Driving by the mural plastered complex on Railroad Avenue called Danieli Art World has been a mystery – what is this wild artful place? Like Miami’s Wynwood, there are large warehouses painted with gorgeous street art – Salvador Dali’s face painted by Christian Volckman and Raphael Thierry, and a huge decorous shark mural called El Tiburon by Iena Cruz aka Federico Massa adorn the buildings facing the street. Inside the complex – which is private – there’s a courtyard filled with giant robot sculptures made from car and truck parts, exotic cars – today there is a bright yellow Lamborghini and a silver Bentley – a building designed to be a European style bar restaurant, a 2 story office building that houses a recording and TV studio, as well as a private museum filled with the collection of the owner Danieli Bouaziz.
Danieli is quite an art world character to say the least. This larger than life collector from Tel Aviv is also a famed opera singer who has performed world wide. He speaks 11 languages and has been collecting art for decades with a deadly eye for quality. He landed in Palm Beach County several years ago, bought a house in Palm Beach and joined Mar-A-Lago to meet his neighbors.
He began looking for a space to house his collection but found Palm Beach island didn’t have the size of facility he was looking for and the prices were daunting for what was available. Someone told him of a warehouse complex by the train tracks in downtown West Palm and he promptly purchased it and created his own art world by hiring artists to transform the complex into his vision.
Video of artists painting the Dali mural.
After a series of private events and artist residencies he expanded by hosting the first three day Spring Art Festival in the street in front of the complex.
Sitting in the art filled courtyard and talk about the festival while French artist Laurent Dare paints a new shipping container he hoisted on top of another container just this morning. The container has sections welded out of it to create a silhouette cut out effect of a horse and rider walking through the forest. “There were tents lining the street filled with art along with music and bands all day on Friday and Saturday. Customized shipping containers houses art studios. On the final day there was an invite only formal Viennese white tie and tail event with an orchestra, similar to the recent Red Cross Ball where money will go to charity. I’m an artist and appreciate all the arts. I’ve been collecting for 40 years and have always had a major love for fine art. I wanted to produce a new festival now with regional artists and have it travel to other Florida cities.”
A light rain starts, so Danieli invites me on a tour of his museum. Inside is a luxurious enormous space, filled with large bronze sculptures and rare copper plates by Dali, dozens of modern pieces by artists he discovered in art fairs and in Europe. There are tables covered with art books and couches and benches scattered about to contemplate the work. Two lower levels that were formerly loading docks are set aside for current working artists in residence, making paintings for his collection and for display.
He takes me into a separate room, an inner sanctum with a huge locked metal door. Inside is a breathtaking array of work by Diego Rivera, Rodin, Franz Kline, Yves Tanguy, and Max Beckman, a German painter whose work was included in the Nazi’s infamous 1937 exhibition of degenerate art called “Entartete Kunst”. It’s a staggering room, filled with the most celebrated artists of the 20th Century with spin off stories that are mind blowing. He shows me a 6-inch high Giacometti bronze sculpture that when tilted in the light changes its shadow cast silhouette from female to male. He says his favorites are the bright expressionist paintings and the Giacometti.
“But I love them all,” he says smiling broadly.
Back in the courtyard sun and heat, Danieli is clearly enjoying himself, directing the cargo painting and dreaming up future art world plans while slipping in and out of speaking French, Spanish and English fluently to the assorted assistants, workers and artists scurrying about.
“I could be off playing golf but I just love the creative energy here,” he says.
Back on the subject of the festival, Danieli got helped by Paul Fisher Gallery and the Box Gallery in a call to artists. The plan was to have live painting going on along with the tent and cargo container exhibits that were turned into artist studios. Cash prizes and artist residencies at Danieli Art World were awarded to a lucky few.
A live auction by A.B. Levy’s of Worth Avenue in Palm Beach was held on site during the festival, as well as live entertainment and special performances. Islander Grill of Singer Island provided the delicacies and spirits to his guests.
Among the invited artist selected for works wereKennth Walker, Dana Donaty, Amber Dawn Tutwiler, Alejandro Mendoza, Roland Rucco, Adolfo H2O LaTorre, Sami Makela, Ray Fernandez, Petrina Easton, Ray Gross, Kim Prisu, Ismael Munaray, Zack Knudson, Nadia Utto, John Rachell, T.D. Gillispie, Anouck Jourdaa, and William Halliday and others. Iconic sculptural installations by Iena Cruz, Giants in The City, Beju, and Anouck Jourdaa were also featured.
It was a dramatic and encompassing unveiling of a new arts district, quite unlike anything the city has ever seen before.
Danieli Art World Spring Festival in West Palm Beach will take place at the artful complex on Railroad Ave called Danieli Art World, May 26-29, 2017.