Former NBA Big Amar'e Stoudemire Commissions Extraordinarily Tall Paintings by Steven Cogle for Opening of SCOPE Miami Beach

by Kara Powell

Amar’e Stoudemire | photos c/o SCOPE Art Show

Amar’e Stoudemire | photos c/o SCOPE Art Show

Former NBA all-star, Amar’e Stoudemire, used to collect heads, dunking on those of opponents often as a hoop star. Off the court, the officially retired athlete is now an official shot-caller in the contemporary art world, housing dozens of contemporary works in his Miami home, and curating art that combines cultural significance as seamlessly as he has melded his philanthropic capacity with his creative interests.

Playing into a newfound identity as a king of contemporary art, a monarchical title for which his Melech Collection is named for, Stoudemire made an arrangement with Sotheby’s--another member of the royal art world family, to kick off the 17th edition of SCOPE Miami Beach on December 5 with something big: Brooklyn neo-expressionist painter Steven Cogle’s “The Temple Within,” which measures up to taller-than-a-T-Rex height at 45 feet and was commissioned by Stoudemire to paint the ancient tale of the siege of the temple at Jerusalem (AD 70) onto contemporary art's present day canvas.

The Melech Collection's primary objective is beyond seeing. Stoudemire listens for softer voices seldom heard in the contemporary art world and endeavors to amplify them. Over the past two years, the collection has partnered with several local artists, namely LA native artist RETNA and Chicago artist Hebru Brantley, for Amare’s In The Paint series, which builds bridges for emerging artists with art enthusiasts and created an interactive art experience for kids in their local communities. 

The tradition of bringing just-beneath-the-surface contemporary artists into the Miami sun continues with Stoudemire’s commissioning of Cogle’s massive triptychs that feature panels splashed with vivid blood red paint apposed next to a praying Rabbi. The work viewed in its grandiose totality challenges thousands of modern spectators to view a historical example of the “chaos of warfare” and treat it as a visual allegory of the conflicting roles faith and violence play in modern times.

In addition to hosting over 60,000 visitors over the course of six days, SCOPE Miami Beach acted as a proud host to VIP’s which included Stoudemire for a talk last Thursday morning on “Community Art As Cultural Capital” with panelists Graham C. Boettcher. R Hugh Director of Birmingham Museum of Art, found materials artist, Awol Erizku, and Tangie Murray, Executive Director at Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. A first round pick of Sotheby’s, Stoudemire was recently named a global art expert by the auction house and will continue lending an assist to contemporary curated auctions and festivals through his Melech Collection. 

SCOPE Miami Beach took place December 5 - 10, 2018, coinciding with the dates of Art Basel Miami 2018. 

Written by Kara Powell