DOT FIFTYONE GALLERY - 18 YEARS IN MIAMI
Alfredo Guzmán and Isaac Perelman review their history and analyze the challenges in times of pandemic in an interview conducted by Verónica Flom.
The year is 2002 and Dot Fiftyone Gallery decides to open one of the first contemporary art galleries in Miami. Alfredo Guzmán and Isaac Perelman, its founders and current directors, create a space that quickly becomes a hub for experimentation and that gives contemporary Latin American art a unique place in the city. To this day they continue their intense programming and reflect on the challenges during the pandemic.
Now that the gallery is turning 18 or coming of age, how do you view the experience of these years?
A: Dot Fiftyone's eighteen years have been a constant challenge. Sustaining a gallery project in a "young" city like Miami requires boldness and perseverance. It has not been easy, without a doubt, but it has given us, and still gives us, many satisfactions. We are proud to support the artists’ careers and see how they grow after so many years of working together. Recently, the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) acquired a large-scale work by Gonzalo Fuenmayor, and it gave us great joy. In November, Fuenmayor will present “Palindromes”, his fourth solo show in the gallery.
I: In recent years, Miami has changed a lot. When we opened Dot Fiftyone, there were no fairs in December and there was no contemporary art gallery circuit either. Now there are also very solid institutions dedicated to disseminating and supporting art: Istitute of Contemporary Art (ICA), PAMM, Oolite Arts, Fountainhead, MOCA, Faena, Espacio 23, among others. Eighteen years ago collectors did not look at what was happening in the city; that has since changed. Miami became a focus of interest both for the local community and for the public that visits the city, collectors in general.
Speaking of changes, we are experiencing a very different situation: the pandemic. What changes occurred during the COVID-19 crisis and how did you adapt to this “new normal”?
A: This pandemic transformed us all, one way or the other. The first two months the gallery was closed due to compliance with city protocols. We had an exhibition dedicated to the design of Atelier de Yavorsky and the feeling of closing the gallery doors was very strange. We had to reinvent ourselves: we did three online shows on our website and on Artsy. It allowed us to display the work of many gallery artists at once. Once we were allowed to reopen, we returned to the “in person” mode, with scheduled visits, and in July we inaugurated the “FloodZone” exhibition by Anastasia Samoylova. The reception from the public was excellent: I would say more focused and attentive. Furthermore, we published a video so that people could access the exhibition from their homes. In turn, we ran several public programs online and both ARTFORUM and the Miami Herald wrote about the exhibition.
I: Reopening the gallery after the quarantine was important. The virtual experience is not yet close to meeting the work in person; that experience is still unique. During these months we reflected on the world we want, on the values of this society and our contribution as cultural agents. Our greatest commitment is to support and trust artists.
What challenges do you see in the future?
I: Virtual communication is certainly one of them. The sharing and broadcasting of projects happens more and more through social networks. I think that is why book publications are increasingly valued. As a gallery we are interested in generating more and more exchanges between artists. The next exhibition will show recent works by Argentine artist Hernán Cédola and German artist Bernd Mechler. They are colleagues and have been in contact for years, but this will be their first show together. Dialogue in all its forms, beyond the geographic, is what we want to encourage.
A: Our aim and main challenge is for the gallery to be a hotbed for artists. For many artists, now recognized, the first time they exhibited in the United States was in the gallery. We want to maintain that focus that has been with us from the beginning: for Dot Fiftyone to be a platform of visibility for artists.
ABOUT DOT FITYONE GALLERY:
Founded in 2002 by its current directors, Isaac Perelman and Alfredo Guzmán, Dot Fiftyone Gallery is located in the city of Miami, United States. Since its inception, it has an emphasis on contemporary art. Dot Fiftyone features emerging and established artists, many of whom have exhibited their work in the States for the first time in the gallery. In turn, Dot Fiftyone is committed to giving visibility to local Miami artists and strengthening exchanges with the city's art community.
It represents the work of the following artists: Lydia Azout, Omar Barquet, Jorge Cabieses, Juan José Cambre, Consuelo Castañeda, Marcos Castro, Hernán Cédola, Gonzalo Fuenmayor, Camilo Godoy, Graciela Hasper, Celina Jure, Hamlet Lavastida, Pepe López, Bernd Mechler, Martín Mele, Gian Paolo Minelli, Jorge Miño, Oscar Abraham Pabón, Sibylle Pasche, Anastasia Samoylova and Raquel Schwartz.
7275 NE 4th Ave
Miami FL 33138