From California to the Faena Arts District
PHILLIP K. SMITH III Wows Miami Beach
written by Grove Koger
photographed by Lance Gerber
Situated in Miami Beach, the Faena Arts District commissioned several site-specific installations this past December for the celebration of Faena’s Art Week, the largest public art installation during the 2017 edition of Miami Art Week. These immersive site-sensitive commissions were awarded to international artists including Phillip K. Smith III, Studio Drift, and Peter Tunney. Artistic interventions on the Faena Forum’s façade were created by Miami-based artist Kelly Breez, science/art collective Coral Morphologic, and Argentine artist Martin Borini.
Phillip K. Smith’s work, 120 Degree Arc East-Southeast, occupied a large swath of Faena Beach. The sculptor originally explored the visible marker between the man-made and natural worlds in ¼ Mile Arc created in 2016 for Laguna Art Museum’s Art & Nature event in Laguna Beach, CA. He continued his exploration of these elements with the work The Circle of Land and Sky created in the desert of California for Desert X. In 120 Degree Arc East-Southeast at Faena Beach, Smith melded the pure elements of land, water and sky with mirrored steel structural elements that created a reflective space within the beach environment, one that could never be seen the same way twice.
Another highlight of the celebration, Franchise Freedom, was a flying sculpture by Dutch duo Studio Drift in partnership with BMW and Pace Gallery. A performative work at the interface of science, technology and art, Franchise Freedom consisted of a swarm of 300 drones whose movements dramatized the tension between individual freedom and safety in numbers. The work was inspired by the massive synchronized flights of starlings known as murmurations.
The creation of Argentine hotelier Alan Faena, the visually stunning Faena Arts District stretches north from 32nd to 36th streets between the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Creek, and includes a public space as well as several buildings. The district specializes in the creation of one-of-a-kind holistic environments anchored in cultural experiences and socially responsible projects—a practice that integrates residences and hotels with art and cultural spaces.
“We have redefined the way we live in cities by building a strong community anchored in art and culture,” says Faena. “The district is envisioned as a space for a multiplicity of voices and artistic practices.”
Situated across the street from the Arts District, the Faena Hotel is a full renovation of the old Saxony Hotel as designed by film director and producer Baz Luhrmann and Academy Award-winning costume designer Catherine Martin. Staying in one of the property’s 169 rooms and suites is a treat for any art lover, as the high design concept involves artworks by the like of Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Juan Gatti. The Faena’s two restaurants, Francis Mallmann’s Los Fuegos and Paul Qui’s Pao, offer distinctive dining experiences as well.
Alan Faena’s South American vision for developing and showcasing the arts has made its mark on Miami Beach, and along with the globally recognized Miami Art Week, it belongs on your annual cultural circuit.