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When The Standard Spa, Miami Beach opened eleven years ago, Miami looked very different from the city it is today. South Beach was the heartbeat of Miami’s culture, with its eccentric mix of art deco architecture, scantily dressed beach goers, glitzy night life, and loud music pumping through the night. Since then, the city has gone through a radical cultural evolution and has become one of the most significant design and art hubs in the world, and The Design District is at the center of this nucleus of change. Located on the other side of the bridges leading to South Beach, this neighborhood holds some of the city’s greatest design showrooms, galleries, museums, shops, restaurants, and cafés. We explored every corner of the bourgeoning area to narrow down our favorite spots. 

Primary Projects

This multifaceted organization defies the constraints of the classic gallery construct. Primary Projects offers a platform for edgy, artistic expression from both established and up-and-coming creatives within and outside gallery walls. A refreshing break from the commercialization of galleries, their, at times, controversial and gritty street aesthetics challenge our current conceptions of contemporary art by fostering group and solo projects that fluctuate from the forbidden to the sublime. 

Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami

As one of the Design District’s main art institutions, ICA Miami dedicates itself to continued experimentation in contemporary art. What exactly makes the ICA so singular? It provides a unique, international platform for emerging local and under-recognized artists within an ever-changing exhibition and program calendar that seeks to reflect the cultural and artistic landscape of both local and international creatives. Oh, and it’s free. December 1, 2017 marks the launch of ICA Miami’s new, permanent home featuring 20,000 square feet of multifaceted exhibition space and a 15,000 square foot sculpture garden. 

De la Cruz Collection

Miami’s de la Cruz Collection is the result of billionaire art lovers opening their private collection to the world and transforming it into one of Miami’s most impressive art institutes. Cuban collectors Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz are among the patrons seeking to make Miami an intellectual art capital. Their 30,000-square-foot contemporary art space acts as an extension of their home, housing their vast collection of sculptures, paintings, and installations by the most sought after artists of today. Their nurturing, artistic vision gives way to a flux of exhibitions that turn the cultural lens on itself; alongside artist-led workshops, forums, and lectures that bring awareness to the vast interpretations of the visual arts. Like the ICA, it’s free to the public.

Locust Projects

Imagine art freed from the constraints of sales and gallery fees, where artists can fully experiment and express themselves outside the limitations of conventional exhibition spaces. Locust Projects makes this dream a reality for artists. Once finding its roots in a converted warehouse space, they have evolved into one of Miami’s top art institutions with the backing of the Andy Warhol Foundation. Local and international artists are invited to create ambitious site-specific projects and installations as an extension of their personal work. 

Swampspace Gallery

This alternative, artist-run creative space and venue is Miami’s un-gallery, and was founded when artist and sculptor Oliver Sanchez welcomed artists into his unused studio space. In response to the need for community-based art spaces, Swampspace puts forth innovative visual and performance arts to create unique experiences that walk the line between sophistication and raw, unraveled ingenuity. It is certain to quench the palates of thirsting art enthusiasts from all perspectives and backgrounds. 

Buckminster Fuller Fly’s Eye Dome, 1978-2014    

The creation of this interactive sculpture, dubbed the “autonomous dwelling machine” by its original creator, spans decades. American architect and designer Buckminster Fuller patented the design in the ’60s and died before it was ever finished. Over 50 years later, Fuller’s vision was realized. The 24-foot prototype, considered a forerunner for today’s green architecture movement, sits at the center of the Design District as a focal point of inspiration. 

Konstantin Grcic’s Netscape, 2010/2014

German industrial designer Konstantin Grcic’s interactive installation makes you feel suspended from a metal cobweb entangled in tropical vines. His innovative design invites you into a moment of calm away from the overwhelming density of the Design District. Relax, sit back, and gently swing in Grcic’s hammock-like wire seats delicately suspended from a six-point metal structure. Just a warning: It might be hard to get up again

Xavier Veilhan’s Le Corbusier, 2013

This is where you go to get your dose of Corbusier loving surrealism. The endless complexity of the artist’s personal life, ripe with passion and controversy, has been encapsulated in a larger-than-life “bust” executed by French artist Xavier Veilhan. He challenges the balance between simplicity and scale, depicting the iconic Corbusier with pen in hand, representing the act of drawing as the perfect bridge between the prolific artist’s multifaceted passions of architecture, drawing, writing, and design. 

Zaha Hadid’s Elastika, 2005

The Elastika installation was commissioned after the late architect, Zaha Hadid, was given the first ever “Designer of the Year” award. As a representation of Hadid’s endless contribution to the realm of design, her web-like installation stretches across the atrium of the multi-storied Moore building. Hadid’s signature organically flowing aesthetics offers a beautiful contrast with the building’s art deco roots. It is the ultimate extrusion of the complex, spacial concepts like connectivity and fluidity that are so inherent within her architectural creations.  

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Words by Nicole Martinez

Patrons who collect art would likely characterize the process as capricious and emotion-driven: They may recount an experience in which their decision to purchase the work was made suddenly and on impulse as they toured a gallery or artist’s studio, describing a sort of ‘eureka’ moment that may frequently occur while shopping for shoes, but rarely does when purchasing artwork worth thousands and thousands of dollars.

The reality is a bit different. While the decision to collect art or purchase a particular work can often be speculative, most experienced collectors take their time identifying artists and upcoming gallery shows before making the decision to purchase a work. The collecting process can be emotion-based, to be sure – it’s important to wholly identify with and love the work – but most collectors, particularly those who are just starting out, don’t take the decision to collect art lightly.

Drawing up a playbook to learn to collect art is a valuable tool for both aspiring collectors, emerging artists and gallery professionals managing an art business. Whether you want to learn how to collect art, or you wish to leverage that knowledge and build a better marketing platform for generating sales of your work or your gallery’s work, understanding the basic tenets of art collecting can help develop a detailed roadmap for both selling and owning artwork.

Recognizing that collecting art is inherently complex, a panel of experts gathered at Miami’s PRIMARY Projects last month to shed some light on the process. Hosted in partnership with the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami, a new contemporary art institution being erected in Miami’s Design District neighborhood, the Art Collecting 101 panel welcomed artists, art entrepreneurs and aspiring collectors who wanted to deepen their understanding of the business. The panel welcomed Jimena Guijarro, an independent art consultant that specializes in Latin American art; Christina Gonzalez, one of the co-founders of PRIMARY Projects, one of Miami’s longest-established local galleries; and Valentina Garcia, a Latin American art specialist and Associate Vice President of Phillip’s Auction House.

Guijarro noted that most who wish to collect art are often hesitant to do so because they fear its unaffordable. In reality, there are varying price points and artistic disciplines that make art collecting totally accessible. “The decision to purchase a young, emerging artist means that you’re part of their success,” said Guijarro. “In a lot of ways, you’re doing your part to advance their career by collecting them in the first place.”

Naturally, determining whether or not the art you collect will have some sort of resale value in the future is a consideration for many starting to collect art. But almost all panelists agree that your decision to collect art – at least initially – shouldn’t be viewed as an investment strategy. Instead, young collectors should purchase first based on their tastes, while considering the potential artists have to develop fruitful art careers.

Before You Collect Art, Develop a Roadmap

Before setting out on a mission to collect art, there are a variety of steps you can take to simplify the process. Setting clear-cut expectations for your collecting goal will also allow the creative professionals to provide better guidance.

To begin with, young collectors should determine what they want their collection to say about them. Whether that means a collector chooses to purchase artworks from a certain region or time frame – Russian artists working in the late 20th century, for example – or choosing to collect art that reflects a certain aesthetic taste or complements your home. “It’s important to find your own voice in this process,” said Garcia. “Investigate a movement, build a narrative, tell a story about your life with the work you collect.”

Part of building that narrative is determining which movements or works best represent your tastes. Gonzalez suggested getting out in your community to appreciate the type of work being made both locally and abroad. Visiting museums can give you a sense of the direction the art world is heading while spending time in your local galleries or artist-run institutions can help collectors draw an analysis as to some of the most interesting, exciting, or in-demand work.

Collectors should also determine who their partners will be in the process. Will they work with a gallery or an art consultant or similar art business? Will they purchase directly from an artist, or spend time scouting art fairs? Guijarro suggested that when shopping for artwork, a potential buyer should have a neutral third party coming along for the ride to act as a buffer between gallery or artist and collector. Your buffer can ask questions and provide a neutral opinion when determining whether to purchase an artwork – this can be a friend, or a significant other, or even an artist, who can provide outside knowledge of the complexity of the work and an analysis of the value of the work and the time it likely took to produce it.

Examine the Artist’s Potential for Success Before You Collect Art

The panelists agreed that determining an artist’s potential for success within the art market will be a key factor when deciding whether to collect art. Take a look at the artist’s CV to have a better understanding of who they are as an artist: Where did the artist study? Has he or she had any solo shows? Have they participated in group shows? Have they completed a residency? Won any juried competitions? Has their work been featured in any press?

“Obviously, with a younger artist, their CV won’t be that long,” said Guijarro, “but that doesn’t necessarily you shouldn’t purchase their work.” Instead, panelists suggest you do your research – find artists whose careers have taken off, and look to which CV items they may have in common with your younger emerging artist. Figure out whether the residencies, museums, and galleries they’ve collaborated with are worth their weight.

In addition, take a critical look at the artist’s entire body of work. Is it evolving? Is the work reactionary and provocative? Would you determine that their entire body of work is consistent? Understanding how the artist might be growing into themselves is a useful way to determine whether or not they’ll continue to flourish, and ideally, you’ll want to spend some time appreciating that before making the decision to collect art.

The panelists also cautioned collectors against believing the hype if it seems that there’s simply too much chatter swirling around an artist. “It’s often easy to spot fads in art, and that’s when I would say you should be weary,” said Gonzalez. Instead, think about whether the artist is getting attention because of shock value, or whether his work is genuinely meaningful.

Finally, the panelists also noted that collectors can play a role in the success of an artist’s career. “Introduce the artist to your friends, talk about the work you collect in conversation, and be a part of their career,” said Guijarro.

Artists can also benefit from understanding these tips if used as a means of approaching their career. Artists should understand that collectors will look to their CVs and artist bios in an effort to determine whether or not the artist is marketable enough to acquire. Artists should take the time to thoughtfully craft their CVs and bios, consider which residencies are the most sought-after and significant, and spend some time reaching out to arts journalists in their community as a means of obtaining press placement. Invite gallerists and journalists to your studio, get involved with your local museums, and spend a good portion of your time researching artist residencies and other enrichment programs that can catapult your career. Get to know your collectors and form a relationship with them that encourages the promotion of your work.

Determine Where You Want to Purchase Artwork

When embarking on a decision to collect art, determine where you’ll feel most comfortable doing so. Do you prefer to purchase from a gallery or an artist? Will you attend art fairs to determine what you want to buy? Or do you want to experience the thrill of purchasing at auction?

There are different types of strategies depending on where you want to buy. If a collector is going the gallery route, then they should take their time and cultivate a relationship with the gallery owner. Collectors should feel like their gallery advisors are approachable and have their best interests in mind.

“The ideal situation is one in which you aren’t afraid to ask questions, and have complete confidence and trust,” said Gonzalez. “People think we only care about the fee, but that’s simply not true. She adds that many galleries often organize walk-throughs of new shows, in an effort to help potential buyers have some deeper context of the work and the artist’s intention.

Purchasing at auction, on the other hand, means that the collector should have a pretty good handle on the art marketplace. “There’s more lead time, so you should already know the game and the facts about the artist and the work being sold,” said Garcia. Garcia cautioned that collectors should keep in mind that most artists at auction are often past the point of ’emerging’ and are likely mid-career, which means works at auction are often more expensive. On the flip side, that makes the artwork a safer investment bet.

One of the easiest ways to collect art is by visiting art fairs. Since they’re planned far in advance, collectors have plenty of lead time to determine which galleries will attend and whose work they’ll show. That means collectors often have plenty of time to research participating galleries and artists, which allows them to hone in on the work they’d like to collect and the price tag that usually accompanies it. Often times, fairs organize special tours through the fair, which also allows the collector to become acquainted with artists and works they may have overlooked.

In addition, art fairs offer a unique bargaining opportunity. Many collectors attend early on to determine what they like, and wait until the fair is about to close to make their offer. “If you wait until the end of the fair, there’s more room to negotiate,” said Guijarro.

It’s a good strategy, and one art business owners should consider, too. Pricing your work higher at the outset gives you more room to negotiate at the end. Of course, you’ll need to walk a fine line – you don’t want to scare a potential collector away with an outrageous price point. Art fairs are also a good opportunity to meet and network with new collectors, so take your time approaching unknown faces and don’t shy away from spending too much time with any one visitor. Often times, art business owners view art fairs as crunch time, and therefore spend most of the time chatting with “serious” collectors only. However, not giving a visitor a good amount of face time can mean the loss of a future buyer.

Collector, Gallery or Artist? Consider These Tips for Every Endeavor

The art market is inherently symbiotic, and collectors, gallerists, artists and other art business owners would do well to analyze how the strategies offered by this collecting panel can be applied to their own art business. Artists should take the time to craft their bios and CVs and make career decisions based on the likelihood that a certain move will offer big rewards. Collectors want to tell a story through the work they collect: Understand that telling your own story effectively will likely translate to a higher probability of success.

Galleries, in turn, need to be aware of what makes collectors feel engaged and encouraged to collect art. Take the time to answer questions, tow the line between forceful and firm when making sales, and consider a collector’s negotiation strategies when shopping at a fair.

The most important thing to remember throughout the process, though, is that it should be an immersive and highly personal experience. “Figure out what you like,” said Guijarro, “then get lots of good advice.”

LINK | on ARTREPRENEURSHIP

Been keeping this quiet for a year now, finally ready to announce Kelly Breez’s collaboration with OBEY. Kelly Breez, the feature of the latest OBEY Artist Series – a multi-disciplinary artist and tropical person who lives and works in Miami. Some people call her the “Beverage Lord”.

Working mostly monochromatically, she weaves a sharp eye for subtle humor into her work, acting as a mirror to the absurdities of life. Breez has an eye for details: she notices everything. She’s a sponge for the nuance of the unpredictable tropical wasteland she calls home. Breez finds herself also influenced by Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec, Henry Darger, Mary Blair, Rick Froberg and David Hockney.

Get wavy with the Kelly Breez Artist Series on obeyclothing.com.

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Frank Zappa claimed that his compositions were modeled on Calder mobiles. Excited to release the latest mix from The Thirty-Three (The33) for our current exhibition, The Motion of Movements. The33 = Hunters/Gathers Of The Odd, Rare and Curious | Control Center For Several Un-Prolific Record Labels | Temple For Creative Unholiness. Follow The33 on Instagram : @theethirtythree

DOWNLOAD the FULL ALBUM HERE. 

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Pleased to welcome back our good friend and amazing artist, Manny Prieres for our Artist in House residency program with Soho Beach House
BOOTLEG CULTURE – PRINTMAKERS WORKSHOP – APRIL 18 | 7 – 8:30 PM 
Los Angeles-based artist Manny Prieres drops by the House for a discussion on appropriation and the art of transferring a preprinted image from one surface to another, plus cocktails and a lesson in transfer printmaking.
CUBAN SOUL FOOD – DINNER WITH MANNY PRIERES – APRIL 19 | 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM 
Artist Manny Prieres joins us for a culinary celebration of his Cuban heritage, with soul food inspired by the vibrant island nation and flavors from his abuela’s kitchen. Enjoy cocktails and traditional Cuban dishes for $45.00 per person, exclusive of taxes and gratuity.
PUNK ETHOS – PINBACK BUTTON WORKSHOP – APRIL 20 | 7:30 – 9 PM 
Pin-back buttons are a communication device – often used as a weapon of the oppressed, or a quiet form of passive resistance. Join us for cocktails and button-making at this workshop led by Cuban artist Manny Prieres, where you’ll learn to make pin-back buttons and have a chance to express yourself by collecting and trading them with other House members. email – rsvp@thisisprimary.com
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Manny Prieres (b. 1972, Madrid) addresses the influence of mass communication mostly in the print and digital medium. The work is informed by graphic language and how different social groups have used it to convey or contain ideas. He is interested in how graphic design and the written word are used in art, and ideas that were at one time taboo, fringe or targeted for elimination become cultural sublimation. Another aspect of his work is dealing with the “death of print”. Print being rapidly replaced with digital media in all aspects of culture. The artist is interested in this disruption. He intentionally explores this topic through traditional forms of making such as drawing, painting and digital printing. The method is itself a form of serial production. Replacing the printing press with the hand and by different means repeating the process of creating editions where the outcome is never a perfect facsimile of the original. The final outcome is a nonsensical remnant of the source material, with mathematical precision.
Prieres has shown work at venues in Auckland, Mexico City, New York, Istanbul, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Miami. He was an artist-in-residence at Cannonball (formerly LegalArt) Miami. Prieres was featured prominently in the New Works group exhibition at the Miami Art Museum in 2010. He has been featured in publications including Art Papers, Art Nexus, El Nuevo Herald, Installation Magazine and Whitehot Magazine. In 2013, Prieres’ had his first museum solo exhibition, It Was A Pleasure to Burn, was staged at The Bass Museum of Art, Miami. After the exhibition the museum acquired work for their permanent collection. Though raised in Miami, Prieres now lives and works in Los Angeles.
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Looking forward to a great week of projects at the house. Availability is filling up, if you would like to attend an event, please email us at rsvp@thisisprimary.com.

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Words by Rosa Villa

“The artists’ role in society is to point out nuances of the human condition that most people miss while they’re on their grinds.”

When she’s not on her grind, artist Kelly Breez invites locals to gawk at her animated collection of derriere bookshelves and hanging aphorisms. At her solo exhibition at Primary Projects, aptly titled “Fuck it Will Set you Free”, viewers are greeted by continuous yet unconnected pieces, suspended against a backdrop of white walls.

In keeping with her mantra, Breez avoids taking herself too seriously. While wood acts as her canvas, the human stream of consciousness acts as her primary medium. She blends psychedelic sketching with absurd imagery: “Just think, no matter how bad things get, at least Three Six Mafia won an Oscar.” Breez lines the walls with a road map of her mind, highlighting the chaotic and absurd magnificence of being alive. She tells the viewer that art has an obligation to help us understand ourselves better (and if we can chuckle in the process, then all the better!).

Breez explains: “my art is really graphic, sarcastic, slightly crass, and vulgar. Those are some themes I tend to be drawn towards. Coming from a technical standpoint, I gravitate toward things that are really heavy on brush strokes and look really painterly and hand-drawn.”

Like our minds, Breez’s art works are anxious, unfiltered, and mystifying. Amusingly, Breez reacts to the “how-to” culture that seeks to prescribe its readers a functional manual on living. “How to remain Zen while waiting for a representative to assist you” and “How to bounce the fuck back” are craftily embossed on book–like cut outs, hung in perfect alignment along several first editions.

Her pieces could perhaps best be described as ideal fixtures to hang in a creative office, design studio, or in the bedroom. Her art is multi-faceted: it can simultaneously fit in both public and private spaces, while offering subversive visuals that tell us it’s okay to chuck the rule book.

She grooves to her own tune unapologetically. In the words of Charles Bukowski, “there’s no lie in her fire”.

Here’s what else Breez has to say:

What themes do you pursue? 

I like to think my work is the visual manifestation of corner-store-culture, with humorous and political undertones.

Where did you study art? And do you think that to be an artist, one should study it formally? 

Not so much. My family is full of artists so I started getting interested in art at a young age. I paid close attention to the children’s books I would read and all of the illustrations in them, which I think was the earliest art education and major source of art inspiration I received.

I got into a lot of different kinds of art on my own in the beginning of college when I started taking it more seriously and became more interested in being more technical with rendering things. That being said- I don’t believe that in order to be an artist you need to study it formally.

Some of my biggest art heroes are “folk” artists like Henry Darger and Grandma Moses, both of which have wild imaginations and were extremely driven to make large quantities of art. They never went to school.

I feel like sometimes taking your passion into a formal setting and taking in so many opinions from teachers and other students can actually squelch a lot of that raw drive that most artists naturally possess. Oh and I went to college at New World School of the Arts here in Miami.

What is your weirdest creative ritual? 

There’s a lot that occurs behind closed doors when I’m in the studio, buzzing around to different desks and projects acting like a total psychopath. I can have a pretty short attention span sometimes, so I like to skip around through different music videos before I start drawing. They anchor me to one chair, get me a bit more focused on the goal and are a muse of mine. I really like watching movies and shooting film, so for me they almost seem like extensions of drawings. Plus I like to blast the jams while I’m working. It’s a slick 2-4-1.

What jobs have you worked in other than art? 

I worked in production for a while when I was living in San Francisco. I was in the art department and I loved it. I started out interning for a guy that owned a prop house. We’d ride around in his truck going from set to set. He walked me into the industry because I found him, wouldn’t take no for an answer and he appreciated it because someone did the same thing for him. I ended up working on quite a few commercials, a couple of shorts and one very fun indie movie where I was the prop master/set decorator.

In your opinion, what’s central to the work of an artist? 

You have to pay attention to EVERYTHING. Being a sponge to your environment always keeps you wanting to make more work. It’s also what gives you your specific visual language. No other artist on earth is going to have a point of view like yours because you’re the only one living it.

What’s your favorite art work? 

Old liquor store signage.

Name three artists you would like to work with. 

Solange, Monica Canilao, Hype Williams.

What time period inspires you the most? 

I am a total junkie for British time period dramas. I love that no one has cell phones or laptops and no one is talking about technology other than the occasional eggbeater. I love that they all really soak up what each other are saying and they’re super present in their interactions. On a visual level though- i’d say the late 70s and early 80s are the absolute best. I am always trying to visually exist in that space, or at least pull references, colors and vibes out of it.

What wouldn’t you do without? 

The tropics.

What do you dislike about your work? 

That it hasn’t pissed off Donald Trump yet.

What do you like about your work? 

It is always teaching me things about myself I didn’t realize.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given (creative or otherwise)? 

My Dad told me once if you can’t picture yourself doing something that you’re doing now in five years, that you’re wasting your time and to move on. That’s definitely kept me on a path.

What superpower would you have and why? 

Middle school me would say I’d be able to melt into a puddle like Alex Mack (because lets be honest she’s the queen) but now I’d say being able to speak any language would obviously have its benefits and be very rad. Being able to (literally) understand other people is essential to always being able to learn new things and have your bubble of existence expanded by cultures other than your own.

LINK | On TROPICULT

FAST_O,MIAMI

Poet Dave Landsberger culminates his day shooting a poetry-themed remake of 2 Fast 2 Furious with a reading and party at Primary Projects in the Design District.

Landsberger and guests read poems commemorating the death of Paul Walker and other tributes to the Fast Franchise inside of a white Ferrari, generously donated by Lou La Vie, Miami’s Premier Exotic Car Rental Agency.

Get a limited edition “2 Poetry 2 Ferrari” zine with the purchase a special ticket, or get a copy the night of (assuming supplies last) by purchasing Landsberger’s debut collection, Suicide by Jaguar.

After the reading, TURN ON THE AFTER-PARTY-BURNERS with ice cold “NosTails” and an original “Fast” playlist dominated by Ja Rule & Ludaaaaaaaaa.

Sponsored by Lou La Vie, Miami’s Premier Exotic Car Rental Agency