Miami has already put itself on the map as an art destination, not just on the strength of events like its annual fairs but also its local arts scene, and now at least one institution is following suit. The Museum of Sex, based in New York, has revealed plans for an expansion into the city’s Allapattah neighborhood in 2023. Founded in 2002 on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, the Museum of Sex has in the intervening two decades launched some 40 exhibitions dedicated to the exploration of human sexuality.
And now, like many who wish to explore their sexuality, they are headed to Florida.
“Our inaugural programming perfectly embodies our ambitions to be a thought-provoking forum around sex and sexuality, and to bring forth a unique, publicly loved, and critically acclaimed cultural offering to Miami,” said Daniel Gluck, the founder and executive director of the Museum of Sex.
Said programming includes the major solo debut of Japanese artist and illustrator Hajime Sorayama, Desire Machines, which will offer a zesty blend of sci-fi and fantasy in the form of hyperreal erotic sculptures of “sexy robots.” Move over, Ex Machina, it’s time for XXX Machina.
This is just one of three inaugural programs that will populate the 32,000-square-foot building, which will boast three large exhibition galleries, a retail space, and a bar (where visitors can apply some of what they’ve learned in a classic setting for sexy eye contact). The other opening exhibits are the historical survey Modern Sex: 100 Years of Design and Decency, which will examine the cultural and societal impact of restriction on the design, marketing, and distribution of sexual health products from the 1920s until today; and a scaled-up interpretation of Super Funland: Journey into the Erotic Carnival, the museum’s thrilling immersive experience, which debuted in NYC in 2019. When it comes to an immersive experience, the bigger the better, I say!
In addition to 16 interactive “amusements” from New York’s Funland, which is the museum’s take on the history of decadent carnivals dating back to the Roman Bacchanal, new additions coming to the Miami outpost include attractions with rousing names like the “Devil’s Teacup”; “Attack of the 50’ Woman“; the “SizeMologist”; and “Merlandia” — a 40-foot-wide Rococo-style mermaid tank and performance space. As anyone who has visited the Weeki Wachi Springs State Park can tell you, Florida loves a mermaid show, and the forthcoming Museum of Sex seems prepared to embrace its new location with gusto.
On a more serious note, the Museum of Sex is not the only cultural organization to make moves into Allapattah in recent years, ringing alarm bells for those concerned about gentrification in the Miami neighborhood — where most households are low to middle-income. In 2019, the Rubell Family Collection relocated from its longtime home base in Wynwood to a massive complex dubbed the Rubell Museum, and Pace Gallery inaugurated its Superblue “immersive art experience” outpost across the street. A Miami New Times article covering the Rubell Museum’s arrival highlighted the impact the collection had on the development of Wynwood, raising concerns that the move to Allapattah would presage similar issues. So while the forthcoming Museum of Sex promises to serve an array of spicy entertainments, it’s worth keeping in mind the ways in which the institution will impact its surrounding community.