By now everybody and their brother’s best friend knows Miami and its adjacent Beach is in the midst of another Art Basel. To know that also means to know the ‘hood known as Wynwood, which serves as the heart of Miami’s art scene. At the heart of the heart is the mural-laden wonder called The Wynwood Walls, where 40 of the world’s very best street artists have thrown up their version of the enduring. Ensuring the Walls is as wowful as possible is former Deitch Projects Director of Operations Meghan Coleman, who left New York (where she also co-founded The Hole in order to core Miami. And core Miami she has, and then some.
The brainchild of the ever visionary developer and collector Tony Goldman, who was an early in on the action in both Soho and South Beach, The Walls features works from the wiliest of urban visualists, including Shepard Fairey (who also walled the site’s Wynwood Kitchen and Bar) and Kenny Scharf (who’s brought a bold embellishing to his founding mural), as well as Ron English (who also unleashed his trademark critters) and Futura 2000 (whose place in the genre’s pantheon hasn’t diminished a bit). For this year’s Basel, Goldman and Coleman (who’s actual title is Goldman Properties’ Art Manager), recruited Medvin Sobio of the visual arts collective Viejas Del Mercado, and between the three put together an array as well-rounded as the wild world-at-large.
Among the new crop of keen-eyed ops is the Ukraine’s Interesni Kazki, Mexico’s Sego/Saner/Neuzz, Spain’s Liqen, Portugal’s Vhils, and Brazil’s Nunca. Naturally the U.S. is also well-repped, most notably by L.A.’s Retna (pictured, and this year’s “It” artist who also muralized the Cosmopolitan Vegas parking garage) Brooklyn’s How and Nosm (twins who actually hail from Spain and were reared in Germany). While amped about everyone who made the cut, Coleman is extra-excited to have the brothers on board for Basel.
“The minute I saw the work of How and Nosm I knew it’d be perfect for the Walls,”says Coleman, “so I made they were among the first certainties among our latest additions. We’ve also got them sited outside the Walls, and I’m hearing all kinds of great feedback.”
Having Brooklyn in the proverbial house serves as a nice counter to the number coming from West Coast, where this past summer’s “Art in the Streets” exhibit broke attendance records at L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art. The MOCA show, which was co-curated by Jeffrey Deitch (with Roger Gastman and Aaron Rose), and featured many of the same city faves (i.e. Fairey, Retna), also included San Francisco-staple Barry McGee. Back in ‘09 the Beautiful Losers alum transformed the entire edifice which now houses neighborhood’s Panther Coffee. At the time the building-wide work was one of the first satellite offerings Outside the Walls. Two years later it remains a veritable landmark in epicenter of everything.
Indeed even before their creation, the Walls were too big to contain themselves, and they continue to burst forth and multiply. In addition to the initial off-site slew, there’s now what’s called Wynwood Doors (which could easily be considered Goldman’s portals) and the newly-opened Shop at the Walls (which way last well beyond its pop-up status).
“The Shop features works from all of the muralists,” adds Coleman, “plus prints, photographs, a limited-edition t-shirt series, and the book The Wynwood Walls and Doors. Not everybody can take home an entire building, right?”
Right. But even without the enviable keepsakes, the Wynwood Walls’ experience itself is eminently collectible. Make sure your memory gets served.
Photo by Martha Cooper