To escape the crush of the Art Basel art fair, which ended Sunday, and visit Martin Z. Margulies at his voluminous warehouse and exhibition space for art in the Wynwood Arts District is to realize that this collector was there before it all began. Before his Twomblys were trading for more than $70 million at auction. Before the Arte Povera pieces he started buying years ago became chic. Before the market got red-hot and art became an asset class.
Almost two years ago, when the Hallen für Neue Kunst, a pioneering contemporary art museum in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, closed after a decade of legal strife, nearly two dozen works by the 85-year-old minimalist painter Robert Rymanneeded to find their way back home to New York City. The paintings, which, like his other pieces, feature tonal variations of the color white on surfaces from unprimed canvases to fiberglass panels, had been installed since the early ’80s in the converted factory, where each 15,000-square-foot floor was dedicated to just a few artists, including other 20th-century icons like Sol LeWitt, Carl Andre and Robert Mangold. Ryman’s sons Cordy, 43, and Ethan, 51, soon flew to Switzerland to “repatriate Dad’s paintings.”
The rap on the annual contemporary art fair here is that much of the art has already been presold and most of the collectors come only for the parties. Veterans of Art Basel Miami Beach say there is plenty of fun to be had — it’s hard to keep track of the dozens of events on offer, including seated gallery dinners and liquor promotions. But there is also serious art-buying to be done and many dealers say they have their best results here. “It’s my favorite fair and normally it’s the most successful,” the dealer Paul Kasmin said. “I don’t think I’ve ever presold anything.”
Ah, to be among the glitterati who will descend this week on Art Basel Miami Beach. Nibbling on canapés. Clinking glasses of bubbly. Perusing modern masterpieces. And … writing checks to politicians? That’s the hope of several 2016 presidential candidates who, on purpose or by happenstance, have scheduled fundraising receptions to coincide with the annual art fair that swells the ranks of South Florida’s moneyed elite.
Street murals, pop-up fairs, installations depicting a post-rising-seas Miami and even a portal to the far reaches of the planet will stretch along Miami Beach and across the causeways for the annual art week frenzy that begins Monday. Here’s our list of Best Bets for art viewing available this week only.
There may come a day when having a critical mass of women featured in an art fair is no longer noteworthy, but we’re not there yet. So it’s worth noting that Art Basel Miami Beach, which starts next week, has a significant number of female artists.
Every other June, the center of the world’s aviation industry shifts to Paris for a commercial air show that is the de rigueur sales event for Boeing, Airbus and other giants in the jet industry. Now Miami-Dade County wants to bring some of that business to the Everglades. On an isolated county airport surrounded by the Big Cypress National Preserve, local officials see the future home of the Miami International Aerospace Show. The high-flying expo could launch as early as January 2017 as the largest show of its kind in the Americas, giving Miami a chance to tout its homegrown aviation sector to industry heavyweights.
Yogi Berra once said that, “The future ain’t what it used to be.” His words could serve as yet another warning for the residents of today’s Florida, a state that finds itself in the eye of the storm on climate change. It’s customary on the first day of the half-year-long hurricane season to issue a reminder about preparing for what a well-known book (and movie of the same name) once called The Mean Season. Long-time Floridians know they have to be ready, and that now is the time to prepare.
Environmentalists say they are not giving up the battle to secure land south of Lake Okeechobee for Everglades restoration. They’re just changing tracts. With lawmakers scheduled to meet Monday for the start of a 20-day special session, several of the state’s most influential conservation groups on Wednesday renewed calls to buy land needed to store water and move it to the thirsty southern Everglades. They also want lawmakers to order the South Florida Water Management District to set a schedule for designing and building a reservoir.
While retrenching abroad, the Obama Administration remains committed to expanding Washington’s footprint at home. Behold the Environmental Protection Agency’s rewrite Wednesday of the Clean Water Act that extends federal jurisdiction over tens of millions of acres of private land. The Clean Water Act limits the federal government to regulating the “navigable waters of the United States” like the Colorado River or Lake Michigan. In 1986 the EPA expanded that definition to seize jurisdiction over tributaries and adjacent wetlands.