In 2002, the arrival of Art Basel to Miami Beach spawned massive growth within the city’s public institutions and commercial spaces. These are the galleries you shouldn’t miss when you visit Miami today.
Miami’s most exciting art galleries are run by pioneering creatives who saw an opportunity to celebrate and promote contemporary artists within and beyond the city. While a slew of international galleries have set up shop in recent years, local gallerists are the life of the city. Discover Miami’s art scene by checking out these essential spots.
In 2009, Frances Trombly and Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova recognized their fellow local creatives needed an experimental, artist-run project space. Rather than launching a venture with a solely commercial focus, the pair established Dimensions Variable in Downtown Miami – a showcase for new work by emerging and established artists. Despite the space moving quite a few times, the gallery has certainly earned its stripes, showing work by names such as Jamilah Sabur, Lynne Golob Gelfman and Magnus Sigurdarson. In 2019, Dimensions Variable added a permanent location in Miami’s Little River neighborhood.
Long-time Floridian gallerist Mindy Solomon decamped her St Petersburg gallery to Miami in 2013. Since then, she has brought a roster of contemporary ceramic artists into the fold, often exhibited in dialog with two-dimensional paintings and drawings. Sculptures, however, are the true stars of this location: a visit to the backroom reveals large, misshapen ceramic creations by Australian artist Virginia Leonard; vibrant ‘furries’ by Linda Lopez; and embroidered landscapes by Sophia Narrett. Solomon works mostly with emerging and mid-career artists, so you can expect to acquire a unique, showstopping piece for a reasonable sum.
Under the moniker Gallery Diet, Nina Johnson exhibited a range of works, from sculptures by the world-renowned Betty Woodman to Miami artist Emmett Moore’s conceptual furnishings and design pieces. Moving her Wynwood gallery to Little Haiti in 2015, Johnson renamed it Nina Johnson – the name signifying this next, more personal iteration. In a four-building compound featuring a 1940s church-turned-storefront and two-story residential building, Johnson presents conceptual, design-led works by names such as Katie Stout, Nicolas Lobo and Jim Drain.
A relative newcomer on Miami’s art scene, The Bonnier Gallery is focused on presenting works by minimalist, blue-chip artists such as Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt and Donald Judd. Husband-and-wife duo Grant and Christina Bonnier set up their Allapattah gallery with direct access to work by these post-war masters: Grant’s father, a New York dealer, represented many of these icons during their lifetimes. The gallery hosts a range of regular exhibitions, but if you’re more interested in the Andy Warhols, Dan Flavins or Christos they have available, be sure to make an appointment.
Located just down the street from Mindy Solomon Gallery, Tile Blush – “a concept reamigined from the remnants of Noguchi Breton, formerly VersaceVersaceVersace and GucciVuitton” – represents those whose work blurs the line between architecture and art. Often minimalist in its curatorial approach, Tile Blush displays painting, sculpture and furnishings in dialog with one another.
Originally hailing from Argentina, Dot Fiftyone directors Alfredo Guzman and Isaac Perelman opened their gallery in 2003 to showcase emerging and established artists working primarily in Latin America. Their roster ranges from the most recognizable names in Latin America, such as Juan José Cambre and Eduardo Capilla, to prominent artists working in Miami, like Gonzalo Fuenmayor and Michelle Weinberg. Located in a quiet strip in Little River, Dot Fiftyone primarily exhibits painting and photography.
Emerson Dorsch features a rooftop terrace where a range of musicians perform | Courtesy of Emerson Dorsch
Emerson Dorsch was one of the first Wynwood galleries to turn their prime real estate into a windfall for the future of the program, and it paid off. In 2017, the gallery, which tends to represent Miami-based mid-career artists, moved into an enormous space in Little Haiti. This location features a rooftop terrace for live music and two downstairs galleries for showcasing new work by emerging artists. Emerson Dorsch has previously exhibited works by Karen Rifas – who celebrated a show at The Bass Museum of Art in 2018 – and Brookhart Jonquil, Clifton Childree and Robert Chambers.
Another newcomer on the scene, Piero Atchugarry Gallery is grounded in the works of Pablo Atchugarry – a renowned Uruguayan sculptor and gallerist Piero’s father. The accompanying program often includes works by avant-garde Italian sculptors. Piero Atchugarry’s Little Haiti compound also experiments with exhibitions by emerging and mid-career artists, and historic works. A recent exhibition curated by Untitled Miami Beach director Omar López-Chahoud centered on New York-based artists like Guadalupe Maravilla alongside Cuban legend Wifredo Lam.