Elsewhere / Places

Last Art Memo from Miami in 2012 & 5 Minutes with Christina Steinbrecher


Looking out of my studio window facing a grayish East river and the skyline of New York, with the evolving Freedom Tower, which by now reaches over 105 stories, making it the tallest building in Manhattan, Miami Beach seems to be far away and long ago …

The pleasant breeze at Jeffrey Deitch and LA MOCA’s Beach Party at The Raleigh on Wednesday, the neon-colored lights at night driving down Collins avenue, the rolling Atlantic you could not only smell but hear when visiting “UNTITLED”, one of the dozen new satellites fairs this year, and those hundreds of gallery booths I must have seen.
But it’s been only over two weeks since I left tropical South Beach and the herds of thousands of art lovers, ArtJetSets and countless Celeb’s who were taking over the city for the 11th year in early December.

I was excited to meet busy Christina Steinbrecher (art director VIENNAFAIR) at Design Miami (since 2008 the innovative sister fair of Art Basel Miami Beach). We later sat down at the Botanical Garden, a hidden treasure in South beach and a great spot to catch a nearby break and to talk about art fairs.

NY-based collaborative practice Snarkitecture took tent manipulation to new heights. Arsham created Design Miami’s pavilion called “Drift.” A floating environment comprised of massive inflatable tubes, resembling a topographical landscape in suspension: an ascending mountain above and an excavated cavern below.
Craig Robins, developer of the Miami Design District and founder and co-owner of Design Miami
(who now owns 60 percent of the Design District) is widely considered to be the person, along with Mera and Don Rubell who are long time collectors and Art Basel regulars since the 70s who brought Art Basel to Miami Beach in Winter of 2002. It was the city’s infrastructure, the revitalized hotels, the once run down Wynwood district which is now the Wynwood Art district known for its Wynwood Walls, and of course the perfect climate in December to get out of the cold transforming Miami into a work and play vacation environment.
I was looking forward to the Rubell’s annual breakfast at their 45,000-square-foot Wynwood home/museum, but was disappointed to learn that for the first time in 11 years, Jennifer Rubell was not hosting her breakfast/art installation at the Rubell Family Collection. Her studio in Greenpoint (near Brooklyn) was flooded by superstorm Sandy and some of the elements of her project were destroyed. On view at Family Collection was french artist Bernar Venet who has been invited by Bugatti, the legendary supercar maker, to create an artwork that combines the artist’s vision with Bugatti’s celebrated Grand Sport.

The neighbourhood is now on the verge of blowing up as a global cultural and entertainment centre with serious high-end shopping – Christian Louboutin, Yohji Yamamoto, Marc Jacobs and Fendi are already present. Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Cartier and Dior Homme are on their way, as Craig Robins expects to bring in forty to fifty retailers by 2014.

The impact of the fairs on cultural life in Miami has been enormous the past years. Its influence doesn’t stop with art—look at the architecture. Major architects now have important projects in Miami Beach: Frank Gehry’s New World Center, Herzog & de Meuron’s 1111 Lincoln Road garage, and soon Zaha Hadid’s parking garage for the Collins Park neighborhood. Architecture, in particular, has been on the upswing in the city, with the likes of the COR building by Oppenheim Architecture + Design (the first sustainable mixed-use condominium in the city) turning heads.

Back in South Beach, I was curious to hear the Salon Talk Art Market Talk | The Age of Empires with Pace’s Marc Glimcher Pace Gallery, New York/London/Beijing and Josh Baer, Publisher, Baer Faxt, art advisor, New York.

Listen to Marc Glimcher on the art market and the african savannah.

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I earlier enjoyed the Art Brunch at the Sagamore Hotel called ” the Art Hotel” in my beloved Art Deco District, which was hosted by the hotels owners Marc and Cricket Taplin and was now waiting for my cab taking me to the airport. I was overhearing Yolanda’s voice “another day in paradise for the rich and famous”. Yol how she wants to be called by her friends, is an 80 and something old, Cuban born, long-time resident of the Palms Tropic Hotel across the street. As always she was carrying her Victoria Secret Shopping Bag like she did the years before. Being curious if it was the same, she admitted well, she had 20 of those.

Wishing her well, I was truly hoping to see her the first week of December 2013, when all the buzz is “Are u Art Baseling” this year.

There is a lot you’ll only see and hear in Miami, fathoming this quote from Benjamin Franklin: “believe none of what you hear, and half of what you see”

My best wishes for a happy and “artful” 2013!

Petra Zechmeister
New York


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