Earlier this year, a prominent U.S. collector addressed Art Basel’s outgoing global director, Marc Spiegler, at this week’s Miami show after the so-called “don’t say gay” bill passed the state in March. I wrote a letter saying that I refused to set foot in Florida because of This law restricts elementary schools from teaching students about sexual orientation and gender issues.
The man behind the bill is Florida Governor and Fox News star Ron DeSantis. He received his second term earlier this month and is set to run for president against Donald Trump in 2024. DeSantis is waging a culture war on other fronts as well. He banned abortion after 15 weeks in the state and recently introduced the Stop He Wake Act, which restricts education on key racial theories, including the concept of white privilege. A small reprieve was granted in August when a judge issued a temporary injunction against the latter bill, describing it as “clearly dystopian.”
Dystopia has become a familiar scene in U.S. politics, but Florida’s transition from battleground state to staunch GOP is of particular concern to some of Miami’s leading cultural figures. Argentinian-born mega collector Jorge Pérez said: People’s opinions are so extreme that there is no argument or middle ground. He believes that free speech is the cornerstone of American society. “Everyone should have the right to express what they want artistically,” Perez adds.
Born to Cuban exiles, Perez is part of Miami’s strong collector’s force, but the city’s political loyalties are mixed. Norman Brahmann, Rosa, Carlos de la Cruz, and Ken Griffin all donated generously to the Republican Party, while Mela Rubel and Martin Margulies wrote checks for the Democrats.
A longtime Hillary Clinton supporter who endorsed Republican Jeb Bush, Perez describes himself as a “liberal Democrat.” He adds: On the other hand, I think the Democrats have gone a little too far to the left. Perez said her former friendship with Donald Trump rifted when she refused to endorse Trump’s presidential campaign, citing differences on “nearly every policy” including immigration and the environment.
So how is Florida’s right-wing impact on Miami and its cultural scene?
Despite the chilling effects of increasingly right-wing politics in the state, Perez explains how Florida’s low-tax, business-oriented approach has contributed to a “new revival” of Miami’s cultural scene. pointing out. Pandemic. “That growth has been immense, and so has the art with it,” says Perez. “Miami is no longer just a city of sunshine and fun. It’s a serious place for business and art. It’s happening all year round now.”
Perez has helped raise the cultural level of Miami. Since 2011, the collector, who has made his fortune in developing luxury condominiums, donated $55 million to the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM, formerly Miami Art Museum), which contains significant collections of Latin American and Cuban art. above the door. He also recently donated to the Tampa Museum of Art in Cape Town and the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa.
His collection is growing rapidly, and since his last donation to PAMM in 2017, Perez has purchased over 5,000 works, nearly 700 of them by Cuban artists, many of them from Purchased after the July 11, 2021 protests. [artists in Cuba] I needed the money,” Perez says. Works by Tania Bruguera, Maria Magdalena Campos Pons, Carlos Garaicoa and Rubén Torres Llorca are currently on display in the exhibition. you know who you arein his private gallery, El Espacio 23.
Challenging issues are faced at exhibitions elsewhere in the state. At the Florida Jewish Museum – FIU, photographer Bonnie Lautenberg tackles women’s rights, specifically the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. At least 13 states in the United States now ban most abortions.
“It’s outrageous that women don’t have the right to choose what they want to do with their bodies,” says Lautenberg. “This is a threat to our democracy. The same people who stole our choices will eventually try to steal our other hard-won rights as well.”
As part of her retrospective, Lautenberg also exhibits Gunskill (2022), an image of an AR-15 style rifle overlaid with the Statue of Liberty. This piece was created for Giffords, an organization dedicated to saving lives from gun violence, led by former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was seriously injured in the 2011 shooting.
Photographers point out that the same senators who are pro-life are often also anti-gun control.
When I went to a fundraiser in Miami with my late husband, most Latinos were Democrats. increase
Lautenberg, who commutes between New York and Palm Beach, is the widow of longtime Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg. She points out how Latino voters in Florida have shifted to the right. An estimated 72% of registered Republicans on Miami-Dade are Hispanic, many of whom are Cuban-American. “When I went to a fundraiser in Miami with her late husband, most Latinos were Democrats. It leans right wing,” she says.
Traditional “Latino” issues such as immigration, fighting racism and identity politics are now often on the backburner of economic, religious and foreign policy concerns, said Lautenberg. suggesting.
Promoting diversity remains a priority for many in Miami’s art world. Gabriel Quilongo’s main motivation for launching his March gallery Jupiter was to provide a platform for artists from different socio-cultural backgrounds. The dealer, who fled his native Democratic Republic of the Congo after the war in the 1990s and his 2000s, initially moved from New York to Miami at the outbreak of the pandemic to set up his gallery his Mitchell-Innes & Nash pop-up. did. It was so successful that Kilongo went independent and opened a new space the following month, more than doubling his current gallery space.
This week, Kilongo is exhibiting at the Untitled Art fair, featuring paintings by self-taught Seattle artist Marcus Leslie Singleton, priced between $3,000 and $20,000.
He cites the number of “polarizing figures” in Miami, although his colleagues in the gallery world “tend to express political values that are utterly inconsistent with the ideas of the average Miami person.” It also points out that there is
Miami institutions also advocate for a diverse mix of artists, even when their financial backers hold conservative views. Norman Braman, for example, is the main patron of his ICA Miami, known for its progressive programming. “This is one of many museums in Miami to showcase artists who challenge the beliefs that DeSantis and Trump hold,” he says, Kilongo.
Dealers have been made aware of Florida’s ultra-conservative state by a group of forward-thinking collectors setting up spaces, including Beth Rudin DeWoody, who opened The Bunker in Palm Beach in 2017, and Ariel and Daphna. I think it’s going to fluctuate even more. Bentata is reportedly building a space that champions queer and black artists.
“Culturally speaking, Miami will start challenging cities like New York and Los Angeles in the next decade,” Kilongo believes.
Despite this, DeSantis remains a threat to many in Sunshine State. As the governor himself said, “Florida is where the awakened die.”
His stance also applies to some of the artists exhibiting at Art Basel in Miami Beach this week. Dallas-based artist Leslie Martinez presents a new series of abstract paintings at Texan Gallery And Now.
Created “specially for this moment,” as Martinez puts it, their work stems from the artist’s trans-nonbinary identity and ancestral history in the Rio Grande Valley on the border of Texas and Mexico.
I will bring as many Say Gay paintings to Florida as I can.
Leslie Martinez, Texas artist
For Martinez, who is exhibiting for the first time in Miami, what does “this moment” mean? “I suffer from deep grief and anger because I’m moving from being truly antiqueer to another with my work,” they say. I think I’m bringing a picture that says ‘Gay’. Bringing my work into this state speaks directly to the bill.