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Miami Art Machine

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Lichtenstein on the Beach

How a faded resort transformed itself into a global art destination.


1983
Christo and Jeanne-Claude surround eleven Biscayne Bay islands with six and a half million square feet of pink fabric.


1984
Stylish Miami Vice premieres. The South Florida Art Center opens in the heart of crime-ridden South Beach, offering subsidized studios to local artists.


1992
South Beach attracts Gianni Versace, Roy Lichtenstein, Kenny Scharf, Jack Pierson, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres.


1993
New Yorkers Mera and Don Rubell relocate to Miami and purchase a 45,000-square-foot former DEA warehouse to house their collection.


2001
The first year of the Art Basel fair is canceled after 9/11, but the Wynwood gallery area begins to take off, with Locust Projects and the Dorsch Gallery.


2006
Local grandees raid MoMA to hire curator Terry Riley to head up the new, $220 million Herzog & de Meuron–designed Miami Art Museum.


2007
Art Basel draws 43,000 visitors, 1,600 journalists, 24 satellite fairs, and general debauchery. Wynwood is home to nearly 70 art spaces.


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