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Talking with Eric Firestone from Art Basel Miami Beach

Eric Firestone at Art Basel Miami

Eric Firestone at Art Basel Miami Photo Credit: Courtesy Eric Firestone

For those in the art world, all eyes are on Miami right now, where Art Basel Miami Beach is in full swing. The annual international art show has brought artists, curators, buyers, models, actors and socialites to Miami for parties and art. Among them are Eric Firestone, a Miami native and the man behind his eponymous East Hampton gallery.

Firestone's gallery has been featured in the New York Times, New York Magazine, Art in America, ArtNews, Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair and more. He's also worked with such artists as Donald Robertson, Sanford Biggers, Kenny Scharf, Bäst, and Tseng Kwong Chi. Though for Miami Beach, it's all about his Teepee Project, an immersive installation featuring reinterpretations of traditional Native American teepees by contemporary artists Misaki Kawai and Jen Stark.

Direct from Art Basel Miami Beach, Firestone clues us into the festival's hottest parties and the state of the art scene.

As a native of Miami, what's it like to see the art world come to Miami?

It's great! So much is happening here beyond Basel, but it helps to continue and to add to the landscape of an international art city.

Break down Basel for us. What are you seeing in Miami?

A lot of crates and bubble wrap.

What inspired The Teepee Project?

Continuing my curatorial dialog of visual reinterpretation, and the Teepee is so damn cool!

This isn't the first time you did a huge installation. Tell us about your plane initiative in Arizona.

A crazy-ass dream in 2011 came to fruition when I salvaged [a] disused military aircraft. The Boneyard Project was launched on Tucson, Arizona, and included Kenny Scharf. It's to date my proudest project and continues to add new artists.

With all the parties swarming Basel, is there one you are looking forward to going to?

Pool party at Soho House with my friend Kyle DeWoody at Grey Area. Featuring inflatable pool floaties with Jen Stark, Misaki Kawai, FriendsWithYou and Devin Troy Strother.

How competitive is the art world right now?

What world isn't competitive?

Who's the most sought-after artist and why?

Loaded question but I'll put my money on Ellsworth Kelly or Jasper Johns. They are on my Mount Rushmore of living American artists.

Does having a big gallery mean someone's a big-time art dealer?

Big gallery doesn't equate to great dealer. Vision is the upmost important thing. It comes from all different types of galleries and curators both big and small.

How do you approach art differently than most dealers?

I'm game for anything if it's exciting! Branding comes from projects both inside and outside of the white box that are on point and continue to evolve.

How does art impact fashion?

It's everywhere. Creatives unite designers, artists, music, etc. All the lines are blurred as far as I'm concerned.

How do you become Eric Firestone?

Win a Paul Giamatti look-alike contest.


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