Amidst the cultural whirlwind that is Art Basel Miami Beach, you may find yourself entranced and engrossed in the week’s myriad art shows, nonstop parties, and warm climate pleasures divergent from the cool austerity of most metropolitan cities and cultural centers. But when it came to BlackBook’s journey down south this year, one of our favorite discoveries was lingering just down the street from all Basel’s excitement—the treasure of Emanuele Viscuso and his exotic home on the bay.
As our first decision made in our Art Basel planning, we opted to stay in an Airbnb house rather than one of the scene-centric hotels the city has to offer. Between the fairs (ABMB, Art Miami, Design Miami, Pulse, Untitled, NADA… the list goes on,) the people, and the parties, we already sensed a need for some quiet respite—and what better way to revive our minds and creative spirit between happenings than with some bay side reflection and relaxation?
Upon looking at Emanuele’s South Beach home, we had a feeling there was something special hiding behind his doors. Perhaps it was the house’s proximity to the water—including a pool, private beach, and 180 degree sunset views—or maybe it was the artwork that lined he house (the photos just don’t do it all justice), but we can say with assurance that there is truly something magical about it. As our host, Emanuele played a major part in our incredible experience—his home and stories of his life as an artist a true inspiration and one of the most unique experiences we could have had in Miami.
BlackBook’s home away from home for the past week, Emanuele’s house is filled with creations of his own from nearly 30 years of work as an artist: sculptures that capture and embody the movement of sound; a Frida Kahlo collaboration with the photographer Leo Matiz; trompe l’oeil library wallpaper. The energy in the house is incredible and supremely revitalizing—most of that comes from the artist himself.
With a background in music as a composer and concert pianist, Emanuele’s love of composition comes to life as the physical embodiment of sound through his countless sculptures throughout the home. Varying in color, shape, texture, and scale they’re a sampling of the versions he has housed at the Observatory of Contemporary Art (Bagheria), Paolo Pini museum in Milan, and Milan’s Malpensa Airport (something to look for on your next Milan Fashion Week excursion). The sculptures encapsulate the motion of music’s physicality—each line is a note, the lines together in varying heights, a chord. The sculptures reverberated with us even more strongly after he treated us to a private piano concert, playing pieces by heart from his own compositions that range from neo-classical wonders filled with emotion to songs akin to classic American jazz standards, as well as the compositions of one of his favorite legends Frederic Chopin.
Between the private concerts (with the stunning view of the bay at night), the Frida Kahlo-themed bedroom, numerous sculptures on view throughout the home, picture frames filled with happy, smiling faces ((Emanuele with Richard Gere, Emanuele with Liza Minnelli…) and the backyard space to beat all backyards, it’s clear we found the true hidden gem of Art Basel Miami Beach—and we couldn’t have been more pleased.