A Focus on Art
Hotel or art gallery? The Four Seasons Hotel Miami actually is both.
A reflection of Miami’s vibrant art scene, the property, located on the top floors of Miami’s tallest tower, is a veritable feast for those who appreciate both fine accommodations and a focus on art. The first indication of the hotel’s well-curated collection is a pair of monumental Fernando Botero sculptures, Adam and Eve, encountered at the ground floor en route to the seventh-floor lobby. The experience continues from there, with another Botero, Seated Woman (right), and various works by Hernan Bas, José Bedia, Daniel Arsham, Vik Muniz and several other artists both established and emerging.
Miami-based artists are well represented here. That was by design: Millennium Partners, the hotel’s developer, wanted to shift the spotlight onto living artists contributing to the cultural fabric of the community and give them an alternative forum for showcasing their work.
You can’t walk anywhere on this property without encountering art in one form or another. That’s the beauty of staying here. Sure, the rooms are modern and gorgeous, the scene is lively and the new incarnation of Edge Steak and Bar (the signature restaurant) alone is worth the price of admission, but when you combine these with the visual feast of the art collection, the entire experience is elevated.
Art enthusiasts will go anywhere if it means connecting with a promising new talent or discovering the next piece to augment their collections.
Sometimes, “anywhere” is a raw, gritty place where art can incubate away from the constraints of commercialism. In Miami, that place is Wynwood. To put it politely, the neighborhood isn’t the most glamorous. There are empty warehouses, littered lots and interesting characters. But the art is for real, and, for the collector, that is what matters. Visit during Wynwood’s Art Walk (second Saturday of every month), when its 60-plus galleries are open to visitors (otherwise, you need an appointment) and the art is cleverly showcased.
Start with the collections, particularly Rubell Family and Margulies. The Rubell Family Collection (rfc.museum) is one of the largest contemporary art collections in the world, with notable works by Jeff Koons, Kathryn Andrews and Andy Warhol. The Margulies Collection (margulieswarehouse.com) is housed in a 45,000-square-foot warehouse and includes photography, video, sculpture and installations. A must is Wynwood Walls (thewynwoodwalls.com)
Photo credit Martha Cooper
The galleries are many and varied. Among the most compelling: The Lunch Box, mainly showcasing the work of emerging artists (thelunchboxgallery.com); Bernice Steinbaum, specializing in female artists and artists of color (bernicesteinbaumgallery.com); Pan American Art Projects, representing emerging and established artists from both North and South America (panamericanart.com); and Locust Projects, a nonprofit space where artists can create, develop ideas and exhibit without the pressure of traditional sales (locustprojects.org).
Design of the Times
On the second Saturday of every month, the Miami Design District hosts its Art & Design Nights and gallery walks. It’s no coincidence that this corresponds with Wynwood Art Walk, because Wynwood is the adjacent district and the two share a similar mission: promoting the local arts scene. Call it strength in numbers.
For collectors, this event is a must, not only for the exposure to rising talent and intriguing new work but also for the social value. It’s always good to network with other art enthusiasts and collectors as well as meet the artists. Some of the galleries to watch: Avant, Etra Fine Art, Markowicz Fine Art and Ricart.
All Hail the Arsht
Florida’s largest performing arts venue, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is one of the country’s premier cultural destinations. It is the home of Miami City Ballet and Florida Grand Opera—and, to a lesser extent, New World Symphony, though NWS now performs mainly in its own venue—and offers performances in three outstanding halls: Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House, John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall and Carnival Studio Theater.
From provocative theater to major operatic productions, this is the place to go. Not only is the design spectacular (thank you, Cesar Pelli), it also attracts world-class performances and some things you won’t see elsewhere. Case in point: Ayikodans, a Haitian dance company that was on the brink of collapse when it caught the attention of the Center’s leaders. The Arsht commissioned a piece that will premiere May 25.
On the popular side, Miami’s Broadway series performs here. Next season’s shows include Les Misérables and Memphis. And, significantly, the Arsht also is the Miami residence of the Cleveland Orchestra, an excellent, established group of musicians with a loyal following.
Strokes of Brilliance
Forget la vida loca. For Miami’s culturally voracious, it’s all about la vida MOCA. Though it’s not located in the thick of the action (it’s closer to Bal Harbour than downtown), the Museum of Contemporary Art is on the cutting edge of the contemporary art scene. That’s because of the sharp eye of its curators, who are known for discovering amazing new talent as well as identifying important work by established artists. Well worth the hike to 125th Street.
A Whole New World
Under the artistic direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, the New World Symphony has been quietly educating and developing some of the world’s leading musicians for 25 years. But when the orchestral academy moved to its new, Frank Gehry-designed campus, it really got the world’s attention.
The new facility is the perfect home for this talented group of fellows. The space is beautiful, of course, but more importantly, the acoustics are pitch-perfect, which is imperative to both the playing and listening experience.
From the public’s standpoint, the venue has become more of a destination for taking in concerts like the ultra-dramatic Bluebeard’s Castle or Stravinsky’s 1910 masterpiece, The Firebird. And how’s this for democratic? The Wallcast concerts bring music to the people. For a number of performances, anyone can spread out a blanket on the center’s lawn and enjoy the show projected onto a massive wall—no ticket needed.