Navigating Miami's Best Galleries During Art Basel

Emerson Dorsch Aims to Promote Miami’s Art Community

Rob Goyanes

Brook and Tyler
Tyler Emerson-Dorsch and Brook Emerson-Dorsch. Courtesy of subjects.

For Art Basel, Emerson Dorsch will be hosting an exhibition titled “Sunrise, Sunset,” which developed out of conversations with artists concerning their place in local art history and beyond. Curated by Tyler Emerson-Dorsch, the show is about “getting Miami’s artists to think about their legacy beyond the artwork itself,” says Brook.

When he started the gallery more than 26 years ago as Dorsch Gallery, “nobody was showing anyone who was local… except Fred Snitzer,” Dorsch observes. Then was a colorful time in Miami’s art scene: Dorsch recounted running around the Coconut Grove Arts Festival handing out flyers for the first show, which resulted in a massive turnout. It also culminated in “a letter from the city of Miami saying I was operating an art gallery without a license,” he laughs.

Jamilah Sabur’s Untitled (rhombus: above Lake Apopa North Shore), 2017

In 2013, the gallery was renamed Emerson Dorsch, to reflect the partnership between the husband and wife team that continues to run it. The indebtedness of Miami’s art world to Emerson Dorsch is difficult to overstate. The gallery shows Robert Chambers, whose massive kinetic sculptures have taken on mythological status, and Felecia Chizuko Carlisle, whose sound-based installations emit an ethereal atmosphere.

Like so many other galleries, Dorsch decided to leave Wynwood once it entered its latest stage of gentrification. “It was less and less about the galleries,” he says. Still, there is plenty reason to sing the praises of Miami’s art community more broadly. “I think there is more support now for Miami artists than there is in other cities,” the gallerist says. “There’s this family feel.”