‘You Don’t Just Pick Things That You Think Are Pretty’: Actress Brooke Shields on Curating at Miami Art Week
Brooke Shields curated a group show of work from New York Academy of Art alumni on view now at Art Miami.
It’s no secret that the plethora of glitzy events taking place during the annual Miami Art Week draws throngs of celebrities to party, pose, and snap up art and design pieces. But few celebrities have jumped headlong into the festivities as much as actress Brooke Shields. And having organized two presentations on view in Miami this week, she’s hoping an even wider audience will begin to find art as accessible as she has.
For the third time, Shields has teamed up with close friend David Kratz, the president of the New York Academy of Art (where Shields is a trustee), to present an exhibition of work by alumni of its MFA program. The project is part of the ever-expanding partnership platform of Art Miami, the longest-running Miami fair and a favorite among locals.
Shields and Kratz worked together to select paintings, drawings, and sculpture from an array of alumni submissions over a period of months to display in a special section at the fair. Prices range from $300 to $7,000; several works have sold a few days into the presentation.
How has Shields enjoyed her turn as a curator? “You just become more comfortable with the idea of narrowing it down one at a time,” she told artnet News. Of her collaboration with Kratz, she says, “We work really well together but it’s a long process and it’s not an easy one. You don’t just pick things that you think are pretty.”
While the Art Miami grouping does not have a theme per se, a second presentation of New York Academy of Art work on view in the lobby of the Mandarin Oriental in Miami—where the duo serendipitously scored extra space in their planning process—is titled “Real Men.”
Shields explains: “It wasn’t intended to be a political show or on the nose about a movement. It’s more about ‘What are the archetypes and stereotypes and how have they changed? What in your consciousness as an artist has changed? What of your work symbolizes a certain masculinity?’ That triggered a lot of very vastly different submissions.”
Shields first became connected to the academy roughly a dozen years ago when her husband, in search of a 10th wedding anniversary present, decided to commission portraits of their daughters from artist Will Cotton, a longtime friend of the art school—which eventually led to Shields meeting Kratz. “It was a version of love at first sight,” she says.
Since then, her immersion in the art world has been surprisingly comfortable. “I’m just amazed, thinking of shows like Art Basel Miami, they always seemed so prohibitive to me, whether in terms of price or knowledge, like you either have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars or a doctorate. It always seemed unattainable.”
After working with the academy, however, Shields has come to understand that “art doesn’t have to be out of your price range or high-brow,” she says.
Shields and Kratz will host a curatorial reception for “Real Men” this evening at the Mandarin Oriental.
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