Q&A | Marcel Katz
The Miami-based art aficionado, dealer and collector, Marcel Katz, is the creator and founder of The Art Plug. Established in 2015, the art dealership and online gallery have added spaces in Los Angeles and Nagoya, Japan, with a roster of over 70 artists trading sculptures, paintings, and photography. For young artists and collectors, the art world can be daunting; the Art Plug serves to guide and nourish these newcomers with a range of contemporary and secondary works. Recently labeled the “youngest dealer of Salvador Dali,” Katz continues to disrupt the art market with new and vibrant techniques. We caught up with the visual guru to discuss his favorite works parallel to The Art Plug.
Tell us about the creation of The Art Plug.
Funny enough, The Art Plug and my career in the art world actually spawned from my previous work in the nightlife industry. After graduating, I began to oversee experiential programming for The Opium Group (a popular nightlife/hospitality group based in Miami). During my time with Opium, I met a ton of artists who frequented the clubs and saw an opportunity to engage and utilize their creativity in a way that other nightlife spots on the beach had yet to do. To distinguish ourselves from any other club on South Beach, I began collaborating with some artists on developing art installations and experiential programming at our venues for guests to enjoy. Through these collaborations, I began developing great relationships and friendships with artists, collecting some of their works, and eventually selling a couple of pieces from my own home. Over time, I realized nightlife wasn’t creatively sustainable for me and sought a new direction in the art world.
How do you hope to aid young artists and collectors?
I want to be able to give young collectors an opportunity to buy quality art without spending $100,000. As for young and up-and-coming artists, I want to continue fostering their careers and creating unique ways for them to share their talent with consumers. Just the other week at Art Palm Beach, I teamed up with artist Rhymezlikedimez for a fully immersive and interactive installation that transported audiences right into the animation he made for Gucci Mane, Kodak Black and Bruno Mars’s track 'Wake Up in the Sky’.
From your curated list of creatives, who are your favorite current and past artists?
Rothko, Salvador Dali and Keith Haring. I relate to Dali the most, I’m a little out there like him. My favorite contemporary artists living today include CB Hoyo, Ketnipz, John-Paul Fauves, Tiago Magro, Bertrand Fournier, and Jonathan Ryan Harvey. Matthieu Venot, Kourosh Keynejad, and Marius Sperlich’s photography works are also mind-blowing.
Over the years, How have you amassed this vast collection of notable artists and pieces?
I started off investing in pieces from artists I collaborated with in the nightclub industry. My number one rule in collecting is I always buy artwork from any of the artists I represent. If I don’t want to own one of their works, why would I want to represent them?
If you could obtain any art piece to date, what would it be and why?
White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose) by Mark Rothko. To me, there’s no other painter, dead or alive, that can generate feelings so intense, so directly. I was so fascinated about the dichotomy of this work in particular. For him to create a piece using such bright colors, while being so depressed always fascinated me.
What collected item has been your most prized possession?
My most prized possession is The Fake Rothko that CB Hoyo personally made for me. The piece is a re-creation of Rothko’s White Center with text overlaid that states “This Rothko was made in China.” To me, it’s a perfect fusion of my favorite dead artist and living artist combined into one. I got to be a part of the entire process from its inception to completion. Watching him recreate my favorite piece with his signature take was so special.
What can we expect from The Art Plug this year?
We actually just completed the second iteration of The Art Plug Power House at Art Palm Beach and my team and I have already started the planning stages on our third iteration for Miami Art Week later this year. We’ve been scouting venue locations currently and working on some major partnerships for the event that I can’t delve into too much just yet, but let’s just say the show’s going to be over the top. We’re also going to be doing a number of group and solo pop-up shows throughout the year outside of Miami that I’m super stoked about.