Get a First Look Inside Miami’s Newest Private Art Museum
Art collector John Marquez shares his extensive collection, including paintings by Miami Beach artist José Delgado Zuñiga, which will be displayed in a solo show during Art Basel
The most common reason for opening a nonprofit art foundation (what most of us call a private museum) is that the founding collector has simply amassed too much—and that’s certainly true of Marquez Art Projects (MAP), a new Miami space displaying art from the nearly 1,000-piece trove of Coral Gables real estate developer John Marquez.
Marquez opened his new venture at the end of September in the Allapattah neighborhood near other major destinations such as the Rubell Museum and El Espacio 23, the private art space of Jorge M. Pérez, of Pérez Art Museum Miami fame. “I’m inspired by the Rubell, Margulies, and de la Cruz families,” he says, citing Miami’s top private museum founders. “I’ve always admired what they’ve done.”
Initially conceived by the late, great architectural curator and museum director Terry Riley, the 8,000-square-foot space is an elegant and spartan affair with 25-foot-high ceilings and polished-concrete floors, designed by Miami firm KoDa in collaboration with K/R (Keenen/Riley) and Studio RODA, directed by Rodrigo Albir. Marquez Art Projects, which is open by appointment only, plans to mount four presentations at a time and will feature the solo show “Cusp,” a new body of paintings by Miami Beach artist José Delgado Zuñiga, during the week of Art Basel.
Aiding Marquez in his new endeavor are art adviser Adam Green and Alex Gartenfeld, artistic director at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, where Marquez serves on the board. “John is an amazing guy, a total force of nature,” says Gartenfeld. “His collection is a supercool index of what’s happening today in Miami and around the world.”
“I grew up around Latin American art, and my mom collected,” says Marquez, a Miami native, whose 20s coincided with the debut of Wynwood Walls, the outdoor mural hub that has since become famous as a place of free-form, colorful expression. “I saw that street art and it spoke to me, so I started collecting KAWS and Banksy,” says Marquez, who has since added pieces by Harold Ancart, Peter Saul, Kenny Scharf, and Lauren Quin to his ever-growing mix.
“He’s following his own compass as to what he buys,” says Brian Donnelly, aka KAWS. The two first met at Sushi Noz, the Michelin-starred restaurant in New York that Marquez owns. Donnelly adds that for any artist, a public setting is especially desirable. “You want someone buying your work who’s going to look at it but also share it.”
“His collection is a supercool index of what’s happening today in Miami and around the world”Alex gartenfeld
The foundation happened bit by bit. At first, “I started running out of room in my house to show it all,” says Marquez. And while he is proud to present his treasures, he has an appealingly humble and casual approach that may help draw people who want to see an authentic collection based purely on instinct. “There was never a plan,” he says with a laugh. “I still feel like I’m winging it.”
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2023 Winter Issue under the headline “Open Access.” Subscribe to the magazine.