In Miami

3 questions for the new curator of Art Basel Miami Beach’s Public Sector

Ugo Rondinone's Miami Mountain outside the Bass Museum.
Ugo Rondinone's Miami Mountain outside the Bass Museum.

Swiss-born, Los Angeles-based art expert Philipp Kaiser is making his Art Basel Miami Beach debut as curator of the Public sector, outdoors at Collins Park. INDULGE sat down with him to learn what we can expect under his direction.

Philipp Kaiser_Pro HelvetiaEnnio Leanza
Philipp Kaiser is curator of the Public sector of Art Basel Miami Beach. Photograph by Pro Helvetia / Ennio Leanza.

1. Why is public art important to Art Basel?

“The Public sector is about bringing art outside of the Convention Center and into a public space where both visitors to the fair and residents of Miami Beach can encounter art in their everyday life. The sector allows audiences to interact with art in a different way than, say, in a gallery, museum or within a booth at an art fair. The open space of Collins Park provides the opportunity to present artworks that are larger in scale and embody more interactive elements that engage the viewer in a visceral and tactile way.”

2. What makes this kind of art successful?

“A public art piece is successful if it reflects its surroundings. The context is always relevant for the meaning of the artwork. Of course, there is plenty of room for play. In this sense, my exhibition will be focused, but also poetically open-ended.”

3. What public art has left a lasting impression on you?

“When Hauser & Wirth initiated Allan Kaprow’s seminal 1967 environments Fluids, which consisted of numerous brick buildings carved out of ice that were melting under the sun of Basel a few years ago, I thought: This is the ideal public art. Kaprow originally conceived the piece for the Pasadena Museum of Art, but more than 40 years later, the re-staging of this work was as powerful as art can get.”