The Art in This Florida Mall Rivals Many Major Museums

The Art in This Florida Mall Rivals Many Major Museums

Thanks to one discerning collector, the 2.8-million-square-foot retail space is home to a growing cache of contemporary masterworks

 

By Alexandra Peers

 

You will find love in a Florida mall in 2019.

This isn’t the prediction of an optimistic fortune cookie but a promise from real-estate developer Jackie Soffer. About a dozen years ago, Soffer, the CEO of Turnberry Associates, began buying artworks for the 2.8-million-square-foot Aventura Mall, one of the largest in America. On the way to that property north of Miami now is Robert Indiana’s iconic sculpture Love, snapped up at a Christie’s auction last month for $1.87 million.

Love, by Robert Indiana, the newest addition to the Aventura Mall's collection.
Love, by Robert Indiana, the newest addition to the Aventura Mall’s collection.
Photo: Getty Images

 

A few malls have art, a very few have good art, but almost none have the button-pushers and immersive installations that the Aventura Mall features. Artists on view include pioneers or buzzy contemporary players like Louise Bourgeois, Wendell Castle, Lawrence Weiner, Julian Opie, and Daniel Arsham. There’s a 93-foot-long slide by artist Carsten Höller, who had another one in London’s Tate Modern museum. At first glance, it all seems highly unlikely, but—much like Steve Wynn’s groundbreaking Bellagio Hotel, which signaled to a certain set that the luxury property in Las Vegas had Picassos—the art immediately and wordlessly brands the shopping center.

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