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Almost every new iteration of Miami Art Week inaugurates new destinations on the city’s cultural map, and 2023 is no exception. Arguably this year’s most prominent addition is Marquez Art Projects (MAP), the private foundation established by the Miami-based real estate developer and restaurateur John Marquez.

Located in the burgeoning Allapattah district alongside such attractions as the Rubell Museum and Superblue, the 8,000 sq. ft building is divided into four galleries: one devoted to an ongoing programme of solo exhibitions and three to selections from Marquez’s collection. Marquez estimates his holdings have expanded to more than 1,000 pieces, only 10% to 20% of which will generally be on view at MAP.

“I started collecting art in my mid-20s, just buying street art,” Marquez tells The Art Newspaper. But by 2016 he found himself collecting so prolifically that he had to begin sending his acquisitions (a growing number of which were works of emerging contemporary art) to storage. “I’m in real estate, so I thought, ‘Let me buy a place to have my offices and hang my art,’” he says.

Marquez acquired the building in Allapattah in 2017 and began remodelling it in 2018. It was also around this time that he noticed his online influence growing among younger collectors and younger artists hoping to level up—an experience that reoriented his thinking around another question: “Why not use this platform I’m already creating virtually and just open [the collection] to the public?”

It took another five years for him to accomplish this goal. The primary roadblocks were the Covid-19 pandemic and the death of Terence Riley, the project’s initial architect. But in September 2023—nearly one year after its originally scheduled opening during Miami Art Week 2022—MAP opened its inaugural exhibition, centred on works by the Spanish-born figurative painter Cristina de Miguel. Almost 1,000 guests turned out for the celebratory occasion.

Collaborative troika

For now, the foundation plans to stage two new solo exhibitions per year, one opening in spring and one during Miami Art Week. Its second of 2023, a solo affair by the Mexican American painter José Delgado Zúñiga (who doubles as MAP’s first artist in residence), opened on 4 December. (Although the foundation typically allows visitors only by appointment, it is open Sunday to Sunday during Art Week as part of Art Basel in Miami Beach’s VIP programme.)

A collaborative troika curates the three galleries reserved for Marquez’s collection: Alex Gartenfeld, the artistic director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, the art adviser Adam Green and Marquez himself. The first space at present features works by women-identifying abstractionists, the second, general highlights of Marquez’s holdings, and the third, pieces by Miami artists.

Marquez calls the last of these “very dear to my heart”. He adds that providing a platform for up-and-coming artists from the area is “a big part of my mission”, an aim that allies him closely with his “dear friend” Gartenfeld: “Our main goal is to put Miami on the map, to make it an even more important art hub and destination.”

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