The Real Deal Miami

Jorge Perez on art and SLS Brickell

Describing Bernard Roig's sculpture, "The Man of Light," Perez sang the Beatles song, "He's a real nowhere man"

November 23, 2016 08:45AM
By Ina Cordle

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Jorge Perez, chairman of the Related Group, seems to care as much if not more about the art at his developments as he does the steel and glass that go into the projects.

“Some art makes you happy, some art makes you think,” Perez told The Real Deal, seated on a sofa on the mezzanine level of the hotel at the recently completed SLS Brickell. “It hits you in so many ways.”

His favorite art, he said, is always the last one he bought. And he won’t discuss prices.

For SLS Brickell, at 1300 South Miami Avenue, Related partnered with sbe on the condo, hotel and restaurant development.

The Arquitectonica-designed 55-story building includes a 450-unit condo tower, a 124-room hotel and two restaurants led by celebrity chefs, Bazaar Mar by chef Jose Andres and Fi’lia by chef Michael Schwartz. The hotel component features guest rooms designed by Philippe Starck.

Related commissioned artists to create several major art installations that were specifically designed for the project:

  • Markus Linnenbrick, a German artist who lives in Brooklyn, painted the mural on the building, depicting dripping paint;
  • Katya Loher, a Swiss artist, who also lives in Brooklyn, designed video installations, “When will the sea swallow the land?” The installation features six LED-discs placed on the ceiling of the entranceway of SLS Brickell.

“We found her in one of the fairs during Basel and fell in love with her work, and bought a piece for our home,” Perez told TRD. That one is a table and chairs with a video installation, showing bees pollinating, with other scenes depicting the world after the bees have died. Perez said his 13-year-old son, who was 10 at the time, loved it. Perez then asked Loher to create the video installations at SLS Brickell.

“Katya talks about the disappearance of things, our urbanization and our technology,” Perez said.

  • Ray Smith, a Mexican-American artist completed two massive paintings for the condo lobby, “The Wave,” and “Tex-Rex (Cowboy).
  • Bernardi Roig, a Spanish sculptor, made the sculpture of “The Man of Light,” in the hotel lobby, featuring a middle-aged man hauling a collection of lights strung on wires behind him.

“He’s a man without destiny,” Roig told TRD of the sculpture, likening him to Sisyphus of Greek mythology, who had to push a huge bolder up a hill, only to watch it come back and hit him, repeating the action for eternity.

Perez then began singing the Beatles song, “He’s a real nowhere man.”

“I love the art, I love the artist and I love the expression of his humanity and our humanity in this art,” Perez said.

“Art reflects our times….. Artists interpret the issues facing us in different ways,” Perez added. “[Roig] does it with sculpture, Katya does it with video, Markus with his dripping paints. It’s their expressions of what they see and feel.”

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