AI-Created Portraits Meet Luxury Waterfront Homes In Third Edition of Art Fort Lauderdale

Courtesy of Art Fort Lauderdale/Garin Evan
Offering a taste of Fort Lauderdale's intercoastal waterways, the annual Art Fort Lauderdale fair attracts everyone from collectors to art aficionados.
Artificial intelligence is having a moment. By 2024, its market size is projected to hit $191 billion. From cyber defense to AI-powered customer service, the rapidly growing industry is staking a sizeable claim in Silicon Valley. Here in Fort Lauderdale, it's also preparing to make an innovative mark in the art world.

Sold for half a million at Christie's last year, Portrait of Edmond de Belamy is the history-making portrait created by Paris collective Obvious, made up of Hugo Caselles-Dupré, Pierre Fautrel and Gauthier Vernier. The three people behind one of the world's first AI-generated paintings used an algorithm and information from 15,000 portraits to generate the tech-enabled artwork. Obvious will be making an appearance at this year's Art Fort Lauderdale to host a talk at the fair's artDiscourse sector and to debut two new specialty pieces up for sale.

Flying in the collective to appear at the event for their first-ever exhibition sell is a move Art Fort Lauderdale co-founders Evan Snow and Andrew Martineau were happy to make. "This is the first time that someone will be able to purchase their work [at an art fair] and we've negotiated with them to keep it up to a $10,000 price," Snow says.

He also hints that the collective's work to intersect art and technology is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the broader Art Fort Lauderdale experience. Independent artists not represented by a gallery will be given the chance to exhibit their work, shown off in empty, lavish, multi-million dollar properties. A community-centric dialogue will be facilitated in the artDiscourse series, which is linked to the debut of Fort Lauderdale Art & Design Week.

Immersive initiatives within the artIinteractive series will fill one of the homes with gaming-as-art displays, audio/video projections, green-screen installations, and performative sculptures — it's gearing up to be both trendsetting and contemporary. "We wanted to create something unique and memorable, highlighting the unique characteristics of the city and make it inclusive enough that anybody could participate at any level," explains Snow.

Around 3,000 people — up from 700 attendees at the fair's first installment in 2017—are expected to navigate the intercoastal waters of Fort Lauderdale during the weekend of January 24. Gliding from destination to destination, the seafaring art extravaganza carries attendees along on water taxis — or private yachts, your choice —stopping at vacated luxury homes showcasing the work of over 100 artists and galleries.
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Courtesy of Art Fort Lauderdale/Garin Evan
Staying true to the tradition of million-dollar properties displaying curated art, four decadent homes are set to host artwork this year. Isla Bahia, E Lake Drive, SE 11th St., and Royal Plaza house these sprawling estates, with prices ranging from $3,000,000 to $12,995,000.

Snow also speaks to the role of the annual event in the wider context of South Florida's visual art scene. "We didn't have a major art fair in Fort Lauderdale or in Broward County. There was no Art Basel, no platform for artists to showcase their work," he explains. "My partner and I, we're passionate community-builders, so we wanted to create a platform to highlight and showcase artists in ways that they've never been showcased before while creating a platform for the community to view and interact with art. Part of our mission statement was putting Fort Lauderdale on a world map as an art destination and we feel that we're succeeding on that."

Already nicknamed the heart of "Fort Lauderdale's Art Basel," Art Fort Lauderdale has stirred up some major media buzz about this year's upcoming edition. Nodding to the artificial intelligence theme, beloved boat rides and the launch of Art and Design Week — a self-funded venture — Snow suggests that the signature risk-taking elements of the floating, city-wide affair will be in full effect. "We're really going for it; it'll be next level stuff that Fort Lauderdale and even Miami haven't seen before." 

Art Fort Lauderdale. Thursday, January 24 through Sunday, January 27. Multiple locations throughout Fort Lauderdale; 954-361-4998. Tickets start at $55.