In a statement released today, Irma Braman and Ray Ellen Yarkin, co-chairs of the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami board, announced that MoCA staff is leaving their city-owned home of almost twenty years and will reopen as the Institute of Contemporary Art in a temporary museum facility in Miami’s Design District.
Located on the second floor of the historic Moore Building, the new galleries will increase the museum’s exhibition space from 7,500 to 12,500 square feet. The space will be provided rent-free by Miami Design District Associates. “The Board sought an on-site expansion at our former home in North Miami for more than a decade, as the demands of our collection, program, and audiences grew and our museum gained international acclaim,” Braman and Yarkin explained in the release.
The move is the culmination of a months-long clash between the museum’s board of trustees and the City of North Miami. The feud reached its boiling point last December when the board, in search of more exhibition space, proposed to transfer its 600-piece collection to the Bass Museum in Miami Beach. City officials were outraged at the proposed move and vowed to keep the collection in the largely working-class city. However, museum trustees maintain that the original 2012 plan to remain in North Miami was quashed when a $15-million bond proposal to finance an expansion was rejected by residents of the city.
To complicate matters further, following the departure of longtime MoCA director Bonnie Clearwater last summer, the city appointed Babacar M’Bow as interim director; the MoCA board rejected this appointment when M’Bow wouldn’t not comply with a background check. MoCA curator Alex Gartenfeld will continue serving as interrim director (a post he has held since September 2013) and will make the move to the Moore building with the rest of the staff.