December in Miami means one thing, Miami Art Week, along with a dizzying array of parties, dinners, gallery openings and after parties, each more fun and star-struck than the last—but only one is putting “play” at its center.
Arriving on the sandy beach outside of the Miami Beach Edition comes Play by American Express Platinum, in partnership with PlayLab, Inc. & Mattel Creations.
Opening on Thursday, Dec. 7, and running through Saturday, Dec. 9, Play will feature a window into the past, bringing to life reimagined versions of iconic toys as limited edition collectibles and art pieces. Visionary artists Salehe Bembury, Eny Lee Parker, Surin Kim, Serban Ionescu and Kumkum Fernando have all been tapped for the effort.
The gallery will be fully immersive and offer guests an opportunity to let their inner child out and their imaginations run free. The pieces, which will vary in price and edition size, will be available for purchase. The gallery will be open to Platinum and Centurion card members and their guests.
At the recent artist preview, we caught up with some of the featured artists to talk about the inspiration for these artful toys and what we can expect from the gallery.
“Childhood and nostalgia inspired me to create the Spunge vinyl toy, a three-dimensional art piece that brings my brand’s logo to life,” says artist Salehe Bembury. “Growing up in New York City helped me explore my full potential of creativity. Collaborating with American Express Platinum and PlayLab, Inc., has allowed me to elevate the idea of play and exploration through art."
“My primary message through creating ‘Benny’ is that ‘play’ is a universal experience,” says Eny Lee Parker about her piece, a beautiful one-of-a-kind classic plush toy handcrafted from high-end leftover fabrics. “It's an essential part of life that can manifest in countless forms, reminding us of the importance of playfulness and creativity in our daily lives. That’s why I was especially excited to collaborate with American Express Platinum and PlayLab Inc., to reimagine an iconic toy as a limited-edition collectible piece of art.”
Surin Kim is a South Korean female artist known for her bright and loud pieces, and she put her full signature on a colorful toy car that pops right off the road.
“Since I was young, I was always very into robots and cars,” Kim says. “This ‘Be Happy Be Rich’ toy car, although inanimate, was designed with the belief that it possesses a kind of life. It was a powerful experience to collaborate with American Express Platinum and PlayLab, Inc., to create this nostalgic toy and embrace my inner child.”
“In bringing Play to life, we were inspired by the rising trend of ‘kidulting’ and embracing the happiest moments of childhood,” says Bess Spaeth, Senior Vice President of U.S. Premium Products and Membership Rewards at American Express. “During a year when retro toys are having a moment, from the Barbie movie to the Lego icon series, Miami Art Week is the perfect opportunity to bring that trend to life and give Platinum Card Members a space to interact, explore, and best of all, play.”
The exhibition will be fully immersive and interactive and open to card members from Thursday to Saturday, Dec. 7 to 9. The limited edition collectibles will be sold in person throughout those dates and online starting Sunday, Dec. 10. Learn more at americanexpress.com.
Photography by: Courtesy of American Express