Galleries on the verge. A Cindy Sherman right in your hotel. You can brave the crowds (and the parties) of an international art festival or schedule around it, but don’t overlook the galleries, museums and installations that keep these art capitals abuzz year round. We’ve gathered insider tips on how best to explore the scene from Four Seasons team members on the ground.
If you examine the original architecture of the storied Surf Club, now part of
Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, you might spot some similarities to the Bass, Miami’s cutting-edge contemporary art museum. Though both have been expanded and renovated, their original structures were designed by acclaimed art deco architect Russell Pancoast in the 1930s. The parallels don’t end there. Much of the art on display inside The Surf Club was created by artists whose work appears, or has appeared, at the Bass.
“The primary exhibition for this season is from Italian photographer Paola Pivi, who has two pieces on display,” says Gabriela Navarro, the Head of Creative at the Hotel. “One of them, an alligator roaming through whipped cream, was actually conceived of here.” Last year, the Bass exhibited works by Ugo Rondinone, and a painting from his Target series remains on display in the Hotel’s Marybelle Penthouse Suite. “We have a fabulous collection of contemporary art at the Hotel,” Navarro says. “I don’t think very many people know this, but we have a Sterling Ruby and a Cindy Sherman as well.”
Several prominent private collectors in Miami have art on view in spaces open to the public. “You have the Rubell Family Collection, the Margulies Collection at the Warehouse and the de la Cruz Collection,” Navarro says. “ICA, the Institute of Contemporary Art, where multiple collectors display their works in one space, opened last year.”
Or you could take a boat tour, she says. “Some collectors have large pieces from prominent artists displayed in their gardens on Indian Creek Island, right across from The Surf Club. So if you’re water bound, you’ll see beautiful works from artists like Richard Serra, Ugo Rondinone and Alexander Calder.”
Both Four Seasons Hotel Bogotá and Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina offer exclusive passes to BARCÚ (Bogotá Art and Culture), a festival in the city’s La Candelaria neighbourhood that’s an ideal complement, or alternative, to ARTBO. (The two take place concurrently every October.) Four Seasons guests get a private tour guide and VIP access to exhibitions and workshops that span art, music, dance, film and food.
Widely considered the art capital of Latin America, Bogotá is home to more than 100 galleries. In addition to the renowned art festivals, devote a day or two to browsing the city’s San Felipe, La Macarena and Quinta Camacho neighbourhoods. One gallery in particular not to miss: FLORA ars+natura, which offers studio space and residences to artists creating works with themes of nature and the Earth. It was established in 2015 by José Roca, a former curator of Latin American art at the Tate in London, who returned to his hometown to open it.
“It’s an independent space for contemporary art in San Felipe,” says Paula Gamboa, Four Seasons Director of PR and Marketing Communications. “The area is known for its working-class roots and mechanical engineering businesses; it had no galleries at all prior to the arrival of José Roca.” Back at either hotel, your art tour continues: Both properties feature modern art from Colombian artists like Leyla Cárdenas and Vicky Neumann.
Shanghai’s flourishing M50 district, a once derelict industrial area that has evolved into a well-established art magnet, is worth a visit, says Billy Yin, Chief Concierge at
Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai. Be sure to stop by ShanghART Gallery, which represents Chinese photographers, video artists and oil painters.
A new arts district, West Bund, is also on the rise, and the structures are part of the art. Here, Yin recommends visiting the Long Museum, an architectural tour de force featuring works of collectors Liu Yiqian and Wang Wei, and the Yuz Museum, where international, contemporary art is on view in a renovated airplane hangar. The Power Station of Art, the Rockbund Museum and the Duolun Museum of Modern Art make Yin’s greatest hits list, but he also stands by lesser-known cultural institutions.
One is the Arts and Crafts Research Institute, “housed in a French Renaissance mansion that was originally the French Municipal Council director’s private residence,” Yin says. “In the 1950s, the first mayor of Shanghai lived there. Today it’s used for artists’ studios and their folk-art crafts on display and for sale.”
Your Journey Begins Here
Where will you seek inspiration next?