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Sometimes we all need a good dose of art and culture so below we leave with some suggestions about the top galleries in Miami
Wynwood and the nearby have become famous for their bustling art scene and today boasts ascending 75 galleries and artist-run spaces.
During hyper-crowded days, it can be daunting to distinguish the first-class programs from the more normal galleries, all clamoring to leave an impression on the public.
But if you’re eager to see art at the more cutting-edge spectrum of the gallery scene, there’s a handful of programs you can always bank on to deliver.
Here is a list of some of the biggest names and alternative spaces that aren’t afraid to push boundaries and have earned Miami its international reputation.
1. Fredric Snitzer Gallery
A mainstay on the Miami art scene since the late ’70s, Fred Snitzer’s space is South Florida’s prototypical contemporary gallery. The Wynwood pioneer has also been a staple of Art Basel Miami Beach since its inception and has launched the careers of homegrown talent such as Hernan Bas, Naomi Fisher, and Bert Rodriguez. Snitzer, who teaches at the New World School of the Arts, has always had a keen eye for talent. His exhibits are polished, his openings are constantly packed, and his collector base leaves competitors green with envy. Snitzer, both a trendsetter and kingmaker, recently sold his Wynwood emporium and will unveil a new space come September. Rumor has it he is looking at South Beach, but wherever he hangs his shingle, more art pilgrims are sure to follow.
2. David Castillo Gallery
Since it opened in 2005, the David Castillo Gallery has risen to the top of Miami’s art pecking order. The dealer is one of few locals whose program has been featured at Art Basel, and his shows are seamlessly curated. A Yale grad who speaks five languages, Castillo operates a top-flight stable that boasts Luis Gispert, Pepe Mar, Jillian Mayer, and the TM Sisters. His pristine Wynwood space offers an eclectic mix of everything from painting to sculpture, video and installations, to more ephemeral works employing new media. Castillo has also demonstrated a Midas touch when it comes to placing his artists’ works in major collections and museums.
3. Spinello Projects
Anthony Spinello has grown up with Miami’s booming art scene over the past decade, and the scene has taken notice. Last year, the young dealer was one of only two local galleries to be invited to Art Basel’s inner sanctum at the Miami Beach Convention Center, and it would come as little surprise to many if he were to return to the big fair for a sophomore appearance. His stable functions as a family network of supportive talent rather than a roster of individual egos. The reason: Spinello, who has a gift for spotting talent and nurturing his artists and has become a fixture on the international circuit, inspires a loyalty unusual in a cutthroat business. Count Santiago Rubino, Sinisa Kukec, Agustina Woodgate, and Typoe among the rising Miami names who have found a home in his edgy and provocative program known for showcasing impeccably presented exhibits.
4. Emerson Dorsch Gallery
Recently renovated and rechristened to reflect the tastemaking union of gallery founder Brook Dorsch and director Tyler Emerson Dorsch, this flagship Wynwood space encapsulates the spirit of Miami’s cultural community. With hundreds of exhibits, performances, concerts, and lectures presented since opening in 2000, the gallery has grown and matured with the neighborhood. Representing emerging, midcareer, and established talent, its program focuses on everything from large-scale sculpture, video, and installations to painting and photography. Clifton Childree, Magnus Sigurdarson, Cheryl Pope, and Mette Tommerup are among the topnotch talent featured on the roster. Known for insightful group and solo exhibits and drawing massive crowds to its spirited openings, the gallery is long overdue for an invitation from Art Basel’s selection committee to be featured at the Miami Beach Convention Center, leaving the exclusive decision makers suspect in the eyes of many observers.
5. Locust Projects
Founded in 1998, Wynwood’s pioneer artist-run space quickly became a crowd magnet for locals eager to discover a bleeding-edge alternative to the hackneyed commercial scene. The alt-haven is celebrating its 15th anniversary of presenting risk-taking shows and has featured hundreds of local, national, and international names early in their careers. Since it planted its flag, Locust has mounted more than 125 large-scale solo and group exhibits and has grown to become the largest experimental contemporary arts organization in the Southeast while garnering widespread critical acclaim for our region. The nonprofit’s Out of the Box public art project delivers art to the masses, and its popular annual Smash and Grab fundraiser makes artwork from hundreds of artists affordable for wage slaves.
6. Wynwood Walls
Debuting during Art Basel with a dozen murals in 2009, the late Tony Goldman’s “Street Museum” has grown to become arguably the greatest collection of urban murals in the nation and is certainly the most democratic expression of culture in Wynwood. Today, Goldman’s visionary project houses soaring opuses by artists from the United States, Brazil, the Ukraine, Greece, France, Japan, and Germany. Some of the marquee names at the Wynwood Walls include Os Gemeos, Retna, Kenny Scharf, Barry McGee, Friends With You, Swoon, and Ron English. If you’re looking for a one-stop fix to mainline art that truly intoxicates the senses, the Wynwood Walls is your can’t-miss ticket.
7. Primary Projects
If your tastes crave art with an attitude, this multidisciplinary stage for bleeding-edge swagger is the place. The artist-founded, artist-operated program has been making plenty of noise and headlines since it opened a few years ago in the Design District. Hot off a string of solo and group shows that were often controversial — including the notorious performance by Korean-American artist Miru Kim, who wallowed naked in the mud with live hogs in the gallery’s storefront window during the 2011 edition of Art Basel, and last year’s “Asif’s Guns,” a pop-up gun shop featuring 300 handcrafted cardboard firearms in Wynwood by the young stable’s Asif Farooq — it comes as little surprise that Primary Projects has risen so rapidly on the local scene. Look for more ambitious programming from gallery founders when they open their sprawling new digs this September in downtown Miami.
8. Dimensions Variable
Since it first opened its doors in 2009, this artist-run nonprofit has been a local favorite of art lovers searching for the challenging and thought-provoking. Dimensions Variable typically presents exhibitions by individual artists or collaborative efforts boasting local and visiting national and international talent. A Knight Challenge Grant winner, DV is also one of the recent spaces pioneering the nascent downtown Miami art scene. It is operated by Adler Guerrier, Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, and Frances Trombly, whose project has become known for experimentation and exhibits that focus on addressing the DV space specifically. Whether they’re hosting artist residencies or workshops and forums on community building, the folks at DV have proven themselves fearless of pushing the boundaries.
9. 6th Street Container
This rectangular alt-asylum might not be where you would expect to discover a hotbed of invigorating exhibits, but the 6th Street Container’s odd configuration adds charm to its Little Havana location. Launched two years ago by indie curator and artist Adalberto Delgado and his partner Maria Amores, the gallery, located in a building housing a barbershop, a black-box theater, a dance studio, and several artist spaces, is curatorially driven and has earned a reputation for seamless solo and group shows and provocative performances presented on a monthly basis. Edgy in nature and always experimental while focusing on every conceivable genre of media, the 6th Street Container is at the forefront of cultural rebirth in Little Havana and a home for art outside the mainstream.
10. Dina Mitrani Gallery
Opened in late 2008, Dina Mitrani’s contempo photo emporium has become a must-visit sanctuary for genre lovers. Focused exclusively on photography, Mitrani’s eponymous gallery is a platform for emerging, midcareer, and established shutterbugs. Housed in what used to be her father’s clothing factory for four decades, Mitrani consistently delivers top-drawer shows, including one of our favorite Art Basel exhibits, “Willy Ronis: Paris,” which drew hordes of photography and art aficionados to Wynwood and reflected a critical program committed to showcasing both the classic and the contemporary.