Art fairs in South Florida are nothing new. But an art fair where both the art and the venue are for sale? That's the concept of Art Fort Lauderdale, a four-day fair calling itself “the ultimate open house,” merging the worlds of art collection and real estate.
A departure from fairs such as Art Basel and its satellites, which are typically held in one large venue like a convention center or massive tent, Art Fort Lauderdale will be held at eight waterfront properties that range from $1.6 million to $25 million, all set along the Intracoastal. To add another layer of luxury, the only modes of transportation between venues are yacht and water taxi. Think of it as the next step in real estate's increasing influence on the art world, especially in South Florida, where luxury developments often lure buyers via expensive works by big-name artists.
Andrew Martineau, founder of Art Fort Lauderdale, says the fair is targeting buyers outside the typical Miami Art Week viewer. “We wanted to attract a market that Art Basel can’t reach. These are people who can purchase or sell a million-dollar property. Showing them art in an actual million-dollar property is a nonintimidating way to introduce them to art,” he says. “People who have money are usually hiring interior designers to go to fairs for them. The experience is more homey in a property like this, and the individual is more apt to purchase.”
More than 100 artists will show their work at Art Fort Lauderdale. One $25 million, nearly 9,000-square-foot property, built for Oscar Meyer’s granddaughter in the 1960s, will show work by seven artists — one for each bedroom. Pieces will include installations, digital and technology pieces, and performance art. In a participatory virtual-reality piece by Mad Studios, an artist will create a painting in virtual reality, and visitors can add to the piece.
The second location, a $2.6 million property, will present solely independent artists, those who aren't represented by a gallery. Titled "Art Indie," the collection includes both representational and abstract paintings, colorful and desaturated work, and ceramic modeling. Next is a series of five townhouses, for sale for $1.6 million each, which are curated by galleries. All four floors of the townhouses will be used to show art.
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The final destination is the sales center for Ocean Land Investments, a luxury real-estate investment firm based in Fort Lauderdale. The sales center will be the venue for works by two established career artists: digital media pioneer Laurence Gartel and painter Barry Gross. Gartel’s 1986 piece Lip Service will be for sale. The black-and-white work is a glitchy-looking portrait of a woman with three perfectly formed mouths covering the right side of her face, and a men’s wristwatch covering her left eye. The sales center will also be the location for artist talks and discussions with founders of the Fort Lauderdale Art Walk and FAT Village.
The combination of multimillion-dollar properties and notoriously expensive art is bound to be comfortable to some and intimidating to others. Martineau says, “The properties we’re showcasing all range from $1.5 million-plus. The area that we’re showing is a high-net-worth area. But the fair is open to the general public. It’s not exclusive, and everyone is welcome.”
Art Fort Lauderdale
VIP opening Wednesday, January 11, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Ocean Land Investment Sales Center HQ, 1800 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Regular hours are Thursday, January 12, through Sunday, January 15, with pickup at Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach, 801 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, from 1 to 8 p.m. Tickets cost $35 to $150. Visit artftlauderdale.com.