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Hub Culture Salon: Design Miami

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2nd Oct 2008

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Delicious Ola at the fab Sanctuary SoBe
Set against the backdrop of Art Basel Miami Beach, Hub Culture hosted another Salon session, this time focused on design and its role in the art world. The guest list included a global set who descended on Ola at the Sanctuary SoBe for a rowdy evening punctuated by some great insights.

The guest list:

Sarah Belden, Curators Without Borders, Berlin

Jeanne Fahey, Curators Without Borders, Berlin

Caprice Horn, Galerie Caprice Horn, Berlin

Matt Langton, Albion, London

Heidi Lee, Heidi Lee Art Advisory, New York

Peter Marco, artist, New York

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Peter Marco on PR: "you got to work it if you want to make it"
Jazz-Minh Moore, artist, Los Angeles

Erinch Ozada, Archery Capital, New York

Rebecca Pinette-Dorin, Trashy Persona, Miami

Lauren Prakke, Prakke Contemporary, London

Orhan Tanner, Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair, Istanbul

Tim White-Sobieski, video artist, New York

Officially described as "The Perfection of the Grapefruit", the dinner was overlooked by the artistic work of Jazz-Minh Moore, who had a painting of a grapefruit hanging near the table, on exhibition with other pieces in Ola, the new/moved restaurant in the chic Sanctuary SoBe. It opened in November. The grapefruit were designed to be organic, hemmed by a perfect circle. It was a metaphor that served the evening well, as guests debated the roles and intersections between design and art.

Ola at the Sanctuary SoBe Rebecca kicked it off with a bag of sex toys - her highly conceptual company focuses on design and presents sexual objects in a high end way through their website at www.trashypersona.com. Everything from rubberized tape to "honey-dust", to trashy comic books made their way to guests who had to agree: good design elevates!

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For all your gift bag needs, click Miss Trashy above
Once Tim White-Sobieski got over his shock, the conversation turned to his groundbreaking video art and the role video art is playing in interior design. "Before no one noticed, but now it is becoming a central feature in the design of a room". His art, very popular among those who know, *such as Bernard Arnault*, is immensly popular and highly valued. This could be the leading design trend of the next decade as the living room becomes a projection canvas - and people begin to design their homes using video and video art installations as a component.

For Caprice Horn, owner of Berlin's most famous small contemporary gallery, the interest was on the greater number of designers and artists basing themselves out of Berlin - the city has become THE spot for new 00s generation dynamism, and coupled with the fantastic money that has been flowing into the local art scene, probably home to several next majors in both design and art.

The team from Curators Without Borders, Sarah and Jeanne, expanded on the Berlin theme of the evening and described the impact of design on the local community within the urban space of Berlin, and talked about how they have designed their project: focusing not on artists but on curators, many of which rarely have a chance to curate a show. Their space allows revolving curators to host programs, mixing up the relationships between artists, galleries and curators in the city and enlivening the artistic process. And it seems rules are being "broken" everywhere - as Orhan indicated when he spoke of the success of the Istanbul Art Fair, a newish contemporary endeavour designed to serve the growing markets in Turkey. Contemporary Istanbul features international and local artists and is creating new opportunities for those who work outside of the London-New York axis of art.

Heidi Lee, Lauren Prakke and Jazz Minh Moore reflected on relationships, stating that "design used to be outward, to please, while art was an inward thing, to satisfy," but that the roles are reversing - design is moving inward and more personal while art has become a status symbol, an outward affectation. Most people don't collect art only to enjoy it, but as an investment and to show it. Art is now functional - a realm of design. Meanwhile design has become about expression and less about functionality. A strange truth! Does that mean design is the new art?

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Jazz-Minh Moore's stunning art decorates Ola's walls
Peter Marco expanded on Hub Culture's exploration during Frieze 2006 that the artist today must promote himself or be relegated to non-status. His work for Swatch, Absolut and others would indicate he practices what he preaches - and most agreed he had a point - "art has to be seen to be relevant to society" and "who cares about the promotion, its an art to itself" describe the attitude: you got to work it if you want to make it.

Which leads to the conclusion: in the 1960s no one thought pieces designed by Marc Newson would fetch the commanding prices they do today. In the 1980s no one thought coffee tables would sell for millions of dollars a piece. Today, people aren't sure if sex toys and common everyday design items will ever fetch an "art" price. But we know the answer. Maybe that's why Marc Jacobs spent so much time at ABMB this year - being seen as an artist and a designer just must elevate those unscuffed Louis Vuitton loafers in the closet to a new status. Maybe all those shoe collectors were on to something afterall... they will be worth a mint in another generation.

Of course, it was hard to get consensus on that last point - by the end of the dinner half the table was wrapped in bondage tape, blindfolded or otherwise playing with red glitter nipple tassles and had long since given up on the original conversation. Well, it was Miami!

Thanks to Ola at the Sanctuary SoBe for a great, lively venue, our warm regards to the Jennifer Jacobs party of 12 at the next table and a tip of the hat to Trashy Persona for the props!