Dec 6, 2022 - News

Miami Beach buys porcelain rag installation from Art Basel

light-colored rags in white, pink and brown pastel hues hang on a wall.

"Colored Bone China Rags" by Juana Valdés. Photo courtesy of the City of Miami Beach

The City of Miami Beach is buying an art installation from Art Basel, consisting of 12 rags cast in porcelain, for its public collection.

  • The purchase has sparked debate on social media over whether the government should use city funds to buy art.

Driving the news: The city announced late last week plans to acquire Cuban artist Juana Valdés' artwork "Colored Bone China Rags," which "examines Afro-Cuban migration through the lens of material culture and personal experience," according to a statement.

How it works: The artwork was funded through the city's Art in Public Places program, created in 1984. The city sets aside 2% of construction costs from city-owned or public-private projects to fund the program.

  • Through Art in Public Places, Miami Beach established the Legacy Purchase Program in 2019 to buy work from Art Basel like "Colored Bone China Rags."
  • With an $80,000 budget, the program's seven-member committee (whose members are appointed by the City Commission) selected three pieces by different artists from this year's fair. The public was invited to vote on the three finalists.

What to watch: "Colored Bone China Rags" will be displayed to the public in the Miami Beach Convention Center, Valdés said in a statement. The city hasn't yet shared an exact location.

Go deeper: View Miami Beach's public art collection.

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