Cultured Magazine

February/March 2016

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118 CULTURED PHOTO BY FORMENTO & FORMENTO (MILITANA); TROY CAMPBELL (ARCILA-DUQUE) Private View The Miami-based Art Design Project provides an ambitious new platform for local artists. BY SIOBHAN MORRISSEY An assemblage of black-and-white snapshots of club members once filled the walls of a second-floor corridor that leads to a private restaurant in the Soho Beach House in Miami Beach. Today, those photographs have been replaced by art exhibitions curated by The Art Design Project. The brainchild of interior designer Juan Carlos Arcila-Duque and art dealer Valentina Garcia Militana, The Art Design Project highlights Miami artists, both emerging and established. Their ambitious plan calls for six new exhibits annually. The Art Design Project pairs the private show—open to club members only—with a public one at the Parmigiani Gallery in Wynwood. The idea is to promote local artists throughout the year, long after Art Basel Miami Beach has drawn crowds of collectors. "We need to nurture our people," Arcila-Duque says. "We cannot just go into a dark hole of no exhibitions after Art Basel." Garcia Militana adds: "Having run a gallery for three years in Wynwood, I noticed it was difficult to get people to come out to the exhibitions. There are so many, and also people only go if there is a party and liquor. It is important to find alternate ways to show art." Arcila-Duque, who is on the Junior Host Committee of Art Basel Miami Beach, joined forces with Garcia Militana, formerly of Sotheby's New York and currently a liaison to The Elkon Gallery. Both New York transplants, they bonded over their shared belief that the Miami cultural community should provide a better infrastructure for local artists to thrive. In the past, many felt the need to move to New York in order to receive recognition in Miami. Several home-grown talents have followed that route, including Daniel Arsham and Teresita Ferná ndez. "Not everybody has to go to New York," Arcila-Duque says. "My dream is that more galleries, more fairs and more museums will support the artists who live and work in Miami." And it seems like the tide is beginning to shift. Case in point: the husband- and-wife team of Formento & Formento, whose first solo exhibition is currently on view through March with The Art Design Project. The Formentos recently moved to the Miami area, following several years of cross-country travel from New York to Los Angeles and stops in 25 states in between. Their exhibit, "End of Estrangement: Photographs of America and Cuba," also features images they took of the island nation. Their show follows an installation by Christian Curiel, who expressly created 14 paintings depicting a beachside bacchanal from sunrise to sundown, with all the light-heartedness associated with picnics, fire pits and fireworks. While the Soho display is confined to a small space, Arcila-Duque and Garcia Militana hope it piques the curiosity of club members and hotel guests. The works along the 30-foot corridor serve as an amuse-bouche for the 1,500- square-foot exhibition at the Parmigiani Gallery. Finida With Malecon Boys, 2014 (top), by Formento & Formento, from "End of Estrangement," curated by Valentina Garcia Militana and Juan Carlos Arcila-Duque.

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