Art of Fontainebleau

Since it opened in 1954, Fontainebleau has represented sophistication, taste and high times. When Fontainebleau’s original architect, Morris Lapidus, unveiled his plans nearly 60 years ago, he put it like this: “Fontainebleau is designed to convey a feeling of delight, to provide a setting, away from home, away from daily cares, just for the pleasure of a great experience.” 

To provide this experience, Lapidus broke with the conventions of his times to create what he called "an architecture of joy.” He chose passion over formality, curves over straight edges, and hot colors over the traditional vanilla palette. Irony, surprise, wit, serendipity, coincidence and whimsical extravagance were tools in his toolbox. 

Critics and academic killjoys were outraged. The public couldn’t get enough of it. Eventually, the original Fontainebleau came to be recognized as a masterpiece of Modernist architecture, but it was always Modernism with an edge, and with plenty of humor and plenty of art. Everything Lapidus designed or placed in Fontainebleau was meant to delight and surprise, to be anything but the stuff you’d see in any other hotel.



1957, Beijing, China

Multimedia impresario Ai Weiwei is one of the most innovative and vocal personalities in the global art world today. His work seeks to stimulate debate on fundamental questions of cultural heritage, social responsibility, and the relationship of art to both. 

In 1979, he was one of the founders of the Xingxing, or the “Stars” art collective, with the goal to advocate for democracy through art. Ai moved to New York in 1981, then returned to China in 1993, where he began to focus on China’s cultural history, political system and modern contradictions. 

Ai collaborated on several projects with the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron under the banner of his FAKE Design company, including the design of the Beijing National Stadium, the famed “Bird’s Nest,” for the 2008 Summer Olympics. 

Ai Weiwei’s chandeliers have become iconic examples of his sculptural practice. By dramatically increasing the scale of a normal chandelier, Ai makes a common object an unfamiliar and awe-inspiring one. Paradoxically, the sheer size of the complete pieces also emphasizes the thousands upon thousands of individual components required to create them. For Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Ai has created three chandeliers for the domes in the main lobby. The pieces act as contemporary updates of Morris Lapidus’ original designs. They embrace the historic past of Fontainebleau while simultaneously looking toward the future.


1943, Los Angeles, CA
James Turrell’s work involves explorations in light and space that speak to viewers without words, impacting the eye, body and mind simultaneously. His subject is infinity. “I want to create an atmosphere that can be consciously plumbed with seeing,” says the artist, “like the wordless thought that comes from looking in a fire.” Informed by his studies in perceptual psychology and optical illusions, Turrell’s work allows us to see ourselves “seeing.” Whether harnessing the light at sunset or transforming interior spaces with his light works, Turrell’s art places viewers in a realm of pure experience. 

Six pieces from James Turrell’s most recent and most technologically advanced series of light works have been specially commissioned for the lobby area of Fontainebleau. The Tall Glass series consists of specially programmed LED panels behind etched glass. Over the course of several hours, each Tall Glass work subtly shifts through a constantly changing cycle of color themes and patterns. The physical apparatus of the installation is completely invisible, and as a result, the viewer sees nothing but mesmerizing, meditative fields of colored light. 

The Tall Glass works commissioned for Fontainebleau are historic in three ways: they are the first horizontal Tall Glass works created by Turrell; the single work in the VIP Alcove is the first ever curved Tall Glass work; and the remaining five pieces – one triptych and one diptych behind the main reception and concierge desks, respectively—are the first multi-panel Tall Glass works. No other installations of Turrell’s are integrated with such drama into a commercial space. Fontainebleau Miami Beach thus stakes its claim in art history.


1952, Cincinnati, OH

Darryl Pottorf has been creating complex, inspiring works for more than 30 years, continuously pushing the boundaries of his medium and subject matter. He has traveled extensively, and his work reflects his love of classical and architectural forms. He uses the photographs he takes in a provocative manner to add content and humor to his work. 

Pottorf has collaborated with Robert Rauschenberg on a series of outstanding exhibitions. Like Rauschenberg, Pottorff did early work in the theater. In addition, he is a practicing architect. He designed Robert Rauschenberg’s home and studio as well as his own, and continues to design both residential and commercial spaces. Fontainebleau is pleased to showcase seven works by Darryl Pottorf, scattered throughout the public areas in the Versailles Tower.


1925, Chicago, IL 

Benjamin is a classical Minimalist, having employed geometric abstraction and bold color since the 1950s, assuring his place in the history of American art. In current retrospectives, he has been hailed as an inventor of “American Cool” in visual culture. Three of Benjamins' works are displayed at Fontainebleau.


1926, Bronx, NY 

By 1964, just two years after Andy Warhol’s debut in LA with his droll soup cans (in the same gallery that sponsored formative American minimalist Larry Bell), there were allegedly 1,000 Pop Artists in America. Today, fewer than ten of them are considered historic, and Drexler is among them. She is also Pop Art’s only woman star. Her images are uniformly passionate and unique in their construction of painted collage.


1958, Zell am Harmersbach, West Germany 

Thomas Ruff is a German photographer with an international reputation. He studied photography in the 1970s at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, where he now lives. During his studies, he developed his method of conceptual serial photography. The pieces on display at Fontainebleau were taken from comics digitally altered and overlapped in numerous layers, multiplying them so often as to end up with a three-dimensional abstract space of colors.


1965, Norfolk, VA 

Liza Ryan is a Los Angeles-based photographer and video artist. Influenced by the storytelling tradition of the American south, her pieces are often infused with strong implied narratives that invite the viewer to participate in their completion. She frequently deals in themes of memory, transformation, and a fantastical union between man and nature. The visual power of her work has put her on a short list of emerging artists pushing the evolution of photographic art in the 21st century.


1928, Hartford, CT 

Sol LeWitt is considered one of the most innovative artists of the 20th century. Instrumental in the development of Minimalist and Conceptual art during the 1960s, Le Witt began generating sculptures, prints, paintings, and monumental wall drawings using a vocabulary of simple lines and cubes. 

On exhibition in Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s guestrooms, Untitled is a prime example of the simple but captivating abstract compositions for which Le Witt is known. Consisting of nothing more than a labyrinth of intertwining black lines on a white field, the print nevertheless possesses a rhythm and vibrancy created by its sweeping composition. The line work relates to the grids Le Witt used with much more rigidity early in his career. In Untitled, it is almost as if the grid has been compressed until its right angles warped into a collection of rolling waves, peaks, and valleys. The dynamism achieved by such simple components lends the work a power and depth that is prototypically Le Witt. 

At the same time, Le Witt has imbued Untitled with certain qualities that make it characteristic of his roots in New York Minimalism: a commitment to subdued colors, and an embrace of “pure form”, or the idea that the goal of artwork is no longer to represent objects or even emotions from the outside world. Le Witt’s work was about breaking down art – making to its essence – space, line, structure – and presenting it without fuss. In the process, he changed the way people viewed not just the pieces in museums and galleries but the entire world around them. Untitled is a direct result of this line of thinking and a worthy record of one of the giants of contemporary art.


1945, Fort Worth, TX 

Suggs was for many years the head professor of painting at UCLA, and his influence on a generation of artists is pronounced. His trademark “color wheels” “deconstruct” landscapes as well as historic artworks.


1963, Croydon, UK 

Tracey Emin is part of the English artisit group known as Britartists or YBAs (Young British Artists). 

A consummate storyteller, Tracey Emin engages the viewer with her candid exploration of universal emotions. Well-known for her confessional art, Tracey Emin reveals intimate details from her life to engage the viewer with her expressions of universal emotions. Her ability to integrate her work and personal life enables Emin to establish an intimacy with the viewer. Tracey shows us her own bed, in all its embarrassing glory. By presenting her bed as art, Tracey Emin shares her most personal space, revealing she’s as insecure and imperfect as the rest of the world. 

Emin is a panelist and speaker: she has lectured about the links between creativity and autobiography, and the role of subjectivity and personal histories in constructing art. Emin's art takes many different forms of expression including needlework and sculpture, drawing, video and installation, photography and painting. 

Emin was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to the arts.


1931, National City, CA 

John Baldessari is one of the icons of 20th century California and Conceptual art. His body of work spans film, photography, video, artist books, prints, sculptural objects, and installations. His artworks incorporate everything from found photographs to invented imagery to text in order to span the purported divide between high art and mass culture. He is perhaps best known for constantly questioning the boundaries that separate art from the everyday world, often in witty, humorous ways. 

In Striding Person (with Onlookers) Baldessari uses the imagery of legendary editor of Vogue, Anna Wintour, iconic in the fashion industry. By blanking out the face of Ms. Wintour, the artist forces the viewer to question what they are looking at. Anna Wintour’s distinct skinny frame and bob haircut is still recognizable in the image. 

John Baldessari’s other work, “I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art,” can be found in all Chateau and Versailles guestrooms. The piece’s genesis is in an earlier site-specific installation commissioned by the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in 1971. Unable to make the journey to Canada on the school’s schedule, Baldessari instead suggested that students volunteer to repeatedly write the titular phrase directly on the gallery walls. Baldessari was so inspired by the finished result – in which the students literally covered every wall, floor to ceiling, with the text – that he transferred the idea into this piece.

Lonneke Gorgijn & Ralph Nauta

1980, Alkmaar, Netherlands 

1978, Swindon, United Kingdom

So much of what mankind does is about mimicking nature or attempting to over-rule it. In the artists view, neither is possible. Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta’s chandelier creation, Fragile Future, aims to establish a point of balance between information overload and human sensibility. The goal is to create a dialogue between nature and technology, creating a new synergy. The hope is to encourage people to notice things that they no longer notice; to reachs some kind of unconscious recognition that everyone instinctively feels and understands, yet have lost the time for.


1958, London, England, UK 

Julian Opie is one of the most significant artists of his generation whose creative preoccupation has investigated the idea of representation and the means by which images are perceived and understood. Drawing from influences as diverse as billboard signs, classical portraiture and sculpture, to classical Japanese woodblock prints, Opie 'paints' using a variety of media and technologies, enabling him to make three-dimensional explorations of his subjects.


1926, Bristol, England, UK 

Internationally renowned artist, entrepreneur and art collector Damien Hirst is the most prominent member of the group known as the Young British Artists (or YBAs), who dominated the art scene in Britain during the 1990s. Death is a central theme in Hirst's works. He became famous for a series of artworks in which dead animals (including a shark, a sheep and a cow) are preserved—sometimes having been dissected— in formaldehyde. The best known of these being The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, a 14-foot (4.3 m) tiger shark immersed in formaldehyde in a vitrine. He has also made "spin paintings," created on a spinning circular surface, and "spot paintings," which are rows of randomly colored circles created by his assistants.


1968, Redondo Beach, CA 

Though he works in photography, sculpture, and video, Doug Aitken is known primarily as one of the pioneers of new media art. His installations are meant to engage the viewer in narratives often based in the complex modern interplay between man, the built environment, time, and perception. Aitken sets out to take the viewer on a journey so that they are not just viewing art, but rather actively participating in an immersive experience that redefines their surroundings, however briefly.


1950, New York, NY 

Rob Wynne's stunning and beautiful sculptures, reliefs, and installations are inspired by diverse sources such as art, philosophy, opera, poetry and nature. Well known for his text based practice, his art is intertwined with allusive phrases that he appropriates from both quotidian experiences and literary research. Using materials commonly associated with the “lower” art forms or craft such as glass, beads, embroidery and ceramics, Wynne raises the pedestrian materials to a “higher” realm of Fine Art as a vehicle for his conceptual practice. Aesthetic Movement Blue Vortex, a new series by Wynne, is an arrangement of pieces in patterns that are like the spiral shape of a vortex when viewed from above. The vortex shapes are similar to images of galaxies but are a reference to Jean Cocteau’s surrealist drawings and writings. The viewer is transfixed and drawn into the center of the spiral of Yves Klein Blue glass just as Narcissus was consumed with his own image reflected in the water.


1956, Hartford, CT

Donald Baechler is a celebrated and internationally recognized Contemporary artist. His work is usually rendered in a style that combines both innocence and sophistication. His artistic talent was largely influenced by visits to the Wadsworth Antheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, CT, and by works by famous artists such as Andy Warhol. Baechler’s method involves the use of vivid, exuberant colors to create energetic images. He greatly contributed to the Neo-Expressionist movement by incorporating Pop imagery, symbols, and commercial icons into his pieces. Most of his worldly images are recorded on slides; this wide collection of compelling paintings and graphic works can be viewed at his studio in lower Manhattan.


1959, Caracas, Venezuela

Arturo Herrera is a Venezuelan visual artist who exhibits internationally, known for his melding of cartoons and collage. His work taps into the viewer’s unconscious— often intertwining fragments of cartoon characters with abstract shapes and partially obscured images that evoke memory and recollection. Using techniques of fragmentation, splicing, and re-contextualization, Herrera’s work is provocative and open-ended. In his felt works, he cuts shapes from a piece of felt and pins the felt to the wall so that it hangs as a tangled form, resembling the drips and splatters of a Jackson Pollock painting.

John Reynolds

1945, Auckland, New Zealand 

Until the mid-1990s, contemporary New Zealand artist John Reynolds oil stick/acrylic painting seemed to share much in common with Abstract Expressionism, but his search for ultimate ‘truths’ in Reynolds’ work remained playful and speculative. 

Responding to the abundance of information in the global community in the 21st century, Reynolds sifted through the values and beliefs of numerous cultures and periods in history. Drawing together Greek mythology, Nietzschean philosophy and Herman Melville in a single body of work for example, he suggested that any notion of certainty is questionable. Most recently, he has worked with small canvases with colloquial phrases written with oil sticks.

Enoc Perez

1967, San Juan, Puerto Rico 

As the son of an art critic, Enoc Perez spent family vacations traveling to museums in different countries and learning about the history of art. After moving to New York as a young man, he found himself inspired by the silkscreen works of Andy Warhol. 

A painter and printmaker, Perez embraces the ability to convey pleasure and beauty onto the viewer. Although he works with a variety of subjects, including portraits, still lifes, and cityscapes, he is best known for capturing the utopian ideals embodied in the construction of architectural monuments.

Enoc Perez's lushly figured paintings of modernist buildings at once exploit and question the seductions of architecture as well as painting itself.

Elmo Gideon

1924, Overland Park, KS 

Historic Miami Artist and Sculptor Elmo Gideon was an American Master Artist and Sculptor of the 20th and 21st centuries. His paintings and sculptures include some of the world’s most known subjects, including the famous Gideon Holocaust Collection. 

Signed Gideon (early works were sometimes signed E. Gideon), his works cover nearly the entire spectrum of artistic creativity; Abstract, Impressionistic, Modernistic, Portraits, Landscapes, Seascapes, Sculptures and more. 

Gideon has been described as an “artist who borders on being an elemental force” whose own ambitions guided him in the development of revolutionary paints and sculpting compounds, technique and form and application that enabled him to create over 20,000 original works of art during his life.