In the bright Miami light, we start our mornings wearing sunglasses and practicing our Spanish and Creole with the strongest cafe con leche possible to recover from the night before. Miami is the best place to see the diversity of Latin American art because of its proximity to the region. Many of the great private collections in Miami focus on art outside the hegemonic cannon. It is not only the rich visual arts but also the culture and food of the region that we immerse ourselves in.
Between exhibitions, we grab a great cubano sandwich or an empanada to energize us. You can find the best places for Caribbean treats in LOST iN, a printed city guide curated by local tastemakers. They have just launched LOST iN Miami. We promise their insight covers nearly everything we don’t. Their mobile app looks as great as ours – and both complement each other. We cover the art, they cover the eating, drinking, and dancing. To kick off our collaboration they’re offering a whole year’s subscription to every city on their mobile app for a special discount, and you'll even get a printed city guide of your choice for free.
Together we bring our content to your smartphone and point you on the digital map to what real-world experiences are worthwhile. (Unlike Vegas, much of what happens in Miami ends up somewhere else.)
We begin with private collections, museums, commercial galleries and end with free public art. It is not possible to group them geographically, so in order to see everything, it is essential to plan a route. Our app Exhibitionary features all these shows on a map and allows you to set favorites and go.
"New Shamans/Novos Xamãs: Brazilian Artists" at the Rubell Family Collection
The first thing art-worlders says when you say Miami is “ABMB,” but the very second thing they say is “What are the Rubell’s showing?” They are among the most powerful collectors in the Americas (and the world). In addition, they are a true collecting family of “Don,” Mera, Jason, and Jennifer, all collect (brother of Don, Steve Rubell was the co-founder of Studio 54). They are one of the reasons Art Basel chose Miami. The RFC is housed in a former DEA warehouse (the irony is not lost on a drug-loving art world) – they only show artworks they own. The exhibition “High Anxiety: New Acquisitions” – including Hito Steyerl, Simon Denny, Josh Kline, Lizzy Fitch, Jordan Wolfson – is a Who's Who of the current moment (dare we say post-internet). At the same time, they are showing “New Shamans/Novos Xamãs: Brazilian Artists,” including Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Erika Verzutti, and Thiago Martins de Melo all biennial darlings. Interesting to note that seven out of the twelve artists are represented by skyrocketing Brazilian gallery Mendes Wood DM, who just opened an outpost in New York, and soon in Brussels.
Rubell Family Collection, 95 NW 29th Street
"Progressive Praxis" at the de la Cruz Collection
The influential de la Cruz collection which is mostly the genius of Rosa de la Cruz supported by her husband Carlos aims to be an encyclopedic collection of 21st Century art. It has an equally equal focus on European (especially German) art, Asia, and the Americas. Born and raised in Cuba, they also have one of the most extensive collections of Cuban-American artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres whom in our humble opinion is a super-nova and stands alone in his profundity. The current exhibition "Progressive Praxis" includes giants like FGT, Alex Katz, Martin Kippenberger, Isa Genzken, as well as relative emerging JPW3, Alex Israel, Michael Linares – and it’s all museum quality work. We really love the Argentinian LA-based Analia Saban.
De la Cruz Collection, 23 NE 41st Street
Thomas Bayrle at the ICA, Institute of Contemporary Art
The big exhibition during ABMB is the Thomas Bayrle survey “One Day on Success Street,” at the ICA. It is the first American museum retrospective of the German artist, about time for someone of his stature. It covers half a century of work in all mediums (again the post-medium condition) painting, sculpture, video, collage, and installation. We can’t wait to see Wire Madonna, a site-specific installation for the museum atrium. And we admire curator Alex Gartenfeld, who is one of Miami’s treasures. It is also the final presentation in the historic Moore Building.
ICA – Institute of Contemporary Art Miami, 4040 NE 2nd Avenue
Hernan Bas at Fredric Snitzer Gallery
This is Miami’s stalwart gallery, a staple of Art Basel, Fredric Snitzer himself is a special advisor to the fair. The gallery hosts top caliber exhibitions, including the upcoming “Tropical Depression,” survey of Miami-based, forever young painter Hernan Bas. He came to fame both while being represented by unforgettable innovative late New York gallerist Daniel Reich. Bas had a retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum in 2009 while he was only 31. Bas is first and foremost a true painter his delicate works experiment with gold leaf, acrylic, air-brush, house-paint and explores themes of gay sexuality and gender in unexpected ways. This is not-to-be-missed along with his book signing.
Fredric Snitzer Gallery, 1540 NE Miami Court
Awol Erizku at Nina Johnson
Just last year the exciting Gallery Diet moved from Wynwood to a larger space in Little Haiti (marking a shift in Miami) and renamed to Nina Johnson after the gallerist. Opening with some impressive shows, Nicholas Lobo and the great 93-year old Jonas Mekas. The current show is of Ethiopian-born Awol Erizku. He infinitely escapes labels; he is post-label even the label post-black. Culture Magazines recently named him one of 30 artists under 35 to watch in 2017. He was trained as a photographer than transformed into a sculptor and now presents paintings.
Nina Johnson, 6315 NW 2nd Avenue
Ugo Rondinone at the Bass Museum of Art
The Bass itself is still closed until Spring 2017, but lucky for us, they are still collecting. They acquired a new outdoor sculpture by Ugo Rondinone, the all too selfie-friendly Miami Mountain that will be unveiled during ABMB. It is part of his ongoing series of “mountains” which usually include several pillars but this time it is only a single monolith consisting of five stacked boulders standing 42 feet high. Each bolder is painted in signature high contrast Day-Glo colors, as Barnett Newman would say "Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue," in Rondinone’s world he adds a lyrically vibrant-gay pink bolder.
Bass Museum of Art, 2100 Collins Avenue
Naama Tsabar presented by Spinello Projects at ABMB Public Sector
The ABMB Public sector is curated by Nicholas Baume (Public Art Fund) and is titled after David Bowie “Ground Control” (an exploration of space) and includes – among other – work performances as sculpture and fittingly relating to music. Naama Tsabar presents a sculptural-live field formed by three bands of musicians, each atop their amplifiers, performing separate musical pieces together called Composition 18.
The public sector also includes Alicja Kwade’s bent bicycles (König Galerie), Tony Tasset’s hilarious arrows for tops and bottoms (Kavi Gupta), and performances by Lady Bunny and Rob Pruitt.
ABMB Public Sector, Collins Park between 21st and 22nd Streets
Of course, another form of public performance art in Miami will happen drunkenly at the parties, a product of octogenarian artists and collectors dancing to 20-something DJ’s. Yet still one party we won’t miss is in honor of 88-year-old Argentinian artist Julio Le Parc (an influential member of the European 60’s Neo-Avant-Garde). This is the first U.S. museum survey taking place at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. The annual one-night-only celebration in the stunning outdoor theatre, this year with musician and producer Cashmere Cat, we admit we are too old to know of him. None-the-less we will see you there partying late into the night.
– Justin Polera