By Nicole Schubert | December 5, 2018 | Culture
This Miami Art Week experience art using nothing more natural than your five senses. Marcel Katz is showing everyone how using sensory functions is the ultimate method to absorb everything seen, heard, tasted, touched, and smelled. Enter The Art Plug Power House. Katz converted a historic police impound into an interactive modern art gallery featuring the largest influx of contemporary artists at 2018’s Art Basel Miami Beach. From Aholsniffsglue to Instagram’s official illustrator Ketnipz, to CB Hoyo, and Black Tape Project’s Joel Alvarez, this multifaceted playground is taking the words “Art Installation” to new heights, never seen or reached before. We sat down with Katz, to hear about his journey to The Art Plug, becoming the youngest art dealer in the world for Salvador Dali and joining forces with some of the most masterful minds the contemporary art world.
Marcel, tell us about The Art Plug Power House!
MARCEL KATZ: The Art Plug Power House is a full experiential art fair. I have over 30 artists from around the world showcasing their work and I developed this concept to serve as a platform to feature artists during Miami Art Week. Art Plug Power House is different than other traditional art fairs, guests can utilize their senses: touch, taste, smell, sound, it's a full 360 experience. We're producing more energy, more interaction and giving people the opportunity to meet the artists in a unique atmosphere. The backdrop setting is industrial, very rugged and contemporary and it really lets the art and installations take the main stage.
Of the 33 plus artists, who will you be featuring?
MK: We have a lot of amazing artists from around the globe including CB Hoyo, RhymezlikeDimez, Schoony, Jean Paul Fauves, Ketnipz, Betrand Fournier, Finnano Fenno, Francesco Vullo, Joel Alvarez from Black Tape Project, Kouroush Keynejad, Matthieu Venot, Tiagro Magro, Timmy Sneaks, Toot and Roberto Del Rio. US based artists participating include Chad Knight, Daniel Columbie, DetroitWick, For Those Who Sin, Jeff Cole, McFly, This is Addictive, Nicole Heere, FrankHaveMercy, TruthByNature, Sophodes and Zevi G, as well as established artists from Miami including Aholsniffsglue, Derick G, Dan Alva and Tyler Jove.
The largest artist showcase at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, who are some of your notable partners?
MK: I partnered with Atlantic Records, LYFT, High Hemp, Hip and Bone and Stolichnaya. Atlantic Records is going to have a musical showcase on Saturday on the High Hemp stage and bringing some really exciting talent as well as up and coming artists to perform. During the fair, I am also launching my new clothing line collab with Hip and Bone, which will be available for sale at their pop-up shop at the event. I also curated a fleet of 40+ LYFT vehicles featuring custom wraps with designs by some of my featured artists including CB Hoyo, Aholsniffsglue, Ketnipz and Finnano Fenno. The cars will be driving around Miami and have a custom air freshener scent I created with DetroitWick as well. It's a way to expand our footprint outside of the physical Art Plug Power House space.
A 30,000 square foot multi-faceted space, exhibiting sensory artworks and installations, what first inspired you to launch this one of a kind event?
MK: I was doing a lot of art fairs and I felt extremely limited. I’m not the most conventional person, and I wanted to break the norms and have people experience art in a different capacity. In addition to actually viewing the art, I’ve made all of these experiential elements to it which really makes it special.
Marcel, why choose a police-impound in Allapattah for the location?
MK: It’s funny because when I went to see the location, the guy who owns the impound happens to be an art collector friend of mine. I only want to work with people who believe in what I’m doing because if there’s no passion, you’re never going to get the results you want. He kept telling me I wouldn’t want the property, but I thought it was the perfect space, an unexpected cool location for Miami Art Week. It's experimental, it’s unique, and it’s a lot more inspiring.
What activations can The Art Plug Power House crowds look forward to seeing?MK: The Fake Gallery by CB Hoyo. It’s a four-bedroom house at the end of The High Voltage Highway (the main artist showcase area) that appears to have a gallery front when you walk in, but as you venture through space, it’s actually a front for money laundering. Its larger than any other activation in that area and don’t want to divulge too much, but needless to say, it’s pretty mind-blowing. Other big activations are from Ketnipz with the “Papa Bean Pizza Party”, DetroitWick’s “Scent Bubble”, and Aholsniffsglue Monster Truck show. Those artists are being highlighted on a different level.
Changing the way Miami locals, international tourists, and collectors view and see art, how did you first pioneer The Art Plug?
MK: I first started The Art Plug five years ago while I was still working in nightlife as the Creative Director at Opium Group. Llittle by little I phased out of working in nightlife and started focusing solely on The Art Plug brand. After I left Opium Group, I had also amassed a collection of art and wanted a way to sell some of the pieces which led to the creation of my own art dealership company, Marcel Katz Art.
You mentioned you started as a collector. What was the first painting you owned?
MK: The first piece I ever bought was an Aholsniffsglue piece. It is girls twerking on pepperoni pizza.
Was Aholsniffsglue your first client?
MK: Yes, that’s what sparked my whole relationship with him. I bought four of them and framed them in cool frames in a unique way. He appreciated that I did that. We have a great relationship and a lot of respect for one another.
You’re also the youngest art dealer in the world for Salvador Dali. How did this opportunity come about?
MK: They reached out to me and said they did some research on me and would be interested in learning more about me. The next thing I knew I was in New York, signing a contract with them sitting on a Dali couch, and the rest is history. I’m actually working on a Dali show right now for 2019.
Did you always have a profound love for art?
MK: I have been surrounded by art my entire life. My mother is a painter and my dad is very involved in the art and design community. I was never naturally artistically inclined in the traditional sense but always had a keen eye to discover talent and the ability to connect those who did.
The youngest art curator in Miami, you must have a favorite go-to gallery.
MK: My favorite place is The Perez Art Museum and I also really love visiting Markowicz Fine Art and Art Angels in the Design District. I also draw a lot of inspiration walking around the streets of Miami, especially Wynwood and being completely surrounded by art.
Do you see yourself expanding The Art Plug Power House to countries outside the US?
MK: Right now, I’m just focusing on Miami. Home court. People are coming to our city and I represent Miami. I think what I’m doing right now is risky. But if you never take a risk, you’ll never know if you could have done it or not. And I don’t want to be the guy who wondered, “what if?”
What are your plans for the future to continue to grow as a curator and art world personality?
MK: Eventually, I want to open a few more businesses including my own printing company soon. I’m expanding right now, and there are so many things I want to accomplish by next year. We’ve got some exciting things lined up for 2019. At Art Palm Beach in January, we will be doing our own scaled-down version of The Art Plug Power House along with curating a Salvador Dali showcase to commemorate the 30th anniversary since he passed. Next year, we will be launching a national mural campaign with Stolichnaya, collaborating with over 200 different artists who will be commissioned to do their own custom wall designs in over 150 cities.