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ARTS AT AVENTURA MALL: ART IN PUBLIC SPACES

Posted By Jean Blackwell Font
March 9, 2019 at 8:35 AM

South Florida has become well-known for its thriving art scene, and now, a world-class collection of public artwork 12 years in the making is being highlighted at an unexpected location in Miami – Aventura Mall.

Miami loves its malls and Aventura Mall is one of the shining stars for luxury, elegance and square footage. At 2.8 million square feet, Aventura Mall is one of the largest shopping centers in America. While many malls are experiencing a decline across the country, Aventura Mall touts welcoming approximately 28 million visitors each year.  One reason? Aventura Mall offers more than just a shopping experience.

The mall’s art collection incorporates a range of mediums that include sculptures and installations by renowned international icons, such as Louise Bourgeois, Robert Indiana, and Friends with You. Works by local artists, including Luis Valle and Nate Dee are also on display.

Among the abundant selection of art pieces at Aventura Mall are the iconic LOVE sculpture by late artist Robert Indiana, the 93-foot-tall Aventura Slide Tower by German architect Carsten Höller, the Gorillas in the Mist fountain by The Haas Brothers, and Louise Bourgeois’ Eye Benches.

I recently had the pleasure of discovering many of the works included in the curated collection while visiting the mall on a bright and sunny Sunday morning.

Surrounded by the usual crowd of families, couples enjoying coffee together at one of the numerous cafes, and tourists popping from store to store, I wandered the mall’s various levels. The morning crowd was just beginning to filter in, bringing with them the buzz of activity.

As an avid arts and culture fan, every turn brought a new discovery and I began to recognize that I was surrounded by an impeccable network of art pieces.

I encountered an installation of words painted across beams on the upper level (All Within the Realm of Possibility by Lawrence Weiner), and was thrilled to uncover the intriguing gigantic coat hanger (Blackbird by Mark Handforth), and then a digital display of men and women walking (Walking Portraits by Julian Opie). I eventually meandered to a quiet, pensive sculpture of a seated figure (Florida’s Soul by Jaume Plensa).

It is exciting to see Turnberry Associates, the majority owner of Aventura Mall, infusing culture and intellect into such a vast public space. Of course, a collection this important doesn’t happen overnight. In a December 2018 article by Kristen Tauer for Women’s Wear Daily, Chairman and CEO of Turnberry Associates Jackie Soffer explained that she has been building this collection of renowned contemporary art for 12 years now. Soffer is quoted in the article, saying, “It’s adding an element of surprise for our customers.” (WWD, 2018)

Free tours of the works are offered in the mall on the first Tuesday of every month, starting at 6:30 p.m., where guests are invited to “perch on Louise Bourgeois’ granite Eye Benches, pose with Donald Baechler’s bronze Walking Figure, and peer into the mischievous faces of Ugo Rondinone’s Moonrise, East.” (aventuramall.com). Even without a tour guide, a visitor can see who the artists are, thanks to carefully placed signage with artist and artwork details. If you haven’t made the trek north lately, plan a trip and take an hour or so to explore  Aventura Mall’s collection. You may even be moved to make a few purchases of another kind while you’re there!

For more information on Arts at the Aventura Mall, visit  https://aventuramall.com/arts.

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