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Norman Braman, the auto dealership magnate, has just uttered the words every contractor dreams of hearing: “Whatever the cost is, we will be building it, period.”

Sitting with his wife, Irma, on the patio of their Indian Creek Island home, off Miami Beach, he has been outlining their plans to single-handedly fund the design and construction of South Florida’s newest major museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. It could be a cultural game changer in a city crowded with four significant private museums, two more on the way and three public ones all focused on contemporary art.

Published in News
Friday, 02 May 2014 12:46

PULSE Art Fair Moves to Miami Beach

The Miami art fair PULSE just kicked a little sand in the face of its rivals.

The contemporary art fair plans to relocate from downtown Miami to a spot along the beach this winter—a move to lure more visitors and stand out from the crowd of more than a dozen art fairs that hit the city every December. Fair director Helen Toomer unveiled the new location in an interview Thursday.

Published in News
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 10:30

Chairman of the NEA Announces That He Will Step Down

The National Endowment for the Arts announced today that its current chair, Rocco Landesman, will step down after three years in the position. Landesman, who recently turned 65, plans to retire to Miami Beach at the end of year.

Landesman was a top Broadway producer when Barack Obama nominated him to head the NEA in May 2009. A Tony Award winner, Landesman is best known for producing Mel Brooks’ “The Producers” as well as for his revivals of “Guys and Dolls,” “Sweeney Todd,” and “Death of a Salesman.”

The NEA, a federal agency that supports and funds the arts, has appointed the current Senior Deputy Chairman, Joan Shigekawa, as the interim chairman for the new year while the NEA looks for a permanent successor.

Landesman said in a statement released by the NEA, “My intention has always been to serve one time, and we have been able to accomplish more than I had ever thought possible…we have continued to support and strength the entire spectrum of arts in this country, and we have been able to expand the national conversation through convenings, traditional media, and new technology.”

Published in News
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 03:48

Occupy Art Basel Miami Beach, Now!

I’m not going to Art Basel Miami Beach this year. I’m through with it, basta. It’s become a bit embarrassing, in fact, because why should I be seen rubbing elbows with all those phonies and scenesters, people who don’t even pretend they are remotely interested in art?

And so, here it is, in print, just so no one has to ask me again. Here are all the things I’m absolutely not going to: Tuesday it’s a lunch with Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezomolo (nice name!), then there are cocktails for artist Teresita Fernandez (I like her, she’s pretty, she’s Cuban and she won a MacArthur fellowship), then there’s my friend Lapo Elkann’s Ferrari party, which I’ll have to leave to make the dinner Delphine Arnault is having (she’s the daughter of the owner of LVMH, no less) for Berlin-based artist Anselm Reyle. He’s just designed a line of bags for Christian Dior, he’s very handsome and smooth, his work is rather out of favor now but I think he’s on his way back (though it may take a while). Then I’ll probably have late-night drinks at Maria Baibakova’s, because she’s young and cool, she’s Russian and she has a great apartment in Miami, and, oops, I forgot my promise to show up at the Rubell Collection opening party sponsored by US Trust.

On Wednesday there’s a W magazine party for hot Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes, then there’s the Galerie Eva Presenhuber dinner (she has good artists, as always) and there’s also a dinner at some wonderful Mexican collector’s house where I go because I love authentic Mexican food. Somewhere there will be a raging White Cube party, and Emmanuel Perrotin will once again bring over Paris’s Le Baron nightclub, where, late into the night, dealers will come hunting for a one-night stand. On Thursday, if I’m still pumping, there’s a dinner for Berlin gallery Contemporary Fine Arts (those Berliners know how to party), and then there’s Simon de Pury’s Phillips Auction House party (it’s crazy and they have fun Russian partners), then there’s Aby Rosen’s mega-dinner party at his W hotel, followed by a debauched party in the hotel nightclub hosted by party boys Stavros Niarchos (very internationally cool), Alex Dellal (major London hipster) and Vito Schnabel (a fast talker who represents some promising youngish artists).

What’s the fun of being invited to so many things? What ever happened to the days when the best parties were the ones I had to crash? You want to know what happens over the weekend? Well, I can’t be bothered with Friday or Saturday, because if I did I’d end up in rehab.

How many celebrities will I meet? How many mega-collectors will I greet? How many curators will I schmooze and how many artists will I chat up? None, because I’m not going.

As difficult as this is to imagine in today’s climate, I used to go to art fairs to buy art. Remember when we’d go to Frieze in London or Art Basel Miami Beach to find great works by artists we were collecting, or to discover new ones? Art fairs in their first few years were the gallery world’s great equalizing playing fields, where dealers from all over the world could show up and catch your eye with something powerful, something exotic or something undervalued.

Published in News
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