Curating ‘Artsy Projects: Nautilus South Beach’

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Since its 2010 inception, Artsy has stood at the forefront of making art accessible for those previously intimidated by the field’s glossy sheen. From educating novices to facilitating the collections of bigger players, Artsy is an invaluable resource, no matter your level of expertise. And so, for SIXTY’s first official Miami Art Week, following the fall opening of Nautilus, a SIXTY Hotel, we thought there were no more perfect a date to the proverbial ball than the crew over at Artsy.

Running November 30 through December 6, Artsy and SIXTY present the aptly named Artsy Projects: Nautilus South Beach, wherein travel and art come together for a stunning series of installations, performances, and events. Presented across the hotel’s grounds, the series features work from artists Katherine Bernhardt, Dan Colen, Mira Dancy, Nicolas Lobo, Eddie Peake, Scott & Tyson Reeder, and Chloe Wise.

Curated by Artsy’s Elena Soboleva, Artsy Projects: Nautilus highlights works that complement the nature of Miami itself. Each piece calls to mind a sense of play, wonder, and a clever reimagining of the daily milieu. You’ll find Dan Colen’s M&M boulders, Chloe Wise’s take on baked goods, a mural from Mira Dancy, and site-specific works in vibrant palettes by Katherine Bernhardt and Eddie Peake. To further illuminate the collaboration, we spoke to Elena about the methods behind her curatorial madness.

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Pool painting by Katherine Bernhardt on site at Nautilus, a SIXTY Hotel. Photo by Carla Barraez.

What is the underlying idea or theme behind this project ?

Artsy Projects: Nautilus was a site-specific response to the new Nautilus space, and comes from a desire to give an outdoor arena to art and highlight some of the most exciting artists working today. The whole theme of the project centers around the notions of everyday gestures, which have been reimagined by the artists with exuberance and playfulness while probing much deeper questions of desire.

Figurative approaches are another key theme, which runs through the show. Katherine’s pool-bottom painting of “Sharks and Sharpies” and the oversized Dan Colen M&M sculptures offer a mimicry of the quotidian elements. Even the performances, like the Beach Painting Club, where Scott and Tyson Reeder invite a group of younger artists who paint plein-air, harkening back to the French tradition, brings a fresh desire for painterly representation.

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Dan Colen “M&M Boulder” being craned in over Nautilus, a SIXTY Hotel. Photo by Carla Barraez.

What does each artist bring to the table?

The project came together very quickly. The first vision I had during the initial walkthrough was that we should paint the pool bottom. I immediately thought that Katherine Bernhardt would be the perfect artist. When I reached out, she sprang at the opportunity and said she had been keen to paint a pool in the [David] Hockney tradition for some time! None of us had painted underwater before, so we had to figure it out as we went along.

Dan Colen’s oversized M&M candy and Chloe Wise’s pastry handbags both use trompe l’oeil renderings of food as a way of colliding high and low culture. While Dan’s lean towards a transcendence and cultural evocation, Chloe’s are more overtly provoking and pull at our inner cravings.

Mira Dancy’s nudes evoke the bodily senses and are situated reclining poolside to highlight her figurative mastery. This concern for the body is also continued in the performance piece by Nicolas Lobo, who will be creating painterly face mask spa treatments, which guests will apply, making their bodies part of the work.

Nick van Woert’s “Pebble” is a play on scale–a common object recast into a scale which gives it grandeur. Finally, the Eddie Peake piece is on the rooftop of the patio and seen from aerial perspectives. It mirrors the nature of Miami Basel impulses and aspirations; the text-based work confronts those with pristine views.

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Nick van Woert’s “Pebble” displayed at Nautilus, a SIXTY Hotel. Photo by Carla Barraez.

Have any of the artists been exhibited together?

The artists have not shown together before, aside from Katherine participating in the Beach Painting Club in the past. However, it’s very curious that, concurrent to the project at the Nautilus, the artists will be together in other fantastic shows this week.

Mira Dancy and Katherine Bernhardt are both in No Man’s Land, an all-female show, at the Rubell Family Collection, Miami. Chloe Wise and Mira Dancy are both at Unrealism, presented by Larry Gagosian and Jeffrey Deitch at The Moore Building in Miami.

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Mira Dancy work on site at Nautilus, a SIXTY Hotel. Photo by Carla Barraez.

How did the collaboration with Nautilus come about?

The collaboration started with Artsy proposing a week-long activation of art, music, and events at Nautilus. Working with the SIXTY and Purple teams has been beyond fantastic. I am still in disbelief that a brand new hotel would let artists completely take over the space––from painting the pristine pool floor to digging huge holes for 10,000-pound granite sculptures and covering the rooftop in graphics. It certainly speaks [SIXTY co-founder] Jason Pomeranc’s own collecting passion and commitment to art!

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Aerial view of Eddie Peake’s installation at Nautilus, a SIXTY Hotel. Photo by Carla Barraez.

And finally—slightly off topic—what are you most looking forward to seeing this week?

The shows mentioned above with the Artsy Projects: Nautilus artists are sure to be amazing, with focus on female artists and figuration this year. I am also very excited to see some of the live performative pieces, such as Dimensions by Devonté Hynes and Ryan McNamara at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, and Rashaad Newsome’s King of Arms Krew Mass Processional Performance. Lastly, the Art Public park in front won’t disappoint with Jacob Kassay, Sterling Ruby, Hank Willis Thomas and Katharina Grosse!

Follow @SIXTYhotels and @artsy throughout the week to see what #ArtsyProjectsNautilus is up to.

Header image: Nick van Woert. “Pebble.” Courtesy of the artist. 

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