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.