After 15 years of calling the Big Apple my home I recently relocated to South Beach and can proudly call myself an almost 2-month old Miamian. While I am still a New Yorker at heart, and will probably forever be, I am thrilled about my new home and excited to share my encounters with those who stay behind when the rest of the art world leaves the Sunshine State after the ABMB week.
I’ve been coming to Miami on a regular basis since 1998: I have had the pleasure of experiencing the first few years of Art Basel Miami Beach when it was still humanly manageable (and worthwhile) to actually see, and assimilate, all of the art fairs and satellite events held over the five days and attend the parties hosted by the local movers and shakers without holding a triple platinum VIP card…ah! The good old days!! However, as most of those who flood the Miami shores the first week of December, I always left town as soon as the fairs were over.
This year, on the contrary, I am a local, having moved here in late November, and stayed behind while most of my peers went back to their respective cities.
Through a dear friend currently based in Tel Aviv I had the great blessing of being introduced to a wonderful local curator, Tami Katz-Freiman, who has been living in Miami on and off for the past 20+ years. Tami knows everybody and made it a point to make me feel welcome and at home by introducing me to as many people as she could within the first few days of my arrival. One thing I soon realized is that art professionals and art lovers here are extremely generous with their time and willingness to facilitate connections with their friends and colleagues.
My first priority was to get to know the local community of artists and one of the key people who helped me with this endeavor has been Kathryn Miskell. Kathryn and her husband Dan have been a major support and tireless promoters of local artists for years. They are the driving force behind the Fountainhead Residency which, since 2008, hosts three artists at any given time for a period of up to two months in a beautiful live/work space in Morningside across the street from their amazing art-filled home. When I visited in mid-December the artists in residence were Rowan Smith, from South Africa, based in LA; Naama Tsabar, originally from Israel but currently based in NYC, and Lavar Munroe, from the Bahamas, now studying in St. Louis (MO).
Just a couple of blocks away from the residency, the Fountainhead Haus, active since 2012, provides unique working and collaborative space to five Miami-based artists. There, I had the pleasure to meet with Cristina Lei Rodriguez, whose work I had admired last year at her solo show at Team Gallery in SoHo; Typoe, whose sculptures made with melted plastic spray-can caps I had seen, and loved, at Spinello Projects ; and Argentinean, but long-time Miami resident, Agustina Woodgate, who made her debut with her long-time dealer Spinello Project at ABMB Art Positions this year.
I can’t begin to express how excited I was at the end of the very full day of studio visits having witnessed first hand the level of variety and sophistication of the works of the artists I had the pleasure of meeting.
I am looking forward to share more about my Miami experiences in my next blog…stay tuned!