History was made this week on the shore of Biscayne Bay. The Perez Art Museum Miami enters the world stage with the aim of being among those known by one name: Tate, Whitney, Guggenheim, Smithsonian. The museum gets its name from Jorge Perez, founder, chairman and CEO of real estate development company The Related Group.
Perez came to Miami in 1968. While his real-estate success led to his large gift in cash and art to the PAMM, it also attracted critics and even led to resignations in the art museum's board of directors. Although Perez's donation was smaller than Adrienne Arsht's contribution to the performing-arts center, the museum bears his name.
But Perez dismisses his critics, contending his donation is a larger percentage of the museum's total cost than what other donors have given to organizations named after them. He also claims critics may be bothered because Perez, he says, is the first Hispanic name on a major cultural center in the U.S.
WLRN spoke with Perez at his downtown Miami office before this week's opening of PAMM about his philanthropy and the controversy it has attracted. Hear the interview here: