OscarWilde, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and the future of Miami’s Art Scene


Art by Michael Albert

When Oscar Wilde wrote that “All art is quite useless”, a remark that perplexes, intrigues and beckons us even today, what he sought to express was much like Gautier’s “l’art pour l’art”: art exists for its own sake.For Wilde and his contemporaries, the feeling was that in the same way a flower “blossoms for its own joy” so too does art exist for its own purpose. Art was not meant to instruct or influence in any way but rather simply to be. Conversely, our city’s latest renaissance can attribute a lot of its success to its relatively short history with art. Few can argue that when Miami got its chocolate in the Art World’s peanut butter 10 years ago, a wonderful thing emerged propelling us further as the little cultural epicenter that could (choo-choo to that).

What the Art Deco revival did for Miami in the 90’s, art fairs are doing for the cultural art scene today. Like two sides of a coin, art and culture are inextricably linked harmoniously feeding off each other. Case in point, after the biggest art fair in the world chose us as its nesting place, the idea to spend over $400 million on a new performing arts center was hatched followed by Miami Beach’s landmark, state of the art NewWorld Symphony space. To suggest that Miami Beach was culturally underfed before all of this occurred may be overstating things a bit– but Sinatra, Miami Vice and 2 Live Crew all rolled into one fat Cuban cigar cannot compare to what’s happened here in the last decade.

As we roll out our new Arts and Culture section this month we glimpse into Untitled.- the invitation only fair founded by Florida-based Jeff Lawson’s company Art Fairs Unlimited, scheduled to open December 5-9. The event will be held under a tent on 13th and Ocean— promising to be among other things an exciting, more relaxed venue for Art Basel devotees. Also this month, we sit down with Dina Knapp and revisit her mercurial range of expression through the years

I hope all our readers will enjoy and appreciate our first Arts and Culture section. Oscar Wilde’s notion of the usefulness of art is not at all reflective in Miami’s present day relationship but his estimation that “Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope” — is awfully encouraging


Sonia Melamed is the Chair of the Communications Committee, Arts & Culture Council. If you are interested in submitting an article, please send it to Sonia at soniam@nsigroup.org.

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