A Top Curator in the Making
by beth landman
Lara Rosenbaum in front of Simon Procter’s Spirits of Valentino, at her gallery in the St. Regis Bal Harbour.
Stately blonde Lara Rosenbaum seems to have an innate aesthetic sense, as she orchestrates with precision exactly where a six-foot, blue-violet, painted aluminum Hope sculpture should be set in the 15th-floor apartment of a Mexican telecommunications CEO. She directs a crew, rearranging furniture, so that the $1 million-plus piece ends up perfectly complementing the Bal Harbour home’s entrance and enhancing its brilliant ocean vista.
Rosenbaum not only placed the sculpture, but she also commissioned it from the artist. “Robert Indiana is one of the only living artists from the American Pop movement, and this piece really spoke to the collector,” she explains.
At just 24, Rosenbaum’s savvy may seem surprising, but for the recent University of Miami graduate, it’s practically instinctive. Born in Boca Raton, she grew up in the art world: Her grandfather is a gallerist who specializes in modern masters including Picasso, Miró, Chagall, and Calder; and her father, Howard Rosenbaum, has a gallery, Rosenbaum Contemporary in Boca Raton, featuring works from younger artists and Pop heroes including Andy Warhol and Tom Wesselmann.
Rosenbaum began working with her family while she was in school, but as she traveled internationally to visit artists and attend fairs, her focus became younger and emerging artists and photographers, with an emphasis on fashion photography. Last year, she was invited to open her own gallery, named Rosenbaum Contemporary just like her father’s, in Bal Harbour’s St. Regis hotel; her influence now extends throughout the property’s public areas, which are adorned with the works she has selected. Rosenbaum’s involvement and a growing number of local clients led her to relocate to Bal Harbour. “I love the area,” she enthuses. “The beach is beautiful; I run on it every day. There is a style and sophistication here and a great opportunity to meet international buyers.”
Her gallery has a particular allure. “What makes it unique is that it appeals to a fashion-forward luxury clientele,” she explains. “We have a mix of contemporary masters and emerging artists.”
Among her favorite recent finds are photographs by Simon Procter and Raphael Mazzucco. “Procter shot the couture in Paris last spring, and his panoramic views of the shows are amazing,” she notes. “I just installed a large-scale canvas of his work from the Valentino show in the hotel’s front lobby.”
As for Mazzucco, whose moody images often juxtapose rugged or eerie landscapes with the female form, Rosenbaum was so impressed with his mixed-media pieces that she featured his new collection, shot in Iceland, in a show during Art Basel Miami Beach this past December. The show, cohosted by Russell Simmons, was a great success, dramatically displayed on the oceanfront terrace at the St. Regis Bal Harbour, but it proved to be one of Rosenbaum’s most challenging ventures. “The artwork for the exhibit was held up for weeks because of Hurricane Sandy,” she says. “It was my first year doing an Art Basel event, and I wound up having 12 hours to set it up.”
Of course, the notably Zen Simmons remained unruffled. “I was so nervous, but he was very calm,” Rosenbaum recalls. “When he left, I asked him to put me in touch with his yoga teacher.”
photography by jim arbogast
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.