Although it’s his first museum, Gary Nader is no novice. He was 19 years old when he opened his first gallery in Santo Domingo and 23 when he began his American adventure in Miami. He has turned his passion into a successful career that has taken him around the world. To this day, he still has his first ever purchase, a collection of drawings by the Mexican artist José Luís Cuevas. Today, he is one of the most respected collectors in the world and his collection includes works by major artists such as Fernando Botero and Rufino Tamayo. Specialising in Latin American art, as well as running two galleries, one in Miami and another in New York, he has become heavily involved in educational work for the promotion of Latin and Caribbean culture. Now he wants to go one step further.
The idea to create a museum devoted to Latin American and Caribbean art had been mulled over in his head for over 20 years. “When I moved to Miami, I realised that nobody knew anything about Lam, Matta, Botero or Torres-García”, says Gary Nader, still surprised by his discovery. He decided to do something about it. He bought all the Latin American art he could find and took it to Miami. In 1985 he opened a specialised gallery and seven years later, Gary Nader Fine Art. Located in Wynwood, Miami’s art district, this gallery is one of the largest and most influential in the world today, with 5,000 square metres for exhibitions.
The 650 works in his private collection will be the main attractions of this new space.
He presented his first plans for the Latin American Art Museum in Miami, LAAM, in 2014, at the Art Basel fair in Miami Beach. The 650 works in his private collection will be the main attractions of this new space. Halfway between a museum and an arts centre, in addition to exhibitions there will also be a varied programme in which performances, music and film screenings will alternate with workshops and conferences. If you think that the concept of a living museum is innovative, then so is the building’s design, the work of the renowned architect Fernando Romero. Making use of the favourable weather conditions in Miami, he has designed a structure including generous terraces on its four floors. These open areas will be ‘sculptural gardens’, which will be an extension of the exhibitions inside. They will also be an attraction for passers-by to enter. “I don’t discount the idea of opening another museum abroad. Perhaps in Portugal, Dubai or Brazil” he said.
For Gary Nader, Latin American art “is undervalued and misunderstood”. That’s why he’s convinced that presenting the talent of the masters of the modern age such as Diego Rivera and Francisco Zuñiga is almost an obligation in “a country that has such a large Hispanic population”. His project will also work as a launch pad for emerging artists. The first floor in the museum will showcase the work of new talent, something which he himself has been doing since the start of his career. “You do not have to buy the next bit thing or the world’s best future artist; you have to invest in the present, what should be celebrated at this very moment.” It seems that the time for Latin American art has arrived.