Mountain.”

As a result, these days the Bass not only looks like a proper, modern museum of contemporary art inside and out, it feels like one, too.

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