Kicking off the party mood at Art Basel, Amir Ismail led thousands into the Little Castillo de Lobos to celebrate his work in Miami’s annual art fair. Halfway through the long line of wealthy patrons and artists, Ismail was overheard marveling about the welcoming influence of his curatorial role as this year’s presenter of the Colombian contemporary art exhibition Clegg on the Run. While Ismail was understandably delighted to have the opportunity to publicly showcase the work of his favorite artists, many of whom are Colombian and Spanish-speaking, he marveled also at how much greater the presence of the country’s art community had become here in Miami. After all, that is precisely the point of the festival.
“I wish that Art Basel was as big in Colombia as it is in Miami,” Ismail said. “More Colombian art! We should bring art to New York more. Miami is not really for Latin American art, it’s for the American art, the urban and contemporary. Colombia should be a bigger part of that. We have to create this network of collectors so we can organize shows so everyone can come.”
And, yes, Ismail does plan to bring the Colombia show to New York.
“That is something we are doing,” he said. “I would love to bring it to New York and Chicago.”
After presenting the painting that was the centerpiece of his presentation, Ismail was joined on stage by other Colombian artists Nadia Aurélio, Scott Laguna, Alexis Lozano and Martin Gutman. In addition to Ismail’s speech, there was the traditional musical set by reggaeton maestro Larry Hernandez.