The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) opened in Miami in 1996, enriching the city's cultural landscape. Designed by Charles Gwathmey, an acclaimed architect based in New York, its classes, exhibits and beautiful design make it one of the best Miami attractions. The museum also features film screenings and other special events. The museum's goal is to make contemporary art accessible to everyone by exploring how today's art relates to our culture. They are also committed to helping discover and nurture new local talent.
Since its opening, the South Florida museum’s collection has grown to over 400 permanent pieces, as well as numerous special exhibits. The museum adds to its collection through donations including the Janet and Robert Liebowitz Acquisition Endowment and the Gucci Young Artist Acquisition Fund. Artists whose work can be found at the Museum of Contemporary Art include John Baldessari, Dan Flavin, Dennis Oppenheim, Alex Katz, Louise Nevelson, Gabriel Orozco, Julian Schnabel, Zoe Leonard, Uta Barth, Teresita Fernandez, Jorge Pardo, Garry Simmons, Mathew Ritchie, Raymond Pettibon, and Yoko Ono.
Besides the permanent collections, the museum also hosts special exhibits. One of the more unique exhibits to be featured is the current exhibit, "Merce Cunningham: Dancing on the Cutting Edge", based on the work the choreographer has done with visual artists throughout his 30 year career. The exhibit includes set and costumes from his productions, and is broken up into two parts. The first part will close April 29th, while part 2 will run from April 21st until June 26th, 2007. Among the pieces featured in the show is the set used for his production "Way Station". It is made up of five free-standing sculptures that are described as looking like space aliens. The dancers in the show went through them as they were doing the routine. For more details on that, check their website at http://www.mocanomi.org.
The Museum of Contemporary Art does not just display art. It gets the community actively involved in it through programs such as the Adult Docent Program. Those who join are taught how to lead tours of the museum and in the process learn about art history and how an exhibit is put together, as well as training in public speaking. The volunteers in the Docent program are not required to have previous experience. Adults are not the only ones who can get in on the fun, though. The Junior Docent program allows local teens to earn community service hours for school while learning about art history, journalism and creative writing. Teens in the program can later teach local kids about art, talk about the museum at their own schools or become a part of the "MOCA' zine" staff, as well as giving tours to the museum-goers.
MOCA' zine is a free publication that gets distributed to high schools in the area and is also available as a free download on MOCA's site. The magazine is produced by the members of the Junior Docent program as well as students from local High Schools. It features everything you could want in an art magazine, so do not forget to check it out!