Built in 1963 and designed by Cuban architect Hilario Candela, the Miami Marine Stadium was home to the spectacular sport of powerboat racing as well as concerts and boxing matches on floating stages. After Hurricane Andrew the venue had fallen into disrepair and become an unofficial home to Miami’s street artists in Biscayne Bay. This year at Art Basel Miami Beach, Mayor Tomás Regalado has welcomed the French artist duo Kolkoz (Benjamin Moreau and Samuel Boutruche) to Key Biscayne for their impressive and unusual installation, “Curiosity,” presented by Audemars Piguet and Galerie Perrotin.
As you approach the abandoned Marine Stadium, you may think you’ve come to the wrong place until you spot waiters clad in white darting to and from a wooden dock. Through the trees one can make out a ski chalet floating on what looks like a snow covered island.
On closer inspection, though, the exhibit is no less strange. The snow is white astroturf of some kind and the chalet is a meticulously detailed inflatable castle complete with a grand “fireplace” glowing red in the center.
The name of the exhibit isn’t actually a statement on the viewer’s reaction but a nod to the 2012 Mars Curiosity Rover; a peaceful invasion of a foreign invader and the perfect representation of self-contained, self-sufficient mobility. It may feel like quite a conceptual reach but looking at the chalet from the stadium and vice-versa there is a definite sense of a sort of “What are you doing here?” conversation taking place.
The artist duo enjoys the concept of “conquering new territories” and they’ve certainly had success in Miami. There is even an effort by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to have the stadium included in the National Register of Historic Places. It is a beautiful, resilient structure that encapsulates the spirit and style of South Florida even after years of neglect by the city.