Emerson Dorsch Gallery was a pioneer on Miami's burgeoning art scene. Brook Dorsch founded the gallery, supported by his day job as an engineer, as a space to show work by local artists. When his wife, Tyler Emerson, came onboard to help curate, they launched one of the first galleries to open in Wynwood.
That was more than 15 years ago, way before trendy boutiques and juice bars began flocking to the neighborhood. In 2015, soaring rents and overcrowding pushed Emerson Dorsch Gallery to join the growing exodus of galleries that marched north, seeking cheaper overhead in Miami's Little Haiti, Little River, and Allapattah neighborhoods.
Almost two years later, Dorsch and Emerson are ready to cut the ribbon on their new home, located at NW Second Avenue and NW 59th Street, in the heart of Little Haiti. The new digs come with a new name — EDG — and a solo show, "Unnatural Life," by Brooklyn-based South Floridian Elisabeth Condon.
Despite the planned celebrations, the move isn't without its challenges. Apart from the obvious logistical hurdles, the residents of Little Haiti have grown wary of the recent crop of galleries that seek to inject the historic neighborhood with art-led gentrification. On the heels of the new opening, New Times spoke with Emerson to find out how two of Miami's most established gallerists plan to navigate the increasingly fragmented local art scene.
New Times: Emerson Dorsch Gallery is now EDG. What was the impetus for the rebranding?
Tyler Emerson: We are still Emerson Dorsch, but inside texts, press releases, and social media, we sometimes refer to ourselves as EDG, short for "Emerson Dorsch Gallery," as an abbreviation. It is sometimes important to explicitly say we are a gallery for folks who aren’t familiar with us or they knew us as Dorsch Gallery.
What are some of the advantages to your new home?
We are part of a migration of small businesses and art galleries from Wynwood to Little Haiti and Little River. Other galleries close to our new location are Nina Johnson, Pan American, and Anthony Spinello, among others. We are next door to Panther [opening soon] and Clive’s, both of which started in Wynwood.
The community in Little Haiti has met the recent influx of Miami's art scene with trepidation. How do you plan to assuage the anxiety? What's your message to the community?
We are a family-run art gallery with roots in the South Florida art scene. We are going to put up good shows, just as we always have. We’ll also take advantage of our rooftop terrace by programming some outdoor concerts and neighborhood-friendly events. Our neighbors are welcome.
You're inaugurating the reopening with a show by Elisabeth Condon. Why did you choose this artist?
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We have worked with Elisabeth Condon since 2006. Her last solo show in Miami was in 2012, and at the Art and Culture Center/Hollywood in 2013. Since then, her work has developed significantly, and we want to share her wonderful paintings with our audience here.
Condon's work seems tied to the colors and textures of South Florida. Will that focus on local relevance remain a big part of EDG going forward?
Absolutely, Condon’s paintings respond to Florida’s landscape. Seeing aspects of our surroundings and environment here in South Florida is a real pleasure, but it is only one way that an artwork can draw you in. In April, we will show Paula Wilson, whose work we first saw at Cannonball several years ago. Wilson lives in New Mexico, where she maintains a rich multifaceted practice pushing the boundaries of painting and printmaking. In May, we will show Robert Chambers, a sculptor whose work Brook Dorsch has known and supported since the 1990s. The common thread is that this is work we know well, and we want to support its growth from gallery shows into more ambitious projects. We want to share these artists’ work with our community in compelling ways so that they may support it too.
February 10 through March 31. EDG will celebrate its grand reopening from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, February 10, at EDG, 5900 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-576-1278; emersondorsch.com. Admission is free.