Art fairs come and go. Art Miami and its sister fairs have remained stalwarts. When the flaps on the Art Miami tent open, Art Week Miami has officially begun.
Art Miami director Nick Korniloff tells us what to expect this year.
MIAMI HERALD: Art Miami has become the unofficial launch to Miami Art Week. What do you have planned for this year’s fair to keep the buzz going?
KORNILOFF: We are excited to present a strong, diverse group of 125 international dealers and artists from North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia offering the very best of the 20th and 21st century contemporary art market. The fair has grown from 115 dealers in 2015 to 125 for this year, and we have 20 first-time exhibitors, with the footprint of both Art Miami and CONTEXT having expanded greatly. CONTEXT, which started out as 68 dealers in 2012, now has 100 dealers showcasing emerging and mid-career cutting-edge contemporary art. CONTEXT has moved north one block to the grassy lot in the center of Midtown [on 36th Street].
MIAMI HERALD: You now have three Miami fairs during Art Week: Art Miami, Context and Aqua. Tell us what’s different about each.
KORNILOFF: We will have a total of 272 exhibitors between the three fairs. Art Miami is our flagship fair, and it really highlights the top historical non-living artists of the modern, post-war and pop eras. The fair collaborates with galleries that have experience working with artists’ estates and bringing their collections to the market for the first time. Art Miami also provides a platform for galleries that represent mid-career established artists and living artists that are currently creating work. Most of the artists in Art Miami, living or non-living, are in private, corporate, or public collections and have been exhibited at other major international fairs, museums and biennials. Many of the living artists are heavily sought-after by independent curators.
In CONTEXT, you will discover artworks that are fresh and new, pushing the boundaries of contemporary art. Aqua Art Miami is a unique, boutique art fair on South Beach featuring 47 galleries where one can discover new, hip galleries representing artists and art movements in the most intimate and enjoyable setting.
MIAMI HERALD: Parking and traffic are always a challenge in Midtown. How are you addressing that this year?
KORNILOFF: Midtown is one of the most convenient locations for attendees during Art Week, as it is centrally located between the beach and the airport. Last year was a bit challenging due to the closing of the Venetian Causeway and widespread construction on the roads. We have more public parking available in the garages this year as a local auto dealer’s inventory no longer is occupying the public parking garage at Midtown, and there are many supporting public garages in the north area where CONTEXT is located. There also are many private lots that will be open and operated independently. Many people now opt for our shuttle bus service to and from the beach, or our partner Uber, or alternative drop-off car services. We always work with the Miami Police Department and have officers on foot, in vehicles and on horseback in the district to help move the traffic along and ensure a safe environment for all.
MIAMI HERALD: As Midtown has become developed, there is less and less space for art fairs. At what point will Art Miami have to move, and where will it go?
KORNILOFF: We plan to stay in Midtown as long as we can. We are continuously in conversation with local officials, property owners and businesses, exploring our options for the future if a move becomes necessary.
MIAMI HERALD: You had a tragic event a few years ago, when you and your wife, Pamela, lost your son, Perry. Last year you had a special tribute to him to raise funds for boating-safety education. Will do you something similar this year?
KORNILOFF: Yes. This has been a very surreal and painful time for us as a family and as parents, and we all miss Perry very much. This year, Art Miami will award for the first time “The Art Miami Lifetime Visionary Award.” The first recipient of the award will be collector and chairman of the Related Companies, Jorge Pérez. We will celebrate Mr. Pérez’s multiple contributions to the cultural landscape of Miami all week, culminating at a private event at db Bistro Moderne, a Daniel Boulud restaurant at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami. db Bistro Moderne has pledged that all proceeds from the evening’s dinner will be donated to our son’s foundation, the Perry J. Cohen Foundation (pjcf.org). One of the pillars of the foundation is to support the arts. Monies raised from this event that are generously raised by db Bistro Moderne will be donated by the PJCF to a nonprofit arts group in Miami.
MIAMI HERALD: In the past, Art Miami has partnered with local charities, causes and institutions. What events collaborations are you planning for this year?
KORNILOFF: The opening VIP Private Preview for Art Miami and CONTEXT will benefit Pérez Art Museum Miami. We also are partnered with the Association of Women Art Dealers, and Diamonds Unleashed [an organization founded by Kara Ross, wife of Miami Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross, to provide educational opportunities for girls]. The Miami Children’s Hospital will have a booth in the Art Miami café, with a percentage of sales of Corina Hernandez’s works going to the hospital. In addition, we will have a collaborative marketing partnership to help create exposure for the Bakehouse Art Complex. We also host an event for the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.
MIAMI HERALD: How do you expect the economy to affect prices and collectors at this year’s fair?
I think collectors will spend top money for rare works of art that are fresh to the market. Others will look for value in their acquisition of works by big-name artists that currently are considered second tier due to the fact of limited material in the “A” category. Bottom line: If it is great material and prices are in line with the market, it will sell for top dollar at the fair.