Art Miami Director Nick Korniloff on What Sets South Florida Apart

Nick Korniloff, director of Art Miami
Nick Korniloff, director of Art Miami
Courtesy of Art Miami

Art Basel Miami Beach eclipses most of the events surrounding the first week in December. Yet, despite the financial heft carried on by the behemoth, the satellite art fairs, gallery and museum shows, and various other functions that surround ABMB actually fall under the auspices of Miami Art Week. At the helm of the one of the ancillary activities is Nick Korniloff, the director of Art Miami.

With tents located in midtown, Art Miami is the fair for locals. Now in it's 26th year, and with a New York City off-shoot newly launched this year, Korniloff is planning to make this year's fair bigger and better than previous ventures mixing new unseen talent with established names. With the festivities a few days away, New Times spoke with the director about what he and his team have in the works, along with some surprises sure to please eager fair attendants. 

New Times: What are some of the things the average fair attendee can expect from Art Miami this year?
Nick Korniloff: Visitors to Art Miami have learned to expect a beautifully designed fair with a relaxing ambiance that encourages the acquisition of important quality works from the 20th and 21st century. The fair is able to service the most seasoned collectors, along with cultivating new serious collectors. This year, on our 26th edition, the fair has a very impressive line-up of major works of art, ranging from rare works by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, to a large, painted steel motorized sculpture by Alexander Calder with an asking price of $12.8 million. Each year, we receive more qualified applications from international dealers with very strong fairs and artist pedigrees than we are able to accept, and accordingly, the quality and variety of great art on display continues to be outstanding, and that’s what the over 85,000 visitors to our fair can expect from us.

How does Miami Art Week plan to differentiate itself from Art Basel? 
Each fair in Miami has its own distinctive identity and personality and niche collecting audience. What happens in Miami is an anomaly in the overall art market. The stars have aligned perfectly, as Miami has become the most important art market in relation to art fairs globally every first week in December. We have the perfect central location, infrastructure, ambiance and desire as a community to host this week at the highest standard. 

Art Miami and Art Basel are really the only two fairs that offer major blue chip works for collectors. Obviously, there are overlaps in some distinct periods of work (Classical Modern, Post War, POP) represented and contemporary artists who are internationally collected and highly desirable to enhance existing collections... Serious fun is just one of the things visitors can look forward to. Art Basel, from its very beginnings in Switzerland, had an obvious European flavor, from many of its exhibiting dealers as well as attracting high quality secondary market works from abroad. Art Miami also draws artists from over 60 different countries around the globe, so there certainly are going to be similarities.

Art Miami 2014, VIP Lounge
Art Miami 2014, VIP Lounge
Courtesy of Art Miami

What are some of the trends on the art market that you think we'll be seeing at Basel, and at large? 
I like to refer to it as Miami Art Week, not just Basel. While we are all very appreciative of what Art Basel Miami Beach brings to the city, it’s grown to be so much more than one fair. Miami Art Week is inclusive of the efforts of many people who help make it a dynamic, city-wide destination week for art, design and culture. Art market trends are often unpredictable. Collective wisdom indicates that the art market remains strong right now, as the recent auction results are usually a reliable barometer. I think you will see the big price names of primary and secondary market artists be collected. Those artists that have recently had or currently have major exhibitions or retrospectives at powerhouse museums, galleries and biennials will be heavily sought after.

In addition, those younger artists that have been working with top curators and who have been collected quietly will have a breakout moment this Art Week. Experienced, well-seasoned collectors tend to have their favorites. Like other commodities that are traded, auctioned or sold, modern and contemporary art is very much based on quality, supply and demand. 

How has Miami's art scene improved in the past year? What are some ways it can improve for next year? 
Miami’s art scene remains strong with new museums coming online and collections being enhanced at the older ones. Most art world professionals and critics agree that this city is now ranked third in the nation after Los Angeles and New York City in terms of overall vitality and creativity and access to first rate museums, curators, notable private collectors, and art fairs. The perpetual motion of Miami as an art center will naturally set the stage for improvement and expansion as it continues to mature and progress. Miami continues to become an international community where real estate remains very important to the local economy and also the continued growth of the collector market.

Art Miami 2014 Exhibition Space
Art Miami 2014 Exhibition Space
Courtesy of Art Miami

Art Miami is a seminal part of ushering local galleries to the national and international stage. How do you think local artists fare once they gain broad attention? 
Local artists really do have a distinct advantage living in a community with so much creative vitality and support. We are certainly proud of the support and encouragement our fairs have contributed to the success and overall achievement of local artists. Once they gain wide-ranging attention, it’s a combination of things, such as a distinctive voice, recognizable singular quality, increasing critical achievement, and professional representation that propel artists into attaining world-wide exposure. It’s not much different for an artist that lives elsewhere. Burning ambition, genuine talent, cultivating public and private acquisitions and an assertive personality, historically, move an artist’s career perpetually forward.

Upcoming Events

You launched Art New York this year. What was that experience like, and what were some of the lessons you learned from the recent launch that you'll bring to this year's fair? 
The inaugural launch of Art Miami New York in Manhattan was a considerable success for us – we learned how strong the Art Miami brand really is. It was with great debate that we lead with the Art Miami before New York as we really wanted to make a statement for our hometown in the greatest city for the arts in the U.S. Our loyal international collector base came out and we complimented the New York spring auctions and many of our dealers did very well. Pier 94 is a great location, and this year we will open on a Tuesday instead of a Thursday and extend our presence, which was requested by our dealers and the collecting audience – New York is a busy art market in May. This year, we will rename the show Art New York, presented by Art Miami to keep New York in the spotlight.

We continue to sharpen our skills and perspectives and pay close attention to the observations of participating dealers and visitors. Our goal is to maintain the recognizable excellence that people expect [of Art Miami].

Art Miami
December 1 through 6 at 3101 NE First Ave., Miami. For more information regarding schedule, and pricing visit artmiami.com. 


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