The Haitian Art Company, in business in Key West, Florida since 1977, is for sale. Owner Boris Kravitz, who lives in Haiti, is selling the historic corner property with residence upstairs for $1.6 million. That includes $1 million in inventory. One can only hope that the buyer maintains the gallery as the Haitian Art Company and doesn’t sell it to a condo developer, remaindering the artwork to a wholesale buyer who couldn’t care less for it. Kravitz is known for discovering artists and selling paintings next to photos of the artists, whom he knows personally. The gallery is in the midst of a major sale. If interested in purchasing the gallery, telephone (305) 296-8932 or visit the website www.haitian-art-co.com. Or email for a prospectus at HaitianArtCompany@gmail.com.
Dispite political unrest, the business of Haitian art thrives. Thank you to all the members of the Haitian Art Society, a gathering of collectors, gallery owners and museum officials from around the U.S., who came to my home in mid-May as part of a weekend-long South Florida visit. All attended the show “Allegories of Haitian Life: The Collection of Jonathan Demme” at the Bass Museum on Miami Beach, a show I co-curated with Axelle Liautaud. The one and only venue for the show was this one, so the opportunity to view the private holdings of major art collector and film director Demme was indeed special.
I met new friends from the Haitian Art Society like Bill Bollendorf of Pittsburgh and Kent Shankle of the Waterloo Center for the Arts in Waterloo, Iowa, which has a dedicated space for Haitian art and a large permanent collection of it as well. I saw old friends too, like super-collectors Beverly Sullivan of Washington, D.C. and Ed Gessen of southern California. Between the champagne and the Italian meatballs, the group that arrived on a Greyhound bus in front of my suburban home had a lot to see and talk about. But the visit of these Haitian art lovers was brief — only 90 minutes before they headed back to Miami and dinner at Tap-Tap Restaurant on South Beach, where Haitian art is on the walls in wonderful murals and on painted furniture. The menu’s deliciously Haitian.
August 13, 2006
Now is not the time to visit Haiti, unless you are accompanied by armed guards like the United Nations’ Kofi Annan. Ordinary residents, including foreigners who have been in Haiti for decades, are being kidnapped or, worse, murdered according to recent reports in the Miami Herald. Canadian missionary Ed Hughes, who runs an orphanage, was taken from his home in a town north of Port-au-Prince in late June, held for ransom and eventually released. He decided to return to Canada rather than remain in Haiti, putting himself and his orphanage at further risk. What will happen to the 120 children he fed and supported every day? No one knows. It is unlikely that fellow Canadians will rush to fill the breach. In May of this year, 29 people were kidnapped in the capital, according to the United Nations peacekeeping mission. That number rose to an alarming 49 kidnap victims in July, including the sixty-something wife of an Italian man. He was brutalized, tied and beaten death as his wife was led away to captivity. Eventually, she was released after her family paid an undisclosed sum of money.