Miami Beach has a new art scene located in Bal Harbour Village. With the introduction of a new public art program, Unscripted, hotel guests and residents have access to exclusive Art Chats, year-round free admission to 18 of Miami’s top museums and private collections, as well as temporary public artwork commissions throughout the Village. We sat down with the Village’s art curator, Claire Breukel, and the Mayor of Bal Harbour Village, Gabriel Groisman, to hear about this new initiative and what residents and can expect as well as upcoming events to look forward to this summer.
Why did you choose to launch this new rotation of art exhibitions and installations in Bal Harbour Village?
GABRIEL GROISMAN: We wanted to find a way to celebrate Miami’s vibrant art scene in Bal Harbour Village. The success of Art Basel and local museums such as PAMM and the Frost Museum of Science has continued to grow, and we want to ensure we’re offering our guests and residents an immersive cultural experience within our one-mile radius. Working alongside Claire, we have been able to carefully curate every detail of this program and provide our community with just that.
How do you plan to take Unscripted to even greater heights and even further define Bal Harbour as a cultural destination?
MGG: We’re constantly looking to evolve and consistently provide residents and visitors with refined cultural experiences. As we continue to create innovative programming for our community, we are also looking to collaborate further with our renowned hotels and Bal Harbour Shops. Given the flexibility of our public spaces, there is no telling what can be created and installed as part of our art program. We are lucky to work with Claire as she has a deep understanding of every facet of Bal Harbour Village, and we look forward to continue growing Unscripted across the destination.
Tell us more about Unscripted!
CLAIRE BREUKEL: Founded in 2013, Unscripted is the international art program for Bal Harbour Village. Based on partnerships and collaborations, the program originates dynamic temporary public art projects including ambitious art commissions by South Floridian artists, rotating photo exhibitions on the beach path curated by internationally renowned institutions, Art Chats with sought-after contemporary art experts as well as custom tours to private collections, museums and more. Additionally, hotel guests and residents of Bal Harbour Village have free access to Miami’s top museums and private collections through our Art Access program.
What exhibitions will residents and tourists have to look forward to this summer?
CB: We have an incredible and challenging exhibition by Jill Peters titled Burnesha of Albania, which will be on view from July 1st to October 30th. Locals and travelers can discover the stories of seven of 30 remaining burnesha – women who have, since the 15th century, chosen to live their lives as men in exchange for a vow of celibacy in order to participate in activities and privileges reserved for men. In 2013 the images from this photo series went viral, but they have never been shown together. We worked with Jill to write her personal story about meeting each burnesha, and her story will be told alongside these impactful portraits and landscapes.
The Andy Warhol Museum Collaboration, opening in November, is so exciting! Which works will be included in this project and how did it come to formation?
CB: The Andy Warhol Museum has an incredibly dynamic contemporary art program showcasing artists working now who are inspired by the work of Andy Warhol. New York-based Pacifico Solano is one of these artists, and Andy Warhol Museum’s chief curator Jose Carlos Diaz has curated an exhibition of his work that is inspired by Warhol’s 1985 publication America. The exhibit explores the language of media when presenting the male body within ideas of sea, sky and landscape. The images are abstract in nature and will undoubtedly play with Bal Harbour’s beautiful beach path context.
This collaboration will be featured on one of the world’s only beach path art exhibitions. Tell us what makes this so unique and special!
CB: Along Bal Harbour Beach, we have a public walking, running and cycling path on which we feature three annual exhibitions organized by Unscripted in partnership with renowned cultural institutions across the world. The exhibitions comprise 52 images and texts, offering both a quick visual experience if running by as well as didactics if passersby would like to engage further. The exhibitions read as a series of signs in two circles and can be read from left to right or right to left, which also offers the opportunity to be very playful. For example, O’Miami created 4 poems for the site that could be read either way and in parts inviting multiple dynamic readings. It's a very unique setting.
What can residents and visitors expect to see in the future of Unscripted?
CB: Renowned photographer Jess T. Dugan is flying in to speak with Jill Peters about her Burnesha of Albania project and will help unpack complex ideas around gender and identity. We will also be doing a private tour of the home of Alexa and Adam Wolman who are, in my opinion, one the “coolest” and most ambitious contemporary art collectors in Miami, building their Coco Plum home around their art. Those interested in Art Basel Miami Beach should stay in Bal Harbour for the week, as residents and hotel guests receive exclusive complimentary access to NADA, Untitled, Pulse Art Fair, Art Miami, Context, Aqua Art Fair and our new partner Scope art fair with their Art Access card.
Along with your advisory board, how do you choose which projects or artists to host and showcase?
CB: Our program is socially driven. We support diverse dialogue and aim to provide curators, artists and organizations with opportunities to work on ambitious projects that are quite literally “out of the box,” an opportunity to do something unique and different. This means that you likely won’t find exhibitions and programming like this anywhere elsewhere in Miami. Personally, if I find a project that I’m yearning to learn more about, I know it’s something I want to present to our committee for consideration.
As the curator of Unscripted, can you share with us your behind the scenes insights of the program?
CB: Curating a contemporary art program for a city like Bal Harbour Village requires a unique approach, unlike any other space. In Bal Harbour, my relationships with residents, guests and venues are personal which I truly love, and I also work with the greater art community and international guests at the cutting edge of their field and from diverse places. In many ways, the art program becomes a meeting point for many worlds, and my role requires flexibility and responsiveness. I am extremely fortunate to work with Mayor Groisman who is an advocate for the arts, as our Village Manager Jorge Gonzalez and Assistant Village Manager Ramiro Inguanzo. I find curating for Bal Harbour such a unique, exciting and meaningful opportunity.