Terence Riley resigns as director of the Miami Art Museum

I’ve been just informed that Terence Riley resigned as director of the Miami Art Museum. This indicates one of two things — either they’ve raised the money they need, and the new building is happening, or he’s realized that it ain’t gonna happen and he’s bailing. The former reason is what is stated, but the latter seems disturbingly more likely, especially given the lack of a fundraising update with the announcement. This majorly blows. Update: here’s the longer story. But scant new info: the fundraising numbers are 6 months old(!). “Riley said he leaves the job with very few regrets. One is that he didn’t do enough to muster the support of Miami’s art heavyweights.” Yikes!

4 thoughts on “Terence Riley resigns as director of the Miami Art Museum

  1. I’m pretty sure it’s the second. $220 million was already a pretty optimistic estimate, when they started to do the actual figures I’ll bet he was faced with the prospect of fundraising for another 100 million or so. A smart man does not let his name be associated with a failure if he has other alternatives.

  2. Exactly. But if we agree on that, than that raises two questions for me: (1) why’d he take the job in the first place (dude is not stupid, and who honestly thought they’d be able to raise $120 mill)? and (2) Why DIDN’T he get Margulies on board? As quoted in the Herald, Marty is incoherent — “we shouldn’t support the MAM because nobody is supporting the MAM” — but whatever his actual objections to the MAM, you’d think that Riley, the MoMA transplant, would be able to woo him, over maybe like a series of private lunches. Probably MAM’d have had to make some sort of concessions, but when I look around the Warehouse, I can’t help but think that the MAM’d be well served by moving in whatever direction Marty’d like to see it move in.

    Marty is either not persuadable, or Riley didn’t try hard enough, and I think it’s the latter, and I think THAT is his biggest faliure. Because I think (admittedly with scant evidence) that if Margulies got behind the MAM the rest of the big Miami collectors would follow.

  3. My very uninformed opinion, based solely on press reports and artsy-blog gossip, is that the guy was seduced by the idea of being a big player in the exploding Miami art scene post-Basel and that he was convinced the money needed was nothing in a town full of Jorge Perezes. I mean, how often you get the opportunity to design and curate an modern art museum from the ground up? I can see why he went for it.

    Also he always seemed arrogant. I remember once he made some bitter comments about Miami not aligning fast enough with the vision. Maybe that’s why he thought he didn’t need to woo the big name art collectors too hard.

  4. Well, that makes perfect sense. And it should be noted that he (Riley) did peruse the Cuban-American collector community successfully — he got Ella Cisneros to fold MAC into MAM, with all the financial and artistic clout that brought. Big credit on that (although the city lost a primo art institution in the deal).

    It’s possible that he did meet with Margulies, and that Marty has just made up his mind and is unbudgable at this point. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall for that conversation…

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