The Collectors: Dan and Kathryn Mikesell, Miami
The Mikesells—an attractive pair of tech business leaders and devoted collectors—are an engaging fixture on the Miami art scene. They started collecting together just after they married 14 years ago, and they also founded the coveted Fountainhead Residency/Studios/Haus to provide artists (both local and international) with support and creative space.
Remember when: Currently, the duo has about 400 pieces in the collection, ranging from paintings and sculpture to video (with highlights including works by Daniel Arsham; Marquis Lewis, aka Retna; and Ahmed Alsoudani), and they’ve retained some fond memories of past Basel weeks: “We always have a few parties at our house. We once hosted an event for Moby and the artist Andrew Schoultz, followed by a dinner for the bands Holy Ghost! and Neon Indian, and the crew from Paris’s Le Baron,” Dan Mikesell says. “They eventually needed to get to a show at Bardot and no taxis were available, so I just put them all on the bed of our pickup truck and drove them there myself. Their ‘handlers’ were aghast, but the Baron guys loved it.” Kathryn Mikesell points out, “Yeah, and someone even shouted, ‘This is so American!’”
Looking Forward: For this edition, the Mikesells are eagerly anticipating visits not only to Art Basel Miami Beach, where two Fountainhead artists are showing in the Art Positions section— Agustina Woodgate with Spinello Projects and Atsushi Kaga with Mother’s Tankstation—but also to some of the alternative fairs, particularly DesignMiami, NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance), Pulse, Scope, and Art Miami. They’re equally enthused about a new fair, Untitled, which will be housed in a tent designed by Keenen Riley Architects, as well as Miami Art Museum’s annual Party on the Plaza (with its “New Work Miami” exhibition), and the Vanity Fair event at the Museum of Contemporary Art, where a major exhibition for vanguard video artist Bill Viola will be on display.
Heart Art: Regarding advice for new buyers, Dan suggests taking pictures of favored pieces and building relationships with a few galleries. Adds Kathryn: “Buy with your heart, know your budget, and don’t be intimidated. You don’t need an art history degree—just interest and passion.”
Kathryn and Dan Mikesell at their home in Miami’s historic Morningside neighborhood
The Curators: Shamim M. Momin and Christine Y. Kim,
Both Shamim M. Momin and Christine Y. Kim are accomplished curators who moved from New York to Los Angeles with a shared interest in public/site-specific art—work that transcends traditional gallery walls. Momin was the associate curator for contemporary art at the Whitney Museum of American Art (where she co-curated the 2004 and 2008 Biennials), while Kim departed from The Studio Museum in Harlem (she was its associate curator from 2000 to 2008). Together, they cofounded LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division), a nonprofit public art initiative, although Kim is no longer involved now that she has joined the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as an associate curator.
Time Limits: For the duo, Miami Art Week is certainly hectic, but Momin has a system: “I make lists and stick to them. In earlier years, I spent more time at the evening events than I do now. So I try to see everything I want to see before I fit those in.” Kim says she doesn’t stay at one place more than 30 minutes (unless there’s a dinner or project she’s involved in), and she opts for traveling alone or with a very small group “to get to venues quickly and efficiently.”
Back to the Future: Recollecting indelible moments from the 2011 edition, Kim mentions an Art Public performance she curated featuring an intoning procession—including artist Theaster Gates and The Black Monks of Mississippi—striding from the Miami Beach Convention Center to the Bass Museum of Art, and eventually the beach, as numerous onlookers spontaneously followed. Kim is working on Art Public again, promising work that has more “dynamism in scale, approach, and typology, from sculpture to video to performance in Collins Park.” She’s also keen on visiting NADA, as well as private collections and museum shows.
Eau Yes, They Did: Momin’s 2012 plans include soaking in the curatorial possibilities of a city as unique as Miami: “Back in the summer of 2010, I met with [Ohwow cofounder] Al Moran, and he told me about Flagler Memorial Island, which became the site for our Basel exhibition The Island. We went to visit it on a boat and realized it was too chockablock with other boats to ground, so we dove in from afar, fully clothed, and swam to shore to explore the site—that became what is still one of my favorite exhibitions of my career.”
Shamim M. Momin and Christine Y. Kim at the Chris Burden Metropolis in California.
The Museum Director: Mark Robbins, New York
When Mark Robbins came to Miami in 2000 to create a series of billboards for the Miami Arts Project (he was one of five artists), he immediately was taken by the city’s chaotic and peculiar cultural mishmash. “It seemed like a new frontier, but the speed at which the Miami art scene has developed is truly incredible,” he says. This year, Robbins will be coming down for the first time as the new executive director at the vaunted International Center of Photography in New York.
Through the Lens: A compelling artist in h is own right, Robbins also has had a productive 25-year institutional career—from his role as the curator of architecture at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, to director of design at the National Endowment for the Arts and dean of the School of Architecture at Syracuse University. But photography has always been a salient part of his aesthetic sensibility. “For me, the best photos can show us very familiar things in the most unexpected ways, like Andreas Gursky’s satellite images of the earth’s oceans,” he says.
Art Week Strategy: Robbins recognizes the challenge of taking in so much material: “You need to pause and breathe. The whole city is turned upside down, and everyone is thinking and talking about the arts. But you should make a schedule and decide on what terrain you really want to cover.” Robbins is especially looking forward to Christine Y. Kim’s curation of the Art Public sector, the new Absolut art bar on the beach, the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation’s 10th-anniversary exhibition, photographer Andy Freeberg’s photo portfolio in Art Basel Miami Beach magazine, and Richard Tuttle leading the annual Art Basel Conversations series.
Enduring Memory: “I recall a birthday party at [former Miami Art Museum Director] Terence Riley’s house one year,” Robbins says. “There were all these fantastic people (Thelma Golden, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas), with huge, glowing balloons over the pool, and great caipirinhas and conversation. That’s what I love about Miami Art Week—meeting new people, learning and seeing new things.”
Mark Robbins at New York’s International Center of Photography
The Dealer: Marianne Boesky, New York
Growing up surrounded by art, Marianne Boesky always imagined she’d open a gallery in Soho—not such a quixotic notion since that’s exactly what she did in 1996. Now, more than 15 years later, Boesky runs two of New York’s foremost contemporary art spaces under her name (one on the Upper East Side, the other in Chelsea), representing such notable work as the vigorous, gutsy paintings of Barnaby Furnas, the fluid sculptures and mixed-media installations of Diana Al-Hadid, and even the lesser-known, non-film pieces by John Waters.
From the Art: In terms of what art she prefers, Boesky says, “What I’m drawn to is ever-evolving. Presently, I’m really interested in artists’ personal histories and narratives being woven into abstract form.” She’ll be spotlighting Al-Hadid, along with Anthony Pearson, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Kon Trubkovich, Hannah van Bart, Jay Heikes, Andisheh Avini, and Donald Moffett at her booth at Art Basel Miami Beach.
Traffic Jam: When it comes to navigating the Miami Art Week madness, Boesky recommends cabbing it with a few companions. “Last year, after the opening night previews, I headed out to some events with two friends and a very accommodating taxi driver who was willing to stay with us throughout the evening. At each stop, we seemed to multiply, and by the last event, we had piled what felt like a dozen people into that poor taxi. The stop at A-Rod’s house was definitely a highlight.”
Bigger and Better: Boesky knows this edition may be busier than ever, given how much the art world has grown: “The sheer size and breadth of it—the number of artists, galleries, curators, and collectors has exploded around the globe.” That means she’ll have her hands full running her Basel booth. Still, she never misses a visit to the Rubell Family Collection and the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse: “Miami is home to an amazingly dedicated group of art collectors, and all the while I love seeing so many people in such good moods at once. Never underestimate the benefit of a little sunshine.”
Marianne Boesky on her private terrace.