Call it irony. On the single biggest day in Miami's visually stunning history, as Art Basel begins and the Perez Art Museum opens on the bay, media announces a three-tower, 2-million-square-foot giant on the Miami River.
Complaints have been lodged about naming the city's art museum after the magnanimous Related Group Chairman Jorge Perez -- which by the way is the Jorge M. Pérez Art Museum of Miami-Dade County -- but the problem is far deeper. For days now the Miami Herald and everyone else in town has been hyping the museum without noting that five board members resigned in protest when the name was announced... and several collectors have allegedly created their own spaces.
Of course, you could paint a rosy picture on all of this. The Miami Herald quoted Perez on his new tower this morning saying this:
"This is the most important development in the urban core... [This building] is the link that will unify the neighborhood by bringing pedestrian-friendly walkways from east Brickell all the way to Brickell CityCentre. Our vision will meet the robust demand for additional residential, hospitality, and entertainment facilities in the area."
Indeed for days, the Herald and everyone else has been banging the drum for art at condos. Just the other days Ina Paiva Cordle penned a story that described how art was a great selling tool for developers.
Probably the city's second biggest real estate name, Armando Codina, is using big-time art in his buildings. It's happening not just in Brickell but even out in Doral. Real estate brokers, including Sotheby's, hire art experts to work with salespeople so they sound smart.
And the condos sell: "Every building I can think of that has invested in extraordinary art in their public areas has never had a problem selling and never had a problem reselling," Realtor Mark Zilbert told the Herald.
Of course, the synergy between art and cash goes even deeper, as witnessed by the fact that UBS, a Swiss bank, recently paid a bundle to be the main sponsor behind the Art Basel brand. The former had to beat out Deutsche Bank, another huge player in the art market for the honor.
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It is estimated that $3 billion of art will be be on sale at just Art Basel Miami Beach this year, a 20 percent increase in value from last year. Henry Kravis, Mark Zuckerberg and Martha Stewart are among many big money types expected to be here. There is a Henry Moore sculpture "Two Piece Reclining Figure No. 1" on sale for $8.5 million.
Oh yeah, and did we note the dinner hosted by Louis Vuitton and the brunch for a Gap T-shirt?