For years, gallerists have complained that development in Wynwood has raised real estate prices and crowded the local marketplace, making it difficult for arts organizations to run a successful business in the area.
Now, the problem has spread to Art Basel week fairs, too.
That's according to Joe Amrhein, owner of New York City's Pierogi Gallery and one of the organizers of the SEVEN Miami art fair, which has canceled its 2013 event due to problems with city permitting.
SEVEN has ranked among the most provocative satellite fairs to carve out a niche during the Art Basel madness in Miami each year. In 2010, New Times called the fair "the highlight of Art Basel." And in 2011, SEVEN was home to one of the more buzzworthy (read: uncomfortable) exhibits of the year: artist Yishay Garbasz' highly personal documentation of her gradual transformation through surgery and hormone treatment from man into woman -- including a jar containing her post-op testicles on display.
The space SEVEN had planned to rent during Art Basel this year, a warehouse at 31 NW 29th St. in Wynwood, ran into debt issues, Amrhein says. "There was a lien on the property, and the owner of the building was unwilling to take care of the lien, and the city would not allow a permit without the lien being cleared," he explains. By then, he says, it was "too late in the day to find a new building."
In years past, organizers might have had time to find a new warehouse that could host the fair, Amrhein says. "Wynwood was always a location that seemed viable, because there were so many empty buildings all the time," he explains. But this year, he continues, increased demand has led to heightened prices and landlords unwilling to book their buildings early as they wait for the most lucrative deal. "Everything seems to be going up, and the owners are finding a viable opportuinty to make a considerable chunk of money," Amrhein says. "It's becoming very difficult."
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Not so difficult, however, that SEVEN's giving up on Miami altogether. "We're definitely planning on doing SEVEN again next year," Amrhein promises. "We'll keep you posted."
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