When Bernard Markowicz, a highly respected French gallerist, wanted to open an art gallery in Miami, nowhere made more sense than the Miami Design District. Known for its modern “pop” art, his gallery, Markowicz Fine Art, has housed everything from Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst and Carole Feuerman, to Alain Godon, Fernando Botero, Markus Klinko and Richard Orlinski. Equal parts curator, gallerist and artist, Bernard has mastered the art of finding and appreciating new and interesting artist. As he’ll tell you, it’s all about connection; connection to the artist, a connection to the art, and most importantly, a connection to the message the art communicates.

We sat down with Bernard Markowicz himself to find out all about his passion for art, his intriguing gallery, and of course, why the Miami Design District is where his art belongs. Here’s what he had to say:

When did you first realize art was your calling? What was that like?
I was 16. I bought my first piece of art, which started my collection. In 1997, I invested in Opera Gallery in New York and Bal Harbour, and worked with Opera Gallery until 2009, then, I opened my own gallery in the Miami Design District.

What's your art medium of choice? Why?
Bronze and cement, most recently. Bronze is so noble, and cement reminds me of the streets.

When it comes to curating a collection for your gallery, what do you look for?
I look for messages, beauty and attraction.

Do you have a favorite artist to work with? If so, why?
I have many favorite artists, but KAI is very appealing to me these days. The message he sends to people of all ages through his pieces is so unusual. He takes up a piece of wall in your home and your gallery, and changes it for the better.

If someone came into your store looking for a piece of art, but didn't know where to start or what they wanted, what advice would you give them?
Don’t hurry; just enjoy want you see. Then ask questions about the artist, the meaning behind it, and the medium used. Finally, find a piece you’re passionate about.

What's your favorite piece of art hanging in your home? Who is it by and what do you love about it? 
“Love vs. Money” Modern Relic, by KAI. I love the beauty of it and the message it sends to my kids.

Why do you think art is important? 
It makes life better.

Why is Miami Design District the perfect place for Markowicz Fine Art?
It’s beautiful, in all aspects. There’s the sophistication of the clientele, the beauty of the architecture, and the pleasure of walking through the Design District’s streets, instead of a typical indoor mall.

If you didn't have your own gallery, what would you do?
I cannot imagine my life without my gallery.

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