Tell me about the new space you plan to open next year in downtown Miami.
It is not a museum. It’s a place for the collection where I will be able to open many crates that are closed. It will be a study center. It won’t be about parties.
I’m not even going to have an opening. I shouldn’t be saying that to you! Everyone expects a new space to have a giant opening. But there are too many parties. Lately art has become a purely social scene. I’ve met people at parties who are buying art, and they don’t know what they are buying.
Has Art Basel Miami Beach become all about spectacle?
We did great shows at the Moore Space every December, but the problem is, you are in this three-ring circus, and the art gets totally diluted. That’s been the problem with art today: People are not able to digest or enjoy things.
And that’s why you won’t have shows?
I think there are too many shows. We’ve been running a marathon for the past few years. With everything that’s happening in the world right now, we need to slow down and spend more time looking at works. So there will be the collection, and that’s it. And a little library. I want people to say, “I have nothing to do today. You know what? I’m dying to look at a painting.”
Will you charge admission?
I don’t believe in charging for art. I don’t charge people to come to my house.
Will you work with a curator?
No. It will be done by my husband, Carlos, and me.
How do you and Carlos buy art? Do you make all the decisions together?
We’ve been married for 45 years, and we always consult each other. We look at the collection, and we buy works that we think will enhance it. We don’t buy on impulse. We are not buying just to accumulate. Our collection has a strong spiritual side.
The street leading to your house is under construction right now, so you may not be able to host groups during ABMB this month.
My plans are on hold. I will still make some changes in the house, because I’m sure someone will put on a pair of boots and climb to us.
What are some recent acquisitions of yours that you are excited about, things we might see if we do remember to pack our boots?
I’m thinking of installing a room with three great paintings by the German artist Neo Rauch. My husband loves painting, and I thought that in this room I’d have the three Neo Rauches he loves so much and a Jörg Immendorff that he wanted to see hanging. In my library I was thinking of installing all the Ana Mendieta works that haven’t been seen.
When the new space opens, how will your house change?
I will be able to install works that Carlos and I love to look at all the time. It may become a more private space.
Will you still donate to museums?
Yes. Many works are difficult for me to show.
What’s an example of that?
No Ghost Just a Shell by Philippe Parreno and Pierre Huyghe, which I gave to the Tate and MOCA Miami. It involved video, sound, a hard drive and bringing the people who do Disney World animations to my house. It was a language I didn’t understand.
How many artworks do you own?
Everybody asks me that. I refuse to count.
Is forming a relationship with artists one of the most gratifying parts of collecting?
Yes. Christian Holstad has given us his best installation pieces because he knows we show them correctly. Artists are happy to have pieces in our collection, and we establish friendships with them. In the mid ’90s I got together with Teresita Fernandez, José Bedia and a few others and helped them put on a show in a warehouse in Coral Gables.
That’s very grassroots.
I believe in grassroots. People walk into my house and ask, “Where’s Rosa de la Cruz?” and I am right there cleaning. They say, “I didn’t know that was Rosa,” but there I am, with a broom in my hand."Conversation with Rosa de la Cruz" originally appeared in the December 2008 issue of Art+Auction. For a complete list of articles from this issue available on ARTINFO, see Art+Auction's December 2008 Table of Contents.