Before Art Basel took over Miami's South Beach, bringing international art stars to the town's pastel streets, the cozy Art Deco haven was a home for another beloved demographic -- Jewish retirees.
Throughout the 1980s the elderly inhabitants occupied the affordable Miami hotels, living in a mini paradise filled with their own beachside gatherings and bold fashions choices. This more tranquil aspect of Miami's past is the subject of a new photography exhibit at New York's Howard Greenberg Gallery, featuring the work of Houston-born artist, Gay Block. The show, titled "LOVE: South Beach in the 80s," features 20 archival prints of South Beach's brightly clothed residents.
The series is a heartwarming homage to Block's first trip to Miami, where she was inspired by the floppy hats and tinted sunglasses of its smiling people. She describes this encounter in her book, "About Love: Gay Block Photographs and Films 1973-2011," stating:
"When I first went Miami’s South Beach in 1982 it was love at first sight. I was awed by the beauty of the small Deco hotels, but even more by the old people sitting on the porches. The first night, when I stopped at one of those porches after dinner, I knew right away that I would return again and again to talk with and photograph them. Here were the bubbes and zaydes (grandmothers and grandfathers) I wished I’d had.”
Scroll through the slideshow below for a peek at Block's South Beach series. Could you think of a better time and place to retire?
The exhibit will be on view at Howard Greenberg Gallery from March 29-April 27, 2013.