Miami’s Top Five Art Power Players 2018

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In honor of Art Basel Miami Beach 2018, we’ve sat down with some of the city’s greatest power players in the art world to get their insider’s perspective on some of the hottest artists and trends of the moment, why art is important, the growing art scene in Miami and what to look out for during this year’s Art Basel season.

JORGE PÉREZ

Jorge PerezPhoto Credit: Related Group
Founder, Chairman & CEO, Related Group 

Who are some of your favorite artists?

I have many favorites, but right now, I’m particularly focused on African art, especially after I realized how much influence it holds over artists coming out of Cuba, the Caribbean and of course Miami. I’ve recently acquired works by Moshekwa Langa from South Africa, Misheck Masamvu and Kudzanai Chiurai from Zimbabwe and Chéri Samba and Moké from the Congo.
Another core is American art. I am thrilled with the recent acquisition of great works by masters such as Helen Frankenthaler, Frank Stella, Michael Goldberg, Stanley Whitney, Norman Bluhm, Larry Rivers and Joan Mitchell.

What are some trends in the art world that you are loving right now?

I don’t necessarily follow all trends because I like to find art or artists that I have a strong, personal connection with. Right now, I see a lot of powerful, contemporary art coming out of Cuba, and I think it reveals a lot about the history of the small island and its disproportionately large influence on the art world. 

 What inspiration do you draw from to showcase your artistic style?

I find most of my inspiration through travel and make it a point to attend several major art fairs around the world every year. I take the trips as an opportunity to visit local galleries and museums, which allows me to personally meet many local artists, collectors and curators. Having these personal interactions gives me a more in-depth understanding of their vision so that I may integrate their artwork into future projects or in my personal collection in a way that aligns with their creative process.

Why is the expression of art important to you?

Art’s power lies in its ability to elicit a response from everyone who it comes in contact with. Each person walks away with their own interpretation and subsequently their own unique relationship with the work. This incredible power extends to public art, which is why we place such a high emphasis on commissioning and installing museum-quality art at each and every one of our projects. The different pieces become landmarks for residents and visitors, and help each neighborhood develop a distinct look and personality. It also makes art accessible to a wide variety of audiences, which is simply amazing.
Art to me is the visual interpretation of our immediate past and present times―it represents the beauty of both. It makes me think and helps me to understand the world in which we live.
Some of our most recent examples of art in public places include Jaume Plensa’s Awilda in Museum Park, Fernando Botero’s Male Torso at SLS LUX Brickell, as well as the gorgeous murals by Mexican artist Omar Barquet at the Paraiso District in Edgewater.

How would you describe the art scene in Miami?

Miami has the potential to be a cornerstone for the ongoing conversation on contemporary art. As the crossroads of the Americas, this city has both a privileged geographical location and an extraordinary cultural heritage. Global events like Art Basel Miami Beach have definitely played a role in placing the city on the global stage, but since then, the local arts scene has continued to grow and evolve at an incredible pace.
The next major step will be ensuring there is a strong framework of funding and organizations dedicated to supporting the next generation of local talent. This includes funding for their work as well as strong mentors who can help guide these emerging artists take the next steps in their careers. Organizations like the National YoungArts Foundation, The Miami Foundation and the Knight Foundation are already making great strides, but more needs to be done. 

What are you most looking forward to during Art Basel Miami 2018?

Although it’s one of the busiest times of my year, I love everything about Art Week. It’s a chance to see friends and peers, but also an opportunity to see all of the world’s best artists and collections concentrated in one location.
I’m definitely looking forward to the annual arts brunch I host at my home in Coconut Grove. It’s become a great tradition and is a chance to invite new and old friends into my home to see the collection, discuss the week’s events and catch up.
This Basel is also special as we’re planning on releasing a new book taking a unique look at Cuban art. More to come on that soon!

CRAIG ROBINS

craig_3163-credit Felipe CuevasPhoto Credit: Felipe Cuevas

CEO, Dacra Development

Who are some of your favorite artists?

I admire the work of a lot of artists, all for different reasons. I have a version of Marcel Duchamp’s 3 Standard Stoppages, which I love. I also collect a lot of John Baldessari’s work. I am a big fan. Urs Fischer is also doing some very interesting work. I was thrilled last year to be able to debut his site-specific piece, Bus Stop, in the Miami Design District. It’s also been great to see how Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s work has developed. I was an early supporter of her, and I will be exhibiting two major works by her this year during Art Basel

What are some trends in the art world that you are loving right now?

I’m not usually into trends but have always had interest in emerging artists. I like solid works across a broad range of styles and appreciate the various visions of diverse artists. Recently, I acquired works by Tschabalala Self, which are hybrids of collage, painting, drawing and sewing. I also acquired several new works by Christina Quarles. One of my favorite acquisitions by a more-established artist is Urs Fischer’s wax figure of Julian Schnabel. If it speaks to me, then I am interested regardless of trends.

Why is the expression of art important to you?

Art, at its very essence, is an expression of our humanity. It’s a conversation, a connective thread that defines and redefines our collective and individual experiences. Great art evokes emotion and intellectual rigor. It delights us, angers us, challenges our thinking and provokes us to look at the world around us in different ways. Mainly, for me, I enjoy an inexplicable sense of connection that I get when I look at an interesting work of art. In my opinion, the expression of art is as essential to life as spoken language or mathematics.

How would you describe the art scene in Miami?

The Miami art scene is vibrant and keeps growing. Art and design have always been in the DNA of this city―just look at how it’s integrated into the neighborhoods both past and present. The Miami Design District serves as a great example of a community here that injected culture into its very fabric.
Over the last 16 years with the emergence of Art Basel Miami Beach and Design Miami/, we’ve just seen an explosion of creative expression throughout the city, and Miami has really taken its place on the global stage. While the art and design programming in the city is phenomenal year-round with museums like the ICA, PAMM and The Bass, every year the December fairs bring with them an influx of incredible exhibitions, talent and programming that rightly attracts an international audience. While that programming is only temporary, it has a lasting impact on the art scene in Miami.

What are you most looking forward to during Art Basel Miami 2018?

Art Week in Miami can be an overwhelming experience. There’s simply so much amazing programming happening all it once. You really need to prioritize what you are going to do, knowing you can’t do everything. Spending quality time at the Convention Center―taking in all that Art Basel Miami Beach and Design Miami/ have to offer is really central to my week every year. I am also looking forward to the programming we have lined up in the Miami Design District. There will be new installations, live performances, public art tours and a special holiday commission by Dozie Kanu, among other things. Jeffrey Deitch and Larry Gagosian are once again teaming up to present a co-curated exhibit in the Moore Building. This year, I am very pleased that the Design District is supporting an exhibition curated by David Adjaye and Theaster Gates for (RED). The foundation will host an auction of the works from that exhibition with Sotheby’s. It is going to be one of the best events of the week. Even better than being a great event, it will be supporting a great cause.

FRANKLIN SIRMANS

Franklin SirmansPhoto Credit: Franklin Sirmans

Director, Pérez Art Museum Miami

Who are some of your favorite artists?

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Constantin Brâncuşi, Teresita Fernández, Beatriz González, Ebony Patterson and Lee Quinones.

What are some trends in the art world that you are loving right now?

It feels as though we expect more of our artists today. Not only should the work be beautiful, but there should also be a playful element of fun. I love those trends, but what makes me happy is that a dose of social activism is also being embraced and expected of our artists today.

What inspiration do you draw from to showcase your artistic style?

I don’t know if I have an artistic style. I have always wanted to show artists whose work bridged fields of thought and broke down barriers between elements of culture. Take a look at Arthur Jafa’s Love is the Message … at PAMM, and you will find histories of not only film [which it is], but dance, fashion, sport, theater, spirituality and on and on.

Why is the expression of art important to you?

Because I continue to believe that art represents us―all human beings―in our finest moments. And, we need those moments with greater and greater urgency.

How would you describe the art scene in Miami?

Growing.

What are you most looking forward to during Art Basel Miami 2018?

Sharing our exhibitions: Arthur Jafa, Lynne Gelfman, Christo and Ebony Patterson among them, and our beautiful museum!

JESSICA GOLDMAN SREBNICK 

CEO, Goldman Properties

Jessica GoldmanPhoto Credit: Goldman Properties
Who are some of your favorite artists?

I find great joy in constantly discovering new artistic talent and immersing myself into the works of artists whom I’ve admired for many years. This year’s Wynwood Walls artists selection is a combination of both. The most exciting trend I am seeing over the last year in the art world is the idea that the consumer is now demanding an infusion of creativity into where they work, play and live. That means more opportunity for talented artists to contribute beauty to the world. 

What inspiration do you draw from to showcase your artistic style?

I am a big believer that everyone has the ability to be artistic. It is a function of infusing creative thinking and execution into all that you do―how you structure a deal, how you design a product, how you communicate to a customer, how you create an experience. There is inspiration everywhere―by being curious and having your eyes open to the world around you, you will find it.

Why is the expression of art important to you?

Art is not meant to answer questions but to inspire dialogue, provoke thought, encourage action and create beauty and hope. Salvador Dali said it best: “An artist is not one who is inspired but one who inspires others.”

How would you describe the art scene in Miami?

The art scene in Miami continues to grow and evolve. More and more we see the marriage of art and architecture in new projects; we are seeing that others are adapting to one of Goldman Properties’ original ideas that art as a crucial component in place-making.

What are you most looking forward to during Art Basel Miami 2018?

I am always excited for our Basel programming. This year, we will have nine artists come and add their mark to the Wynwood Walls. I am seeing the concepts now, and I truly cannot wait for everyone to see the amazing talent that we are so lucky to work with. For the first time ever our gallery at the Wynwood Walls, the GGA Gallery, will have a solo show by an amazing Portuguese artist. This is going to be a great year.  

GARY NADER

Gary NaderPhoto Credit: Romain Maurice

Gary Nader Art Centre

Who are some of your favorite artists? 


My taste is everywhere there is substance—Botero, Matta, Lam, Picasso, Van Gogh, Warhol, Dali, to name a few.

What are some trends in the art world that you are loving right now? 


I am not a fan of trends. I actually despise them—great art is forever and never a trend! Trends disappear with time. 

What inspiration do you draw from to showcase your artistic style? 


I do my own thing, which is very different from everyone else. I don’t follow patterns because what inspires me to collect and show my art is never the market―it’s just what I found interesting. 

Why is the expression of art important to you?

Is your soul important?

How would you describe the art scene in Miami? 

Very young and lots to do yet—a lot. But it’s very exciting at the same time, and that makes it fascinating!

What are you most looking forward to during Art Basel Miami 2018? 

Besides the plethora of great art to enjoy, I love all of the characters that come into town at that time.

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