With Art Basel Miami just around the corner, we thought we’d catch up with a local to find out where’s best for people watching, art appreciating and coffee drinking plus everything else in between.
Nina Johnson Milewski of Gallery Diet has lived in Miami for 10 years now. Having moved back to her home town after time away in Boston, we were certain Nina would be the best to talk to about art, culture and relaxation.
You lived in Boston for a number of years before coming down to Miami in 2005, what made you change your mind and head south?
I’m originally from Miami so I consider myself a ‘home-grown orange.’ After I graduated there was so much happening here that it seemed like a natural step. There’s something so strange and wonderful about Miami, it’s exotic and rough and weird, it’s a wonderful place to explore creativity and try new things.
Miami is known as a city with little history – do you agree with this? Does Miami have a secret past?
I don’t actually, Miami has a wonderfully rich history full of colourful characters that have helped create this romantic notion of a city without a past. This is a carefully crafted story that’s been built over the years to help the tourism and real estate industries. As someone who has built a life here I can tell you there’s a diligent set of creative people who are working to re-structure this narrative, unearth the hidden truth and build a vibrant future.
Where is your favourite part of the city?
My new gallery! We’re located smack in the middle of Little Haiti and Little River, we have avocado trees in our backyard, housing projects across the street and the best creole food you can eat just a few blocks south, it’s the perfect microcosm of all the things that make Miami wild and wonderful.
There’s a varied food culture in Miami; where and what is your go-to place on a Friday night?
My ‘go to’ on a any night is Mandolin, it’s consistently good with a wonderful atmosphere, located just up the street from me in Buena Vista, their gyro and fries with a glass of red wine cures any work day blues.
Best spot for people watching?
Hands-down it never gets old, Lincoln Road.
Last-minute date spot?
The Perez Art Museum, where one of my artists, Nicolas Lobo currently has a solo show on view, they’re open late on Thursday night and the restaurant is beautiful.
How do you spend your weekends?
A typical Saturday is spent visiting with my artists, Saturday morning can be a great time to catch up with them. This month I’ve been especially spending a lot of time visiting with Emmett Moore who is working on the Scenography for our outdoor design exhibition, Trees in Oolite.
Tips for an out-of-towner?
Stay at The Standard Spa, get a massage and take a day to drive around some of the rougher parts of town.
What’s Miami’s best kept secret?
The water! So many people visit Miami and never see it from the water, it may seem obvious but it still gets missed a lot.
Where’s the best place to stay in Miami?
For me it’s between Soho Beach House and The Standard.
You’ve just relocated your gallery to a building between Little Haiti and Little River– where’s best to grab coffee? A cold beer?
I LOVE my new neighbourhood, we’re a destination yet still centrally located, Churchill’s is right up the street for a drink, and the Ironside coffee shop is my favourite stop for an iced latte and croissant.
What’s not to miss this year at Art Basel Miami Beach?
Trees in Oolite our first exhibition of outdoor design in the garden of our new space.
Aside from Art Basel, are there any other must-see art or design shows?
Nicolas Lobo’s The Leisure Pit at the Perez Art Museum Miami.