Tucked away in a historical building along South Beach’s bustling Washington Avenue corridor, the Wilzig Museum Building has been home to some of the most interesting art from all over the world. You might pass it as you make your way to the sand or to get a drink at a nearby bar, but this charming building has been dubbed the “The Multi-museum Building” and it truly is living up to its name. It houses both the Wilzig Erotic Art Museum (WEAM) and the recently opened George Daniell Museum, and during this year’s Art Basel, they’ll be bringing even more art inside their walls with two additional pop-up galleries: “The Eroticism of Things” and a collection of archival footage of The Rolling Stones. They will kick it off with a free Opening Reception on Monday, December 2nd.
In the early 1980s, the museum’s namesake–Naomi Wilzig began collecting erotic art and nearly 20 years later, she had accumulated over 4,000 pieces from all over the world and even as far back as 300 BCE. This personal collection is what’s at the heart of the building’s first official museum: WEAM. Since then, the art destination has received numerous awards, and has even partnered with the highly revered Kinsey Institute, Bloomington, and Berlin’s Humboldt University for thought-provoking collections bridging the two countries. It has even housed works by renown artists such as Picasso, Rembrandt, Pervis Young, and Toulouse Lautrec.
Earlier this year, The Wilzig added a new museum to the fold: The George Daniell Museum, dedicated to the life and works of the first openly gay (and successful) American photographer. The museum showcases his evolution from fine art to photography, and into his old age, even including intimate portraits of well-known figures in pop culture (Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren). For this year’s Miami Art Week, they’ve brought in a special selection of his work for the “New York New York: The City, The People” exhibit featuring rarely seen snapshots of The Big Apple in the 30s and 40s.
The next museum to join The Wilzig Building’s roster will be the Bob Bonis Museum, showcasing an archival look into the lives of great artists like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, Bonis himself serving as tour manager for both the groundbreaking bands. As part of Miami Art Week, The Wilzig will open its first floor doors for a pop-up of the upcoming museum: the Bob Bonis Archive – The Rolling Stones: A Day at Chess, Their First U.S. Recording Session, June 1964. Which features intimate photographs of the British rock band inside the recording studio and as behind the scenes as it gets.
The final special moment just in time for Art Basel will be the museum’s turnkey exhibition: “The Eroticism of Things” in Werkbundarchive – Museum der Dinge, Berlin, the Research Center for the Cultural History of Sexuality at Humboldt University. Imagine a collection of regular items from your daily lives that can easily be classified as erotic under categories like agents of love, tools of pleasure, bodies to use and erotica. Explore sexology and psychoanalysis as you weave in and out of its presence in our everyday lives.
All the information on the opening reception can be acquired here.
All photos and video by VACO Studio