December 5th, 2011
The New York Times
Design Miami | Art Is Still in Fashion and Vice Versa
by Marina Cashdan
"I'm from that generation of artists who tries to think very hard about new sets of relationships between people and spaces and how people work with artwork," said the artist Liam Gillick, who was one of several artists in Miami's Design District this year exploring a relationship with a big fashion brand. Cross-disciplinary collaborations, often accompanied by pop-up stores, are the name of the game during Art Basel Miami Beach, with often brilliant and on occasion, less-than-brilliant results. This year's brilliant moments included Gillick and Pringle of Scotland; Beatriz Milhazes and Cartier; and Anselm Reyle and Dior.
"I didn't really want to do an ironic, one-off deconstructed sweater," said Gillick of his collaboration with Pringle, the Scottish cashmere brand. "I'd rather do something that has more complicated implications." The result, called Liamgillickforpringleofscotland, is a capsule collection of cashmere sweaters and leather accessories incorporating Gillick's signature modernist color-block designs and retro color palette. "I try to think of how to extend a collaborative mentality and how to deal with things that work in parallel in the art context," said the artist, who even conceived how the collection would be displayed. Gillick continued his exploration of "how things acquire meaning and value" at the Casey Kaplan pop-up gallery (conveniently located above the Pringle store), where 200 pounds of red glitter a re-creation of the artist's 2004-05 work "The hopes and dreams of the workers as they wandered home from the bar" covered the floor, crunching under visitors' feet.
Around the corner, at the Fondation Cartier's pink-frond temporary space, "Aquarium," a massive mobile by the artist Beatriz Milhazes dangled from the ceiling of the dimly lit room. Comprising 14,980.82 carats worth of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, quartz, beryl, turquoise, coral, feldspath, tourmalines, opals, topaz and peridot, the larger-than-life piece of jewelry was reminiscent of Milhazes's kaleidoscopic paintings and sculptures and evoked both her art-historical influence (namely in geometric abstraction) and Brazilian background.
Meanwhile, over at Dior's pop-up shop, the German artist Anselm Reyle took the brand's DNA and ran with it, "Blade Runner" style, to create a postmodern wonderland befitting the collection of accessories on which he collaborated. Reyle reimagined the classic Miss Dior bag with neon stitching and dangling charms made of colored plexiglass, one of his signature materials. Two walls of video screens showed Reyle creating one of lush impasto works the artist makes sweeping gestures in the purple paint using a large spatula and scraper as well as a neon relief, both present in the store, along with a foosball table and, for those who can afford neither a Reyle original nor a Reyle Dior bag, a "nail bar" featuring Dior nail polish in Reyle's vibrant color palette.
October 5th, 2011
The New York Times
For Miami, Dior Goes Arty
by Suzy Menkes
The bags were in high-octane colors the camouflage nature tones replaced by a digitalized landscape of purple, red, green and gray. Only a familiar lattice or "cannage" pattern, set at a rakish angle, suggested that these colorful products belonged to Dior .
The accessories collection by the Berlin artist Anselm Reyle, who said he had never before done a fashion collaboration, will go on sale in a pop-up Dior store at the Art Basel show in Miami in early December.
The modernistic bags, bracelets and key rings dangling with geometric plastic not to mention nail polish inspired by the artist's work are a departure for Dior, orchestrated by Delphine Arnault, deputy general manager for the brand.
"Mr. Dior in his time was fascinated by artists like Renι Gruau and Christian Berard," Ms. Arnault said. "Art is part of the DNA of Dior." Suzy Menkes
Greek at her 'Kore'
Joining a widening band of designers who think that looking after the planet should be a fashion consideration, the Greek-born designer Sophia Kokosalaki introduced a new line called Kore , in collaboration with the online retailer Asos.com.
Lacy handwork, made in Sri Lanka using an age-old technique, formed the basis of the new line, which sells at one-third to half the cost of the designer's main line. Ms. Kokosalaki also has designed a collection of wedding dresses that will go on sale at Net-a-Porter.com.
After two seasons off the runway, following the rupture of her collaboration with the Diesel group, Ms. Kokosalaki came back to Paris with a collection that had less of the Greek twisting and shaping of her early designs, but still a sense of that country in the liquid draping. Like all forward-looking designers, she also played with new fabrics, keeping the signature she has already established but giving it a modern push. S.M.
Vuitton's puppet master
The lobster, its claws wrapped round its carapace as it nestled behind domed glass, looked almost as lifelike as its companions: stuffed foxes, cats and leopards frozen in time at Deyrolle, the famous Paris taxidermist.
But the creatures the frog with its open mouth, the fluffy little bird, the furry squirrel and the cute kitten turned out to be interlopers, pieces made by taking small leather goods from Louis Vuitton and twisting and turning them so that they appear to be part of this animal kingdom.
The British puppet maker Billie Achilleos was the creative force behind the tiny treasures, designed to celebrate 100 years of Vuitton's inventiveness in leather. S.M.
Uniqueness on sale now
On screen, the designer Alessandra Facchinetti could be seen putting the finishing touches to her mini show. There is nothing new about this idea of allowing the front of house backstage. But the idea of presenting clothes during the fashion season that go on sale instantly is a product of the Internet age.
Uniqueness 1.01 is the new label for Ms. Facchinetti, who previously designed for Valentino, following a stint at Gucci. She showed a streamlined wardrobe, adding military details to separates and giving a girly touch to a trench coat by making it in sugar pink. Part of the Italian Pinko group and with prices from about 500, or about $665, the clothes are on offer now at www.uniqueness.it. S.M.
Karl Lagerfeld rocks
Karl Lagerfeld as a 21st-century rocker? Maybe the designer wants to keep in touch with his wilder side, for the collection he did in collaboration with Hogan was filled with zippered leather jackets and patent leather bags with a bubble effect on the surface. A techno nylon trench coat was an example of strength without weight.
In its third season, the link with the Italian house allows the couture designer to nurture his graphic and edgy side, using plasticized and stretch materials and bringing high tech to leather. The shoes were mostly sporty variations on sneakers, sleek in black and white python or two-toned leather. But the collection also included ballerina flats with floral -patterned perforations that reflect current casual style. S.M.
Knitwear for all seasons
"Jane Birkin going off to Ibiza for the summer," said Claudia Schiffer to describe the summer spirit of her cashmere collection. But the hippie-du-luxe vibe was not just for casual clothes, like a maxi crochet dress with color block stripes. The summer journey also took the former model to Paris and London, to create appropriate wardrobes with the German knitwear expert Iris Von Arnim.
With a web as her signature, Ms. Schiffer also produced an intarsia knit with spidery mesh a contrast to simple sportswear like a denim check dress.
Her aim is to make this knitwear line appropriate for more than cold weather, by mixing cashmere and cotton or silk and linen to make an easy boyfriend sweater dress alongside a Paris-worthy little black dress. S.M.
December 2nd, 2008
The New York Times
Design Miami | Catching Up With Murray Moss
by Pilar Viladas
As the annual cultural circus pitches its tents again in Miami, we caught up with the retail impresario Murray Moss to talk about the state of the design industry.
First, the fun question: How's business?
Moss: I think of us as having multiple businesses. The market for gifts, accessories, jewelry, watches - it's definitely down, although I'm hoping that this is just the lull before the holiday storm - which is starting later this year. Weirdly, for our registry and tabletop, we're on target. And people who are building houses or renovating apartments come in and buy things like big bathtubs, or Swarovski's Blossom chandelier. Art [limited-edition design art] right now is dead. And when we went to Basel in June [the Design Miami Basel show], we did better than we've ever done.
That leads us to Design Miami, where you and your partner, Franklin Getchell, will exhibit work by Studio Job and the Campanas. Given the state of both the economy and the art market, what do you think the mood in Miami will be?
Moss: I don't know. But I do know that there is an audience who needs to follow the through line of art. These are not the new people who buy only for investment - the people who ask, can I flip this in six months? The real, serious collectors - people who go because they have to - will be there, no matter what. And a masterpiece of design is still a bargain relative to one of painting and sculpture. What would be smart to offer right now is the best of the best. When times are tight, only the good things move.
Well, you're certainly going down there with guns blazing: you're showing an exuberant new collection of limited-edition furniture by Studio Job called "Bavaria."
Moss: Yes, it's all marquetry - laser-cut inlaid wood. The pieces are Indian rosewood, and the inlay is made from seven different woods, with different grains, and they are colored with 17 different dyes. It looks like iconic "humble" farm furniture, but as Marie Antoinette might do it. Although Nynke and Job [Nynke Tynagel and Job Smeets, Studio Job's partners] began work on the collection last year, the subject matter - the peaceable kingdom - is prescient. With birds, trees, and farm implements, among other things, it's Eden before the fall. I think it will be better received now than it would have been before the economic crash. With its fairy-tale, cartoon approach - implying that with hard work, nature will provide us with a bounty - it depicts a world that cannot sustain itself.
Ambra Medda, the director of Design Miami, has said that next year, the event will include dealers in 18th century decorative arts. As the man who almost singlehandedly introduced Nymphenburg figurines to a new generation of consumers, are you happy about this?
Moss: I am and I'm not. As Murray, without any concerns for the business, I'm thrilled that contemporary design is going to be placed in a broader context. I mean I'm the guy who does that! And in any case, those are false barriers. Let's cross the barriers of time and place. Sottsass did.
On the other hand, I feel that contemporary limited-edition or studio design needs to become stronger. It needs to put down roots, and they need to grow a little bit deeper. It's interesting that some contemporary art dealers, like Matthew Marks, are showing design, and I'd love to show contemporary design with painting and sculpture. But I'd like to see more dealers in contemporary design [at the fair]. I want a richer conversation before it starts to be dissipated by the antique. But then, who wouldn't want to play off an 18th century cupboard?
Back to an actual fun question. What do you do for fun in Miami? Where do you go to eat and drink? What do you do to unplug from design madness?
Moss: I never unplug while I'm there - it's bad for business, because you're there for too few days. But there are great places in Miami. We take our staff to dinner at The Forge. It's like Tavern on the Green moved to Miami Beach. There are paintings of naked women, tassels - it's total Warner Le Roy, circa 1971. And they have the biggest butterflied filet mignon - so old-school. I always love to go to the Raleigh for a drink, because of the incredible crowd. And I love the Setai for the same reason. But what I really love is the early mornings. There's nothing like sitting by the pool at our hotel, drinking good coffee, and reading the papers.
November 27th, 2005
The New York Times
Parties, Boldface Names and, Yes, Some Art
by Julia Chaplin
The most sought after invitation at Art Basel Miami Beach, the four-day annual art fair spinoff from Basel, Switzerland, that began in Miami Beach in 2002, has always been the lavish garden party at the Key Biscayne estate of Rosa de la Cruz, the Cuban-born art collector, and her husband, Carlos, chairman of Eagle Brands. Held the Tuesday night before the fair opens, it's where prominent art world figures have sipped champagne overlooking the ocean and viewed the couple's museum-quality contemporary art collection. But last December, after more then 2,000 people showed up to a dinner for 700 people, a few so unruly that they had to be escorted out by security people, Ms. de la Cruz, pulled the plug on her celebration.
"Friends said, just make people wear wristbands this time," said Ms. de la Cruz?. "But I would be embarrassed to do that at a private house. I guess the fair has outgrown my home."
Such are the growing pains of what has become the biggest contemporary art fair in the world and increasingly a "must stop" on international social calendars. Last year over 35,000 people attended the fair, according to Art Basel Miami Beach's director, Samuel Keller. This year, beginning on Dec. 1, thousands more, with their asymmetrical haircuts, platinum cards, and/or European accents, are expected to descend on Miami Beach's convention center where 195 galleries from Sao Paolo to Tel Aviv will be exhibiting. And that doesn't even include the ever-expanding sprawl that has cropped up around the show, with alternative art fairs, rogue openings and parties held in slickly designed hotel lobbies, boozy dive bars and warehouses in emerging arts districts across the bay in greater Miami.
But when too may people arrive at the party, especially when an increasing number have more interest in the open bar than in buying art, is that a good thing?
"Its starting to feel like Cannes film festival," said Jeffrey Deitch, the New York-based gallery owner whose party, the "it" event for the 10 p.m.-to-2 a.m. time slot on Wednesday night, will have the Citizens Band, a loose collective of 26 artists, performing cabaret-style around the oh-so-chic Raleigh Hotel pool. "But I think it's healthy for the art world because it creates a dynamic situation."
If anything, the fair's appeal reflects a general mainstreaming of contemporary art. Art Basel Miami Beach is a trend-spotter's paradise, where the latest ideas in art, fashion and music are on display in one electric setting.
Naturally, the corporate world wants in. Gift bags stuffed with T-shirts and schwag, corporate banners and logoed invitations are now staples at the dizzying number of after-parties and receptions as brands in-cluding DKNY, Bombay Sapphire and Gucci piggyback on the fair's reputation. And Fer-ragamo, will be host for a luncheon for area socialites on a yacht rented out for the fair by Esquire magazine.
"It's about spreading more of an underground vibe in terms of what our brand stands for," said James Gager, creative director for MAC cosmetics, comparing the Miami Beach affair to other events the company sponsors during the Oscars and Golden Globes. (MAC is sponsoring Mr. Deitch's party at the Raleigh.) Hotels have been booked up since early October, despite inflated room rates 40 percent above normal prices and four- and five-night minimum stays, according to Nicholas Christopher, president of Turon Travel, the official travel agent for the fair.
In mid-November, the Victor was charging $815 for rooms, while the Delano had a deluxe city-view room for $830. The Sagamore had sold out of $630 standard suites.
And R.S.V.P. lists for hot-ticket events such as Visionaire's "Taste" party for 500 lucky guests at the recently opened Setai Hotel, where rooms start at $900 a night, are full up. This may be why many important art collectors and V.I.P.'s jet in on Tuesday before the fair starts for private viewings and dinners and leave town the day the fair opens to the public.
"Obviously we'd prefer attracting big collectors or art students then just a group of people who don't know what to do on the weekends," said Mr. Keller. "But we see no reason why one can't party while being very serious about the quality of art."
But the much-hyped socializing, instead of diluting the fair's purpose, may have the side-effect bonus of contributing to the value of the contemporary art market. "Collectors want the scene to be fun and have a good time," said Mr. Deitch, who says he jogs every morning on the beach to maintain his stamina during the fair. "It's part of the reason why there is so much excitement around contemporary art right now. Last year at a party we co-hosted with Taschen for Terry Richardson, Benedikt ended up naked in the pool. The fair shouldn't feel like its work." Mr. Deitch was referring to Benedikt Taschen, the publisher of art books.
Exclusive private dinners at collectors' homes, like the one Craig Robbins is giving for Zaha Hadid, the Pritzker architecture prize winner, are not yet extinct, but are much harder to finagle. Mr. Robbins, a real estate developer, is starting a companion design fair at the same time as the art event, called design.05 that will show the work of architects and designers including Ms. Hadid, Ron Arad and Mattia Bonetti in galleries throughout the design district.
But this year, in the spirit of art's democratic nature, many events are designed to be more inclusive.
Collectors are now holding morning receptions, a safer way to let the public view their art, as most hard-core revelers will still be sleeping off their hangovers. But it will be worth setting alarms for the debut breakfast of the curated private collection of Ella Fontanals Cisneros, a Venezuelan philanthropist, in a 12,000-square-foot converted boxing gym in downtown Miami along with exhibited such artists as Marina Abramovic and Bill Viola.
The Delano Hotel is actually putting away the velvet rope for its Art Bar evening events featuring celebrity hosts including Lauren Hutton and Ms. Hadid. "Last year there was some frustration about not getting into parties because of tight guest lists so we just decided to let everyone in," said Mark Tamis, general manager of the Delano. "It's not like the summer where we need to pick and chose to get the right crowd."
Furthermore, the next young art star probably has better and more cutting-edge parties to attend. And the obsession with discovering this new talent has reached a frenzied pitch. At least four alternative fairs will showcase "emerging artists" this year. Scope Miami has 70 exhibitors set up in the guest rooms of the Townhouse hotel; Aqua Art Miami will have 35 at the Aqua Hotel; 60 galleries will try their luck at Pulse in a 30,000-square-foot space in the Wynwood district of Miami; and the New Art Dealers Alliance, a favorite among the hip cognoscenti when it made its debut at the Ice Palace Film Studios in downtown Miami last year, is a cooperative effort involving 83 galleries in 18 countries.
The art fair has kept pace by expanding its emerging artists section, called Art Nova, where 54 booths will sell works that have been made in the last two years. Most of them cost under $5,000.
"The problem is there is not enough young talent to meet the demand," said Dennis Scholl, a Miami-based collector whose recently renovated private collection space, World Class Boxing, will open during the fair with an exhibit by Julie Mehretu, a painter who won a MacArthur "genius award" in September. "But the thing is, you never know at which out-of-the-way exhibit one might turn up," Mr. Scholl said.
Which explains why chauffeur-driven BMW's will be prowling around the sun-bleached streets of Wynwood, an industrial area filled with wholesale outlets and factories across the bay from Miami Beach.
Miami's fast-track art scene is now firmly entrenched in Wynwood. Near the already established Rubell Family Collection and the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse are several new high-profile offerings that will debut during this year's fair. The Paris-based gallery owner Emmanuel Perrotin will open his complex, designed by Chad Op-penheim, the minimalist Miami architect, in a converted I950's Miami Modern concrete building, with a show of emerging artists, and the MOCA at Goldman Warehouse will unlock its iron gate a few blocks away with a virtual funhouse, called "Cloud City," by the Miami art duo Friends With You. One of Miami's most important dealers of young artists' work, Fredric Snitzer, recently relocated to the neighborhood and will have an opening by emerging art stars Luis Gispert and Jeffrey Reed. The vacant lot next door is being converted into a drive-in theater with old cars as seating for art videos projected on a concrete wall.
Still, the best place to spot new talent will likely be in plain view right on Collins Ave nue in South Beach. The French proprietors of Le Baron, the Paris nightclub of the moment, are taking over the divey karaoke bar in basement of the Shelborne hotel for five nights, the perfect place for the art world's hi-lo inhabitants to collide late into the strobe-lit night.
December 21st, 2003
The New York Times
A Century-Old City Still in the Process of Being Invented
by ABBY GOODNOUGH
Just past the shadows of a highway overpass, a curiosity rises from the sidewalk: two walls of a giant living room, papered in pink and open to the sky, with a beckoning couch and a window looking west, away from the beaches that have long been this region's wealth and pride.
The artists who created this unfinished room, in a neighborhood most visitors never glimpse, say the work is a metaphor for Miami, the so-called Magic City - just over 100 years old and still deciding what it wants to make of itself.
Miami, as ever, is yearning to be taken seriously. Not as a workaday annex of its hedonistic neighbor, Miami Beach, but as a cosmopolitan center in its own right.
Evidence of the city's ambitions is abundant these days. Along Biscayne Boulevard, whose 40's-era motels became ramshackle drug and prostitution dens after Interstate 95 drained it of tourist traffic, billboards trumpet planned luxury condominiums named Nirvana, Blue and Mist.
A Four Seasons just opened downtown, in a new building that Miami brags is the tallest in Florida. Two miles north, a $344 million performing arts center is going up, the largest built in this country since the Kennedy Center. Its vision statement proclaims that the center, designed by Cesar Pelli, "will transform Miami into the cultural capital of the Americas."
The city is also competing to be the headquarters of the Free Trade Area of the Americas - it bristled when one of it rivals, Atlanta, proclaimed itself the "Gateway to the Americas," a moniker Miami has long considered its own.
Pointing to the real-estate frenzy - not along the ocean, for once, but in the long-blighted downtown, which used to be as deserted as a suburban office park after 5 p.m. - some people say Miami is on the brink of attaining the status it has coveted for years.
"I can't think of any city that's had more development energy and ambition than Miami has at the moment," said Michael Hardy, president of the Performing Arts Center Trust, which will run the center after it opens in 2006. "The city and county leadership finally believe it's important to develop everything and not just be a beach community if they're going to have a future beyond tourist dollars."
With 362,500 residents, Miami proper ranks nowhere near the nation's largest cities - according to the 2000 census, it is less populous than Albuquerque, Fresno, even Tulsa.
Yet its social problems are those of a megalopolis. It has a history of racial tensions, drug-fueled violence and corrupt political leaders giving developers free rein. It has a higher percentage of people in poverty than any other American city of 250,000 or more, census figures show.
This is a city with few common memories, since most residents come from somewhere else. And since it is just a way station for many, Miami, which was incorporated in 1896, has historically lacked a collective civic soul.
Though dizzyingly diverse, it is not a melting pot: Miami's many communities - Cuban, Haitian and Colombian, New York Jewish, African-American, gay and European - often clash and many are still focused on the places they left behind, pledging their money and sympathies there.
But that may be changing: a recent poll found that Cuban-Americans 45 and younger are more focused on improving their quality of life here than on overthrowing Fidel Castro. Younger residents have the potential to make Miami a world-class city, some longtime residents say.
To those people, Miami is the kind of mecca that New York has been to so many. But unlike immigrants in New York and Los Angeles, who are often stuck at the bottom of the economic ladder for at least a generation, many Latin Americans here move quickly into the middle class, and even into wealth.
They are contributing to Miami's evolving identity on every level: in low-paying service jobs, as artists and musicians, as political leaders and banking executives, even as developers helping to revitalize downtown.
"In L.A., if you're Latin you're in the restaurant kitchen," said Roberto Behar, half of a husband-wife artistic team that created the model living room on North Miami Avenue in 2001. "Here, the mixing of cultures occurs in the banks, at the art openings, on every level. And Miami is such a baby - whatever you do, you feel you can be part of the history of the place."
Mr. Behar and his wife, Rosario Marquardt, have made their mark with toylike art projects, which they say befit a young city playing with ideas for its future. In addition to "The Living Room," they include a giant red M at a downtown commuter-train station and a house of cards surrounded by scaffolding, a symbol of Miami's state of precariousness.
Mr. Behar, who moved here in the mid-1980's from Argentina by way of New York City, compared Miami to New York in the early 1900's, when that city's cultural institutions, landmark buildings and neighborhood characteristics were still being created. Mr. Behar and Ms. Marquardt are among a small but vocal group calling for more careful, creative urban planning here. One bright example they point to is the so-called Design District, a gritty neighborhood just north of downtown that one developer is trying to transform into the city's creative laboratory.
The developer, Craig Robins, started buying up buildings in the neighborhood in 1994 and now owns 35. He is replacing neglected, nondescript structures with provocative designs, each by a different architect.
Mr. Robins is picky not just about who designs his buildings, but about whom they attract as tenants. He wants artists, furniture and clothing designers, architects and music executives.
Is this place on its way to becoming something big? The answer, people like Mr. Behar say, lies in what Miami can teach other cities about the future. Miami may be the prototype for what American cities will look like a century from now, with residents from other countries bringing new languages, interests and values to transform the culture, economy and landscape.
Approaching this city from the air, the view is often of ocean, then the island that is Miami Beach, then islands scattered in the bay, the city sprawling just beyond. Mr. Behar and Ms. Marquardt have a vision for one of the islands, a tiny patch named for Henry Flagler, the oil baron who built a railroad to Miami, opening it to the world.
Their idea is to carve Flagler Island into a star, so that the myriad people who arrive by plane can latch onto a landmark.
"In every culture, stars stand for destiny, for finding your future," Ms. Marquardt said. "It seems right to have such a thing be part of the invention of this place."