Remembering Making Miami

“Last Thanksgiving weekend, Vivek and Carolina García Jayaram, a husband-and-wife duo of lawyers ingrained in Miami’s arts scene, were hanging out with friends who had recently moved to Miami when one person asked a perplexing question: “Was there anything even here before we all got here?”

“That got us both thinking about the time that we met 20 years ago in Miami, and how vibrant the local contemporary art scene was during those years,” Vivek said. “The histories need to be told, and if they’re not told they sort of disappear.” That was the impetus of Making Miami, an ambitious public art exhibition and digital archive that tells the story of the local artists and artist-run nonprofits that laid the groundwork for today’s community. The exhibition, which opens Dec. 6 in the Design District, features FriendsWithYou, Daniel Arsham, Jen Stark, Locust Projects and many others. While the show documents these artists’ contributions for posterity, the Jayarams said they also hope to spark another conversation about the future for artists in Miami.

Many of those established artists left Miami behind to make it big somewhere else. As the cost of living in South Florida soars, the Jayarams question if the next generation of emerging artists will stick around. “We now need to create the conditions for people to exist here permanently,” Carolina said.

“Yes, you’re getting the big light shining on Miami,” Vivek said. “But the minute that these Miami artists then get snatched up by a Perrotin or a David Zwirner, they’ll just leave Miami like all those artists 20 years ago left Miami.”

And herein lies a conundrum emerging and mid-career artists find themselves in. Do Miami-born artists have to leave in order for their careers to take off? And will they?

‘It’s about time.’ Miami artists are ‘ascendant’ on international scene this Art Week
Amanda Rosa, WLRN

“Histories need to be told, or otherwise, they will forever disappear,” said Vivek Jayaram, who founded the exhibition with his wife Carolina. 

“I’m hoping this [show] can raise awareness, certainly in Miami, but also in other cities that are experiencing a lot of extraordinary exponential, pandemic-fueled growth. To take a beat and understand and think for a moment about how we can build these cities while taking into account the creatives that really helped make it unique to begin with.”

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Maxwell Rabb, Artsy