Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Live" from Art Basel Miami Beach -- Courtyard Motels Make Great Galleries

I very much enjoyed this year's Aqua Art Miami show at the Aqua Hotel in Miami Beach. The art was good -- much of it was executed with skill. In addition, a good deal of the enjoyment came from the venue, a hotel in a motel form that surrounds a courtyard (see middle photo of half the hotel and courtyard).

The very feature that makes motels uncomfortable for (non-exhibitionistic) guests is what makes this type of building good for commerce: The primary widows line the passageways. In a motel, this means that guests frequently keep c
urtains tightly drawn and passers-by avert their eyes.

In a commercial use, looking is encouraged. At the Aqua show, each room housed a gallery. The relationship between the window and the passageways allowed prospective customers to peer into each room and see the inventory, without having to make the commitment to come inside. This increases the chance that someone will become a buyer.

The benefit of this relationship was evidenced numerous times by visitors looking though windows (see top photo of a typical reaction). In some cases, conversations took place through the window, a contemporary version of a Vermeer-like scene (see bottom photo of the window of the room housing the Decorazon gallery).


  1. Great photos. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Staying in that kind of motels is so great. Especially if all the people are very friendly. You will meet a lot of friend in that kind of motel. I wish I can stay in that kind of motel again.

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