Miami’s rising reputation as a playground for the arts is magnified this weekend as three major events set up and showcase the work of hundreds of talented international artists.
The Coconut Grove Arts Festival (CGAF) returns for its 51st installment near the water of Biscayne Bay in the Grove, a former artist colony, while Art Wynwood, a comparatively newer fair, pops up in the bustling arts hub of Midtown for the third year. Miami Art and Design (MA+D) completes the trifecta with its inaugural debut in Bayfront Park where guests will see hundreds of museum-quality fine and decorative arts.
All three honor their locations in a different style, proving that Miami’s cultural landscape continues to expand beyond the one-dimensional.
FROM STREET TO SOPHISTICATED
Art Wynwood (Feb. 13-17) falls fittingly under the avant-garde category for elevating the underground street art movement with a range of fresh and edgy art by established, mid-career and emerging urban street artists alongside contemporary artworks from nearly 70 international galleries. The cutting-edge, at times gritty, creations are presented in a refined indoor space to advance the recognition of the movement that continues to draw attention to the candid streets of Wynwood.
“The fair is a great ambassador for the community of Wynwood. It proves that Miami has a marketplace for contemporary art outside of December and it shows that a single fair that’s attached to a single movement [street art] can build a presence and give back to the community,” said Nick Korniloff, director of Art Wynwood, a fair owned and operated by Art Miami, which also runs six other art fairs including Art Miami, Context and Aqua during Art Basel Miami Beach.
Last year, Art Wynwood attracted more than 26,500 art collectors, curators and enthusiasts. Prices range from $1,000 to $1million although the sweet spot for sales is anywhere from $30,000 to $125,000, according to Korniloff.
Art Wynwood’s expansion of its influence includes collaboration with “Cash, Cans, & Candy,” an international festival of street art from Vienna, Austria presented by gallerist Ernst Hilger.
Hilger and curator Katrin-Sophie Dworczak lined up a global who’s who of graffiti artists to exhibit in Miami this weekend. Expect to see new works by Colombian-Mexican artist Stinkfish, Puerto Rican artist team The Stencil Network, Cleveland based Stephen Tompkins and Miami’s own Douglas Hoekzema and Brandon Opalka.
In conjunction with “Cash, Cans & Candy,” Jessica Goldman of Goldman Properties is showcasing an all-female street artist installation à la “Women on the Walls,” her most recent mural project to hit Wynwood Walls during Art Basel 2013. Original work by several of the artists in this highly coveted group -- Miss Van, Fafi, and Maya Hayuk -- will be on view in Art Wynwood’s VIP Lounge.
“We’re making sure street artists out there know we’re providing them with an opportunity to have their own event. We want them to be discovered by collectors and other galleries, who will hopefully embrace these artists, purchase their work, and represent them elsewhere,” said Korniloff.
The CGAF (Feb. 15-17) represents a broader range of art on a larger scale as the nation's largest annual outdoor celebration of visual arts and crafts.
“Between our two art festivals and the boat show on Miami Beach, we truly fill up this town. It gives people diversification and it’s not a competition,” says CGAF president and longtime Coconut Grove resident Monty Trainer. “We fill every hotel room and restaurant and that makes us a big part of the economics of this community.”
More than 150,000 people attend the festival each year to see the work of 380 artists from the around the world on a mile-long path. Prices range from $15 for an unframed photograph to $30,000 for a metal installation.
The commemorative poster for the festival this year is dubbed “La Brisa” by Miami native Alexander Mijares whose Cuban and Spanish roots inspired the colorful energy for the design.
“The event has earned a reputation within the arts community for attracting some of the most talented artists. I’m thrilled to join the elite who have created the arts festival’s posters over the years,” said Mijares, who joins the roster of official poster artists including Guy Harvey, Maria Reyes Jones, Jacqueline Roch, and Xavier Cortada.
This year, the CGAF team added a social media contest to engage fans and find the “biggest and best” poster collection in South Florida via the hashtag #CGAFPosters. Lavetta Williams Ulman, an English teacher at MAST Academy in Key Biscayne, won for a curated display of 11 posters in her home.
The “New & Emerging Artists” section is another addition to this year’s festival. The category enables five young artists, ages 18 to 29, to show their work for the first time at a discounted cost. Trainer was motivated to do this after he experienced a similar showcase at the St. James Court Art Show in Louisville, KY. Three of the five artists selected live and work in Miami.
In general, more than 1,200 artists from the U.S. and Canada submit applications for what Trainer calls “a rigorous examination by the festival’s judges.”
“Some people think that it’s the same artists exhibiting every year, but that’s not the case,” said Trainer. “To keep it fresh, about 35 percent of the artists are entirely new to the festival.”
In addition to art and craftsmanship, there’s a performing arts stage with a non-stop schedule of live music. Bad Company’s former lead singer Brian Howe headlines on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 4:45 p.m. To the celebrate the artistry of local chefs, the Culinary Pavilion will offer presentations and wine pairings featuring chefs such as Giorgio Rapicavoli of Eating House in Coral Gables.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
More than $500 million in museum-quality artwork by masters such as Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Josef Albers, Alfred Sisley, and Raoul Dufy are on display and for sale this week at Miami Art and Design (MA+D), a new 50,000 square-foot indoor pavilion surrounding the Isamu Noguchi-designed fountain at Bayfront Park.
The MA+D structure, which cost more than $2 million to build, will also showcase Latin American artifacts, contemporary art, and sculpture and design pieces.
The fair’s organizers Lee Ann and David Lester of International Fine Art Expositions (Miami International Art Fair, SeaFair, Art Palm Beach, etc.) partnered with Syndicat National des Antiquaires, the largest association of art and design dealers in France, producer of the Paris Biennale, and and co-organizer of New York’s Salon: Art + Design to bring this venture to life in downtown Miami. The couple’s experience with fairs dates back to 1991 when they established Art Miami and managed it until 1998. Nick Korniloff and partners (Art Miami LLC) acquired the fair in 2009 after Korniloff served as director in 2008 for the ownership group at the time.
During MA+D’s run, experts and artists will give lectures on the topics of Colombian art, contemporary Chinese art, the history of Catherine the Great and The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, Japanese American Art as advocacy and the contemporary art movement of Australia’s Aboriginal people.