Miami Art Week leaves local industry ‘booming’


The annual exhibit returned to in-person events this year with a very positive reception. And art experts at the university believe the event continues to help propel the market year round.

Miami Art Week was back in full force this year.

At least that’s the energy and sales that some of the top art experts at the University of Miami have noticed.

Over the past week, thousands of art collectors, spectators and gallery owners have flocked to Magic City for Art Basel and a host of art fairs that coincide with the Miami Beach event. Those who attended the fairs said they felt invigorated by the art and that attendance after last year’s in-person festival was canceled. And organizers of Art Basel and other events have said sales of contemporary art from the United States, the Caribbean and the Americas have been buoyant, with many pieces grossing more than $ 1 million. .

“Miami Art Week sales are an indicator that the art market is extremely strong right now,” said Jill Deupi, director and curator of the University’s Lowe Art Museum. “It’s booming.”

Although Miami has always had an art industry, experts agree that Art Basel’s decision in 2002 to relocate to the United States in this city helped accelerate the expansion of the offer.

“There is no doubt that Art Basel was an essential catalyst for everything that came out of it,” said Deupi. “Lots of private collections and museums would have opened anyway, but the Basel bump is real because it puts Miami at the forefront as a city of art to be reckoned with.”

Each year, more art fairs are added, providing more outlets for galleries and art dealers to sell their pieces, as well as greater variety for collectors. When Art Basel Miami started this year, at least 13 others art exhibitions dot the city, as well as at least two fashion showsby Louis Vuitton and Chaneland a host of other gallery openings. Art student Alejandra Moros exhibited her work at NADA Art Fair, while business graduate student Mariana Cordoba exhibited at PINTA Miami. Former student and ceramicist Lauren Shapiro also made her debut installation of a lost coral reef at the Royal Palm South Beach Hotel.

“In recent years, Miami Art Week has grown so much that these fairs or events no longer focus on a single event (Art Basel Miami Beach); the city instead focuses on many different fairs that include not only visual art but also performance art and fashion, ”said Nathan Timpano, associate professor and chair of the Department of Art and History art.

Besides the economic benefit of tourists visiting Miami, Art Week also helps locals and visitors appreciate the city’s modern art venues year-round, including the Pémiami art museum floor, the North Miami Museum of Contemporary Art, the Little Haiti cultural center and the city’s newest art museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. And philanthropists who attend Art Week can help support artist-in-residence programs after their visit to Miami, allowing emerging artists to flourish locally, said Timpano.

In addition, the University’s commitment to having a space in the city’s arts district, where students can exhibit their work, is extremely beneficial to anyone at U who wishes to pursue an artistic career, said Milly Cardoso, director and curator of Wynwood Gallery. In previous art weeks, two students were pictured in a private gallery after an art dealer walked in and noticed their work. This year, a student sold a work exhibited in the gallery.

“We have visitors from all over the country and the world, and a lot of them are visiting the Arts District. So it’s exposure to a whole different audience for our students, ”she said. “The last week has been really great, and it’s amazing for our students to have this space in Wynwood because it’s an opportunity for them to connect with gallery owners from New York, Los Angeles and beyond.”

So what were the highlights of Art Week?

Deupi, Timpano and Cardoso all enjoyed the smaller Design Miami / exhibition, carefully curated and within walking distance of the larger Art Basel event. They said the sculpture of an electrified Lexus by assistant professor of architecture Germane Barnes was a treat to see in person, and Deupi also enjoyed a sculpture of a sink that was a collaboration between Miami-born artist Daniel Arsham. and Kohler, the plumbing company.

ON / by Germane Barnes and the University of Miami, presented by Lexus for Design Miami 2021. Photo by Steve Benisty
ON / by Germane Barnes and the University of Miami, presented by Lexus for Design Miami 2021. Photo by Steve Benisty

Additionally, Timpano and Deupi agreed that the greater diversity of stands and gallery owners at Art Basel this year was refreshing. This broader perspective was also reflected in the art, which featured works dealing with gender identity, as well as race, class, and origin. There was even work by two Native American artists that Deupi was happy to see included.Kay WalkingStick, a Cherokee painter, and Jeffrey Gibson, a painter, textile artist and sculptor descended from the Choctaw and Cherokee tribes.

“These artists who have been left in the shadows for so long are now receiving the praise they deserve in a more focused way than before the pandemic or the murder of George Floyd,” said Deupi.

Timpano added that there was a minor emphasis on the black body dusted throughout the five exhibits he visited last week.

“We find that the Black Lives Matter movement is still finding a voice in the contemporary art scene,” said Timpano. “There was also a particular emphasis on what it means to be a non-white artist… And in Miami that can also mean the body of the Black Caribbean. So this particular dialogue and discourse was interesting to discover in this year’s shows.

Deupi pointed out that there is a lot of figurative art, which often showcases the human body.

“I think there was a link between the pandemic blockages and the painting of the human figureeither alone or interacting with others, as opposed to abstract art, ”she said.

Emphasis has also been placed on NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, a new type of cryptocurrency used to purchase digital artwork. According to Deupi, the Lowe plans to acquire digital art, which was exhibited in many Art Basel stands.

“These people who know technology well and understand the future of this technology have been drawn to the novelty that surrounds electronic media, art, commerce and commerce,” added Timpano.

No matter how the Miami art world grows, art experts believe the future is bright for the Miami art industry.

“Miami has always been incredibly diverse, but internationally we are now taken more seriously. So the idea of ​​someone building a collection here, rather than flying to New York, is much more easily accepted, ”Deupi said.

Timpano agreed. “A lot of cynical people will say Miami Art Week only lasts seven days and then Miami is forgotten, and I don’t think it is,” he said. “On the contrary, Art Week is an opportunity for local artists to showcase their work and attract more work after the other 51 weeks of the year.”


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