Art Basel brings the world’s biggest art collectors to the city. But South Florida already has plenty of serious ones whose collections get more and more distinct by the minute. Whether they donate big to local museums, create their own or commission outdoor works, these collectors are the real deal.
Jorge Pérez is the highest-profile developer in the city of Miami, working as the Chairman and CEO of the Related Group. Pérez has a substantial appreciation for art. Born in Argentina to Cuban parents, his taste for Latin America has influenced the Related Group, which is noted as one of the largest Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States while simultaneously characterizing South Florida’s artistic landscape. Pérez’ overflowing art collection inspired him to donate $20 million worth of art by Diego Rivera, Wifredo Lam and Roberto Matta, along with a $20 million cash contribution to the Miami Art Museum when it opened. Now, not only does he serve on the board of directors of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, he is becoming a leading force in museum art education today. Pérez’ love for art doesn’t stop with his tremendous contributions for the city of Miami: His own home is filled with art as is his latest development project, SLS Brickell.
What is your latest acquisition? My most recently acquired pieces are two fantastic works by Nicholas Hlobo from South Africa. It was a great experience while in South Africa meeting new great artists and gallerists. My favorite one was Nicholas Hlobo and I was able to find a truly exceptional piece by this fabulous young artist.
Another recent one is an OSGEMEOS, an artist from Brazil. It was at the best exhibit I’ve been to in a very long time. And I found a piece called “South Bronx” about urban decay. You can see the character is happy, but you can see the graffiti and dirt on the street. It meant something to me as an urban planner. I have also recently acquired a lot of art for the SLS Brickell (see sidebar).
Why do you collect what you do? Art reflects our times. Artist interpret the issues that are facing us in society in different an important ways. That’s one of the reasons I collect contemporary artists that I can talk to. That way I can understand what they are doing, and get inside their creativity—which I don’t have.
What will you be looking out for at Art Basel? We look forward to seeing what the galleries we work with will bring to the fair, but we will also keep an eye on the emergent talent in the nova section of the fair.
What’s the best way to buy a piece of art? Love it and want to live with it. It is also important do research on the artist, what collections is he/she in, exhibitions, etc.
What is your favorite piece in your collection? Always the last acquisition.
I love changing the art in my house. It really changes it. It’s like you live in a new house! It changes to mood, too. Some art makes you happy; some art makes you think. It’s very dynamic.
Jessica Goldman Srebnick
Jessica Goldman Srebnick, CEO of Goldman Properties, got her maiden name from her late father, Tony, who was famous for urban redevelopment with an artistic twist in neighborhoods like SoHo, South Beach and Wynwood. She founded Goldman Global Arts (GGA) in 2015, an organization established to conceptualize and produce impactful, thought-provoking creative projects for a variety of organizations. The goal of the GGA is changing the paradigm of how people interact with art. GGA’s first project is an integration of world-class art into Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, home to the Miami Dolphins. She’s also set to debut a new series of Wynwood Walls she commissioned during Art Basel.
What is your latest acquisition? We are always on the lookout for beautiful, dynamic artwork. If I fall in love with a piece, I buy it and figure out later where to put it. Our newest piece is a 10-foot-long Logan Hicks painting that replicates the 60-foot masterpiece public mural he painted for us in New York City on the famous Houston Bowery public art wall.
What will you be looking out for at Art Basel? Art Basel is a whirlwind of creativity and energy. It is truly my favorite week of the year in Miami. I only wish it was two weeks long so I could digest the massive amount of world-class art on display. The truth is, I am searching all year for emerging artists from around the world.
What’s the best way to buy a piece of art? I buy art because I wish to live in a creative, colorful and inspiring environment. The best way to buy art is to take advantage of art fairs like Art Miami and Scope. It’s the best way to see many pieces at one time. You can also visit the new gallery in the Wynwood Walls that will be selling the works of some of the greatest street artists of today.
What are your favorite pieces in your collection? For me, the highlights are: Faith47’s image of a prowling tiger that is so intense but at the same time so spiritual (South Africa); JonOne’s brilliant explosion of color (France); Swoon’s intimate woman and child done in wheat paste on a double wooden door (USA); Joey Goldman’s glitter galaxy (USA); Vhils’ mixed-media portrait of an American Indian (Portugal); Ron English’s family of camouflage deer sculptures (USA); Gino Miles’ stainless-steel spiral sculpture; and Lady Pink’s Medusa portrait (Ecuador). She is one of the founding females of the street-art genre.
Cricket and her late husband, Martin Taplin, were one of the first to explore the connection between art and hospitality. During the time they owned the Sagamore, one of Miami Beach’s iconic Art Deco hotels from 1997-2016, they displayed their extensive contemporary art collection in the public spaces of the hotel. They often commissioned hotel-specific installations with artists like Spencer Tunick. She was recently honored at the Pérez Art Museum Miami Corporate Luncheon for her contribution to the arts in Miami.
What is your latest acquisition? “Entourage” from the Fambily Series, 2010, by Ebony G. Patterson, and when I showed it to Marty he said, “I really love that.” It is a colorful digital print from a Jamaican artist who explores social issues
including race, class and gender through a female lens.
What will you be looking out for at Art Basel? This year I am adopting a wait-and-see attitude, and when I get to the fair I will make a decision.
What’s the best way to buy a piece of art? It is important to buy what you love or like and don’t follow trends. In the long run you have to appreciate what you own rather than waiting for it to appreciate.
What is your favorite piece in your collection? My art collection is a little like having children. I play no favorites.
Martin Z. Margulies
New York native, Martin Z. Margulies is a real estate developer and renowned collector of contemporary art and photography. Margulies has taken control of Miami’s art scene with an experience of 30 years collecting since the moment he was instantly hooked after attending his first auction. After moving to Miami in 1999, he founded the nonprofit organization the Warehouse, where one can see Margulies’ artistic identity on full display, housed with collections of American and European art while providing art history and education. He has accumulated an $800 million art collection with pieces by Serra, Noguchi, Eliasson and Flavin, making him a master of his craft. However, Margulies’ passion and adoration for art has exceeded one’s typical expectations. He has expanded his involvement in the community by founding a shelter for homeless women and children, the Lotus House, based on the proceeds he receives from admissions and tours to view his art collections.
The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse 591 NW 27th St., Miami
Phone: (305) 576-1051
Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz
World-renowned collectors and philanthropists Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz have been important figures in the art scene for 30 years. Their privately funded museum, the de la Cruz Collection, is located in Design District. It was built as a privately funded museum, accessible to the public at no cost. It is a testament to both their long history of supporting upcoming and innovative contemporary artists on both an international and local level, and their generous philosophy on accessibility to art for all.
What is your latest acquisition? Works by Joe Bradley and Albert Oehlen.
What will you be looking for at Art Basel? Carlos and I always visit the galleries that we work with. We continue to support the artists that we have in our collection. And it is also important for us to stay informed and search for new talent.
What is the best way to buy a piece of art?
Keeping our collection in mind, Carlos and I make sure that whatever pieces we acquire strengthen our collection. It is equally important to stay informed and do research.
What is your favorite piece in your collection?
Carlos and I have great memories of all of the works we have acquired and the artists we have met along the way. I remember when we acquired the stack piece “Untitled (Somewhere better Than this Place/Nowhere Better than This Place)” by Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Felix commented, “I always wanted that piece to go to a couple. It is like two persons having an endless discussion of nowhere better/somewhere better.”
Norman and Irma Braman
Not only are the Bramans noted for 17 auto car dealerships (BMW, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, Honda and Mitsubishi), but this husband-and-wife pair has been attending Art Basel for nearly 21 years, making them two of the most avid art collectors in the South Florida area. Their art collection has an estimated worth of $900 million with blue-chip art by Andy Warhol, Picasso, Alexander Calder and more. The Bramans began collecting in the late ’70s and early ’80s when they became captivated by Alexander Calder’s sculptures on a visit to the Maeght Foundation in Southern France. The collection has grown so vast that the Bramans are funding the construction and design for their Miami-based museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). Fellow collector and Miami Design District founder Craig Robins donated the lot in the Miami Design District and the ICA is scheduled to open in time for this year’s Art Basel.
ICA Design District, 4040 NE 2nd Ave., Miami
THE CISNEROS FONTANALS ART FOUNDATION
Ella Fontanals-Cisneros is a philanthropist and entrepreneur with deep roots in Latin-American contemporary art and design. Born in the Caribbean and raised in South America, she began collecting in the 1970s. Her collection has grown to include important geometric abstract works from Latin America like Alejandro Otero, Gego and Lygia Clark. Ella’s passion for art has truly helped her nonprofit organization flourish into the well-recognized Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO), committed to the enrichment of the arts for anyone and everyone. Based in its signature art space in downtown Miami, CIFO is known for its extreme effort to preserve art history and is responsible for creating a wonderful art community that strives to thrive by inspiring all welcoming artists to foster their ultimate sense of creativity.
CIFO, 1018 N Miami Ave., Miami Phone: (305) 455-3333