While exploring Miami, I thought it was time to move out of the centre and investigate the art collections in Wynwood and the Miami Design District, not an area I have explored in detail before. I have to admit that I didn’t quite know what to expect, but was blown away by the de la Cruz collection which is a short distance from ICA Miami.
The area is still very much in change. There were diggers at one end of the street, alongside an immense 3-storey concrete structure for street art. The de la Cruz Collection occupies three floors of galleries in the Miami Design District in a spatious new well-lit building designed by the architect John Marquette, opposite the artistically-fantastic Museum Garage.
The collection is owned by the Cuban-born American businessman Carlos de la Cruz and his wife Rosa and includes a wide range of contemporary works including, as you would expect, work by Cuban artists including Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Jorge Pardo, Wilfredo Lam and Ana Mendieta, but also surprisingly by the Scottish artists Peter Doig and Lucy McKenzie, plus many others from around the world.
In 2016, ArtNews listed Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz in their worldwide survey of the “Top 200 Collectors”. In the UK, we have ongoing debates about how to respond to people who have, through their own efforts, created huge amounts of wealth. Our socialist party wants to tax them to the hilt (which means they will leave the UK); our conservative party claims to support entrepreneurialism but then, by stealth, introduces a slow drip of taxes to discourage them. UK Governments just seem to be unable to resist tax – they revel in it! Personally, I think we should become more like the US where the wealthy view it as their responsibility to support art, university research and other programmes and, also have the cultural background that they themselves collect art which is then displayed in their own collection buildings. We do have some precedents in the UK, with Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery, but we need more!