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Best Art Museum to Close in the Past Year

When the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art closed its doors for the last time in late March, it was the end of a noble experiment that lasted five years. PBICA, as it was known in the alphabet-soup art world, had been a work of love, not to mention considerable cash, for South Florida arts patrons Robert and Mary Montgomery. The lovely old Art Deco movie theater in downtown Lake Worth that was PBICA's home had been a museum before, when it held the collection of J. Patrick Lannan in the 1980s, then again in the 1990s after the Lannan Foundation turned it over to Palm Beach Community College. The Montgomerys, who bought the building from the school, hoped that other support for the museum would materialize once they got it up and running. They were wrong, unfortunately. During its brief, shining moment, however, PBICA presented exhibitions that attracted national attention, including its inaugural venture, "Making Time: Considering Time as a Material in Contemporary Film and Video." Other highlights included the exuberant group show "Brooklyn!" and "The Smiths: Tony, Kiki, Seton," which brought together for the first time the works of three prominent artists from the same family. At least the museum went out with a bang: Its final exhibition, "I Feel Mysterious Today," was a multimedia extravaganza every bit as exciting as its first.


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