The Funky, Fresh Art of Miami

South Florida's hottest, coolest destination is a living, breathing art gallery — as we discovered during a recent tour of its meeting and event venues.

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French artist Xavier Veilhan’s sculpture of modern architect Le Corbusier.

We’ve been noticing the growing prevalence of public artwork in meeting and event venues — so much so that we devoted an entire cover story to it fully two years ago. I’d say that Miami has gotten the memo, but that doesn’t give South Florida’s capital of cool enough credit for being a destination-wide art exhibit in its own right. I was reminded of that last week, when I participated in a Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau press trip tied to the just-announced renovation and expansion of the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC). In the course of visiting the MBCC and a handful of other venues, mostly in Miami Beach, I noticed there was original artwork everywhere — much of it bright and funky, like Miami itself. Here’s a gallery of what I saw.



Aloft South Beach In the style of its brand, our host hotel sported a bright, casual-chic decor — accentuated by a variety of murals by Brooklyn-based artist Esteban del Valle, including this one, deliberately situated right outside the window of the property’s only guest room that doesn’t have an outside view.


Miami_MBCCMiami Beach Convention Center The MBCC is no stranger to artwork. It sits in the heart of Miami Beach’s Art Deco District, and every year hosts Art Basel Miami Beach, one of the most important contemporary art shows in North America. And when its renovation is completed, it will practically look like a work of art. But even now, the MBCC has this fun wire sculpture dangling three stories above its prefunction space.


Miami_Palm CourtPalm Court The latest addition to the Miami Design District, Palm Court is a 4,947-square-foot plaza ringed with high-end shops and anchored by two striking works — French artist Xavier Veilhan’s upper-body sculpture of pioneering modern architect Le Corbusier, pictured at the top of this article; and, directly above, Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome, commissioned by the Buckminster Fuller Institute and installed atop the entrance to the district’s underground parking garage.


Miami_ElastikaMoore Building A block away from Palm Court is the Moore Building, the Miami Design District’s flagship event venue. The onetime furniture showroom’s four-story atrium today is dominated by an eye-popping custom sculpture called Elastika, created by Iraqi-born, London-based architect Zaha Hadid.


Miami_CiboCibo Wine Bar Based on the meal we enjoyed at Cibo in South Beach, you could argue that the Italian restaurant’s food is art enough. But Cibo’s vibrant space is decorated with equally vibrant works — including this collage by street artist Mr. Brainwash. Bienvenido a Miami!

Christopher Durso

Christopher Durso formerly was executive editor of Convene.