“A big mistake,” Fred Snitzer half-jokes in response to a question about his decision to open a gallery 40 years ago, at a time when Miami had barely an inkling of art history or contemporary work, and especially no artist-run galleries. “Imagine opening a pharmacy in a city and you were the only trained pharmacist,” he quips.
Born in Philadelphia to a lower middle class family, Snitzer was an artist from very young, and went on to study at the Philadelphia College of Art and attended grad school at Penn State. Snitzer sees great value in a formal arts education: he’s been teaching at the New World School of the Arts for the past 25 years, and laments Miami’s current lack of artistic pedagogy. However, his gallery has been a primary source of the city’s art education the last four decades.
In December, the gallery will be showing a solo installation of new paintings by Cuban-born artist Enrique Martinez Celaya, who combines his rigorous knowledge of science—he has degrees in Applied Physics from Cornell and Quantum Electronics from UC Berkley—with philosophy and painterly figuration. For Art Basel Miami Beach, a group show will include Maria Martinez-Cañas, the remainder of the estate of Carlos Alfonso, work by assume vivid astro focus, Hernan Bas, Alan Sonfist, Kenny Scharf, and others.
On Miami’s art landscape today, Snitzer says, “I never dreamt in a million years that we would be where are.”