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Cricket Taplin: Art Collector

Cricket Taplin: Art Collector



Introduction to Cricket Taplin.  6:28 min.  Photo:  Raymond Elman.


I first met Cricket Taplin in January, 2018 on a windy evening at a median in the middle of Collins Avenue in between the Bal Harbour Shops and the St. Regis Hotel, where curator Claire Breukel was hosting the installation of Taplin’s Robert Chambers sculpture, “Rotorelief,” a functioning helicopter whose propeller blades had been replaced by a spinning disc that referenced the work of Marcel Duchamp’s Anémic Cinéma, but made me think of Mel Brook’s film, High Anxiety.

In 1988, Christine “Cricket” Taplin co-founded the Margulies Taplin Gallery along with husband Martin Taplin, and their friend, renowned art collector Martin Margulies. The gallery presented works from a variety of well-known artists, such as Vik Muniz, Manuel Neri, Nancy Graves, Jonathan Lasker, Peter Halley and Joel Shapiro, among others. This period also marked the beginning of the astute development of the Taplin’s significant collection of modern and contemporary art. When the gallery closed in 1997, the Taplins continued to collect while traveling the world to visit artists, galleries, museums, as well as private and public collections.

In 1997, the Taplins purchased the Sagamore Hotel in Miami Beach and Cricket made the groundbreaking decision to display some of her private art collection, now known as the Cricket Taplin Collection, in the shared public spaces of the hotel. Cricket included paintings, works on paper, photography, mixed media, sculpture and video art by famed and emerging artists from every corner of the globe. As a result, this 1948-era property was transformed into “The Art Hotel.” putting the Taplins, the Cricket Taplin Collection, and the Sagamore at the heart of the exploding Miami art scene.

In her capacity as the Sagamore’s resident curator, Cricket worked with artists from across the globe to arrange and exhibit projects at the hotel. Artists such as Massimo Vitali, Yoko Ono, Enrique Martinez Celaya, Spencer Tunick, Will Ryman, Olaf Breuning, Elliott Erwitt and Roxy Paine, to name a few, have all had exhibitions at the Sagamore. In addition, Taplin hosted a series of artist talks, interviews, and video showings.

By altering perceptions of how and where artwork is usually experienced, in either a gallery or museum, Taplin supports a broader agenda of furthering the dialogue regarding living intimately with art, through collecting, exhibition and public interface. To support this vision, Cricket championed several projects noteworthy for their public accessibility, performance and participatory aspects, including “The Stairwell Project,” which involved eight invited artists from the New World School of the Arts, who created two continuous murals in the stairwells of the hotel, as well as Spencer Tunick’s 2007 on-site art installation, a controversial, yet well-received photo shoot featuring hundreds of people in the nude.

The Taplins also hosted the Annual Art Basel Brunch, which attracted about 2,000 attendees each year including luminaries as Martha Stewart, Yoko Ono, Timothy Greenfield Sanders, Doug and Mike Starn, Ivan Navarro, Jacqueline Humphries, Tony Oursler, Tracey Moffatt, Eve Sussman, Simon Lee, Ken Solomon, Kambui Olujimi among many others. The event, which originated in 2001, partnered with six local museums including the Bass Museum of Art, Lowe Art Museum, Perez Art Museum Miami, Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, The Patricia & Phillip Frost Museum of Art at FIU, the Wolfsonian-FIU and Lincoln Center in New York City.

The Sagamore Hotel was sold in 2016 following the death of Martin Taplin.

Cricket has held Board positions with The Bass Museum, Arts for Learning, Locust Projects and Honorary Board Member status at The Museum of Contemporary Arts in North Miami. She also maintains memberships in the Funding Arts Network and ArtKabinett, among many other charitable organizations.

The videos below are organized by topic and run between 30 seconds and 7 minutes. Click on any video. You must be connected to the Internet to view the videos.




Marty Taplin bought and renovated the Sagamore Hotel in the late 1990s. What was the evolution of hanging serious artwork in the Sagamore?



What type of Vik Muniz artwork did Marty Margulies give you?



How did people react to the changing artwork in the Sagamore Hotel over time?



Your former assistant Jen Stark is now a famous artist. How did her work and career evolve?



What was the impact of displaying museum quality art at the Sagamore Hotel?



In the 21st century, the Miami art scene skyrocketed and played a big role in the revival of Miami and South Florida. But historically, Miami is an area that tears everything down and rebuilds every 10-20 years. What future do you envision for Miami’s art communities?



Now that you no longer own the Sagamore Hotel, what are you doing with your art collection?