“I seriously believe the art works at Privé will bring a renewed sense of hope, imagination, feelings of love, forgiveness and an inspiration to never stop reaching for one’s dreams.”
For months now, Kipton Cronkite has been scanning the globe for the art that will find its home in the lobbies and shared spaces of Privé, the 160-unit ultra-luxe condominium now nearing completion on South Florida’s last private island.
As owners prepare for their arrival on the island, the art selected or commissioned by Cronkite is also arriving and the massive installation is poised to begin. We sat down with Kipton Cronkite to discuss the assignment, and the role of the private curator in a large-scale project like Privé.
1. Please tell us something of your background and how it led you to become a curator of fine art.
In June 2005, I was a Director and Senior Vice President of Bank of America’s Alternative Investment division. Four MFA grads from the School of Visual Arts approached me to find a place outside of school to show their photography. I pitched the idea of exhibiting the twelve works by these four MFA grads at the new W Hotel in Times Square the summer of 2005. Over 300 people stopped by our reception and it was at that point I recognized my calling as a curator and facilitator to support the arts. It’s been 12 years since I started down this path and I’ve never looked back.
2. Do clients seek you out for a particular area of expertise or emphasis?
Yes, clients seek me out to help build their collections all the time. I enjoy working with collectors who want to build a collection over time (so we can grow together). Although I focus on contemporary works from the 1950s to present, my niche is finding new, emerging artists under $15,000 (those artists who have established steady momentum in the art world, a consistent exhibition history and who do art full-time).
3. Before Privé, had you spent much time in South Florida?
Yes, every December I attend Art Basel Miami and have been every year since it started. Outside of attending the art fairs each year, I commute to South Florida 4-6 times per season to escape the cold weather of New York City and enjoy the sun and beaches. The art scene is growing in Miami and I love going as often as I can.
4. How did you come to be involved with Privé?
I met Daniel Lebensohn from Privé a few years ago through mutual friends. During our interaction, he began to understand my curatorial process and passion for bringing art to larger spaces. Daniel asked me to get involved to help curate art for the public spaces of Privé and I’ve enjoyed every minute of collaborating on this project.
5. How did you begin the assignment…can you walk us through the first steps?
During the first assignment, Privé asked me to find an artist who would be the anchor artist for the project. After he discussed the philosophy of the project and I spend time on multiple site visits and meeting the team, I started coming up with ideas for him. The anchor artist I secured was New York based painter, Ross Bleckner.
6. What themes run through the collection?
The themes that run through the works include: positive energy, love and light.
7. What are you hoping the art you’ve selected will bring to the lives of those who see it every day?
I seriously believe the art works at Privé will bring a renewed sense of hope, imagination, feelings of love, forgiveness and an inspiration to never stop reaching for one’s dreams.
8. Did you have particular spaces in mind as you collected, or did you collect first and then begin to position the pieces?
Yes, I had specific spaces in mind as I was curating works for the project. Each time I met or spoke with artists, I explained the philosophy of Privé and the location where the works would be placed. It was very important to create a logical energy flow for Privé residents and guests to enjoy the art.
9. In this assignment, you were asked to build an art collection for hundreds of people you had never met. Is that unusual, and how did you approach it?
I have curated collections for public and private spaces for over a decade but Privé is the most special project I’ve ever done. The most important element for me was first understanding the core essence of Privé. Once I emotionally connected with the project, I began to select the key artists for the project. Through many site interactions with the development and design teams, I organized studio visits with artists who made sense for the project. I’m really excited for the residents and visitors to see all the one-of-a-kind art.
10. If you could keep a single work of art from the Privé collection and add it to your own which would you choose?
I would keep the multi-color dome painting by Ross Bleckner. During our site visit and discussions with Mr. Bleckner, he created four unique works that are the core essence of Privé. His dome paintings are some of my favorites.
About Privé at Island Estates
Privé is located on an eight-acre private island set between Williams Island and Sunny Isles Beach. The twin iconic 16-story towers designed by renowned architects Sieger Suarez, will be comprised of a total of 160 ultra-luxury residences ranging in size from 2,585 square feet to more than 9,500 square feet for select penthouse units– the pinnacle of Miami luxury real estate.
Every Privé residence will feature private elevator entry, flow-through floor plans with 10-foot glass on both eastern and western exposures, full 10-foot-deep balconies, expansive east/west water views throughout, European kitchens and bathrooms, as well as outdoor summer kitchens. First-class, resort-style amenities and services include a 10,000-square-foot gym and spa in each tower, private dining and social rooms, poolside café, wine and cigar rooms, kids’ rooms, tennis court, two pools and Jacuzzis, marina, private pier, jogging path, 24-hour gated entry and roving security, and full-time concierge