If context is everything in art, how does placing an art show in the middle of the sea change our experience of the work? That’s the obvious question posed by New York’s Half Gallery, which hosted the second iteration of one-day Miami Art week pop up Stiltsville Thursday.
If nothing else, it made for quite the adventure for the 130 collectors, artists, and art world hangers-on (including yours truly) that braved the two-hour sea journey to the Bay Chateau, one of six houses still standing in Stiltsville. With guests traveling throughout the morning, the weather alternated between clear, bright sun and a steely downpour with gusts of powerful wind, until the boat reached its far-out destination for a genial afternoon of art, swimming, and sun.
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Stiltsville is a collection of houses built in Biscayne Bay, off the coast of Miami, in the 1930s. For decades, the houses, of which there were 27 at peak, were a major nightlife attraction, featuring restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and gambling houses. Illicit activity hidden from prying eyes was the allure. The surviving houses have become landmarks in Biscayne National Park.
“I think traveling via boat with a small group of other art lovers is more unique than bumping into someone at a fair,” Half Gallery’s director Erin Goldberger said in a statement.
That’s an understatement. Between the mildly treacherous sea journey, a healthy amount of cocktails, and the convivial air from the many friends and family of the artists and gallery present, it was a unique experience indeed.
See what the experience was like below: