When we opened an email from neighborhood staple Emerson Dorsch Gallery and read the words: "Farewell Wynwood!" all those in earshot experienced our dramatic yelps and cries of disappointment.
And if you were art-walking in Miami at the turn of the millennium, following the same 50 faces from gallery to gallery (literally there were like two galleries), thimbles of red wine and cans of Coors in hand, wandering with homeless dudes down the dark streets of Wynwood, you can relate to our shock and dismay at this mainstay's departure.
Fifteen years ago, Brook Dorsch came to Wynwood when there were only a handful of other art spaces here — Locust Projects, Bernice Steinbaum, the Bakehouse, and the Margulies Collection. The sleek, recently updated art space you see today on 24th Street was once a small spot on one of two plots of land. The other housed a crack den packed with old tires and rabid dogs.
Dorsch managed to hold down and fund the gallery with a full-time job as an engineer, putting internet on massive ships. He first opened a gallery in 1991 in his personal apartment off Coral Way. In more recent years, his wife, curator Tyler Emerson, joined him in this project.
He assures us that they're not closing, just moving. Whereto? That's yet to be revealed, but we'll let you know when we get the news.
Only a few years back, he called himself "a stupid guy who won't leave" Wynwood. But now, we get this sad news in an eblast! And that blast is the final nail in the coffin: The old Wynwood is dead. Only Bakehouse and Marguiles remain amidst a bevy of cool chains, like Warby Parker and Aesop. And for how hip those places are, Emerson Dorsch was/is truly the coolest thing in this part of town. They did things like host last year's "multidisciplinary series dedicated to exploring the critical roles of experience and accessibility in contemporary art practice and reception" called thisishappening. And it was a happening, and experimental. It even included a bacon eating contest. Bringing fun and music to art is something Emerson Dorsch has always done best.
Dorsch Gallery was/is the authentic, classy, creative cultural anchor this community needed. Perhaps we've battened down the hatches too late, Wynwood, because it's all over. The storm is here and we're drowning in popularity. And none of you'd be spending wasted (in both senses) hours at Wood or any local breweries if it weren't for Brook's bold move here a decade and a half ago.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
"Join Emerson Dorsch as it closes its current exhibitions, the gallery's last in its Wynwood location, home for 15 incredible years," the email read as our hearts broke. The closing reception is this Friday, May 29, from 6-10 p.m. You can see 3 for 8 Minus 23 by Robert Thiele and Habit: the politics of repetition, featuring works by Jenny Brillhart, Sol LeWitt, and Frances Trombly.
But if you can't make it tomorrow, Emerson Dorsch Gallery will host Farewell Wynwood! on Saturday, June 6, at 7 p.m.
They'll be partying their way outta here with a perfect parting lineup: Michael John Hancock of ANR, Rat Bastard, Otto Von Schirach, DJ Lost Beuys, and more. But, man, is this sad news for the community. The only thing that gives us any sense of security is the hope that the couple that dedicated themselves to this magnificent artistic investment also made a fruitful financial one. Because if anyone deserves a prize in this community, it's Brook and Tyler.
Farewell, friends! But don't worry, we'll be right behind you headed to the next hotspot while it's still actually cool.