Whitehot Magazine

A Conversation with Alexis Hubshman, President of SCOPE Art Fair

Image courtesy of SCOPE Art Show


After talking with Alexis Hubshman, I had the epiphany that this moment was supposed to happen in my life. The main reason was his pursuit of a new definition of architecture, years before I realized I was following the same pursuit. Based on his circumstances as an aspiring artist, Alexis started SCOPE as a tool for development. Even though we have different backgrounds, I felt that we both employed the architectural design method and ended up defining what surrounds it through the art industry. 

Within the complex of the SCOPE art fair is the New Contemporary. This year, the program partners with the STRAAT Museum to curate the SCOPE Walls on Miami Beach. Titled "Not So Black and White," the presentation will feature monochromatic artwork to divide the subtle variations across our daily lives. "Various large-scale installations, music performances, and panel discussions throughout the day' amplify the message. Health and wellness have been one of Alexis's top priorities. Gatherings dedicated to morning healing through yoga, guided meditation, and CBD spa treatments are juxtaposed with a nightlife experience.

Image courtesy of SCOPE Art Show

DRK: You once stated that one of the constants about SCOPE is to reconfigure the gatekeeper role and level the playing field. What is, or are, the difference between your ideal image of how the art industry functions now and your goal?

AH: One of the mandates at SCOPE is to explore art deeply. For that reason, a hyphen was used in our logo and brand name because we wanted SCOPE to represent the various layers of Research and Development within culture. The New Contemporary encapsulates that on a 3D level. After many trials, I also concluded that Miami is only suitable for how SCOPE operates, given the ultimate scale. I approached this with a new sense of sobriety in focus. It sets the tone for the day. SCOPE centers itself on artifacts of experience based on the gravity of a happening that is both immersive and reactivations of the actual depth of what it means to present eye candy. We take things to the next level. 

DRK: Can you introduce us to your new VIP programming initiatives and sponsorship deals?

AH: I am excited about our SCOPE circle because we continuously work on new projects. One of the best features is that we host artwork within collectors and VIP homes to introduce the artist and gallery to a network. We also fund curators to select artists of their choice, alongside various meals and events. However, I like to keep things significantly lost around the edges for everything to be more organic. We are adding new layers to the program by hosting curatorial breakfasts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Stakeholders walk around the New Contemporary, whose theme is Artifacts of Experience. Objects seen will be, in essence, remnants of an action that occurred beforehand. It will also include a tea ceremony and a SCOPE Circle dinner dedicated to the PAMM Prize for the Perez Art Museum Miami.

DRK: How exactly do you build up galleries? Please explain the online booth management system. SCOPE indirectly benefits all participants due to social media exposure and PR. Do you ever see SCOPE doing the opposite by hiring or creating a team of field specialists who would return to the art industry to reconnect, network, and help develop these galleries?

AH: Right now, we are focused on completing our three-year plan. It involves a spectrum of grants to incentivize galleries, artists, and curators to participate. SCOPE considers it a pivotal responsibility to groom the next level and make itself a more inspirational exhibitor resource center. Through SCOPE, our team has been able to provide administrative and practical support to professionalize the entire system. Sponsorship allows us to provide direct control back to the people we fund. Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to have any influence. With this leverage, we can reinvest and subsidize contemporary art's purpose. The Curatorial Advisor Committee is an independent curator who helps search and find new galleries, and they help curate the artists or, in some cases, a new piece of art. It's an excellent way of making curators enrolled in the process. 

DRK: What prompted you to start promoting mental and physical health awareness? How do you take care of those factors for yourself?

AH: I have always been a risk-taker. For me, amplifying the use of SCOPE's funds to promote a network has been essential. I want to expand on the idea and definition of a haven. When I was younger, it became clear that I needed to be sober because I wanted to be here for the good. I want a grounding in decency as a force of good.

Gio Swaby, Together We Bloom 3, 2023, 64. 52 in., Cotton fabric and thread sewn on muslin, Courtesy of Claire Oliver Gallery

DRK: Do you plan on giving away any more NFTs in the future? Can you provide an overview of the NFT market, i.e., where do you see it going?

AH: As a tech-forward company, it was more natural for SCOPE to have a first-hand perspective. I am talking about old friends who were creating these items beforehand. It's an old conversation now. They still have much value, but the crossover between Artificial Intelligence and the art industry is even more promising. At SCOPE, we focus on education and experience. We see it as an old story of a digital artist working in their medium within an even more elegant evolution sequence. No one wants to get caught up in the mercantile trickery, where a vanguard conversation is absent. You can always distinguish between something digitally native and a money grab. You can see how these early professionals have balanced the act of earning without sacrificing too much. 

DRK: How is the WORLD project carrying along? 

AH: It's so funny that you mention that. WORLD was a ten-year project that started with engagement in the Middle East as part of a particular program and scenario. It was supposed to be scheduled to take place in San Diego. However, I am still developing the right opportunity and when I can apply the best resources. It is so far ahead of where SCOPE is now that it has become somewhat of an incubator for new partnerships. It makes me question where we are going. I have seen a cultural phenomenon occur in Miami like no other city in the US when everyone gathers here at the end of the year.

DRK: Do you still make art? You immediately recognized the art industry's lack of resources and community and addressed some problems through SCOPE. Has this cause somehow hindered your self-expression? 

AH: I still maintain my studio and office. Regarding the whole idea of SCOPE, it is an outlet where I can apply my artistic sensibility throughout the entire experience as an installation. It builds on the concept of transporting everyone into a new reality.  

DRK: The power dynamic within the art industry has slightly shifted worldwide, with art fairs now capturing a significant portion of the art market. Although this advanced survey of art worldwide is growing, the art market is still dominated by auction houses. At which point do we see that strength diminish due to reliance on only the English, Sealed first-price, and Dutch auction styles? Are you suggesting that art fairs have now become the future's bare minimum line about what the art market and industry are? Many other CEOs worldwide are abandoning their corporate social responsibilities in favor of profit and under the guise that these resources won't be most needed during a recession. How do you set yourself apart from others? Can you name any other institutions or peers you respect that you also consider safe havens for the art industry? 

AH: Art fairs have leveled out the art industry because they can provide a real-time survey of what is going on in the art industry without any collectors or dealers inflating the price. Democracy is selecting who gets focused on based on whether or not they need the opportunity. SCOPE is here to demystify the process by being as liberal and level as possible for the general public.

SCOPE Art Show Founder, Alexis Hubshman, Image courtesy of SCOPE Art Show

DRK: What kind of infrastructure do you think a professional artist needs?

AH: Young collectors set the tone for these moments. Through breakfast with curators, discussions, and tours, SCOPE aims to introduce everyone to our approach. There is always the fear of not knowing. Confidence means deconstructing the idea of a white box. I always try to invite everyone to take a step behind the ropes. Being more welcoming allows SCOPE to redefine what a patron is. We seek to enroll them into the ecosystem. 

(pa·tron·age; /ˈpatrənəj,ˈpātrənəj/; noun: A consortium that provides returns to its customers. Its sole aim is to deepen international cooperation through work in education, culture, natural sciences, social and human sciences, and communication—developing a greener society that promotes freedom of expression and access to digital wealth. Experimentation is more than a new trend; the rumble leads toward notability. Today, that means creating websites, applications, and data infrastructures that offer artists design, digital experiences, and sophisticated tools, and the data makes it possible for them to have social inclusion as professional creators. Special attention is also paid to events organized by or aimed at the youth.) 

DRK: Do you think it is now almost impossible to find a direct route into the establishment and that everyone should know they will have to seek an alternative course in life?

AH: First, you have to acknowledge yourself. You have to declare a goal of building the community through generosity and humility, even amongst those who are not like-minded. What is more important than any gallery's allowing the artist to have direct control of the situation? It will enable a bond to happen. It's the first step towards relationship building. It is very brick-and-mortar. WM

Daryl Rashaan King

Daryl Rashaan King currently works as a Teaching Artist with Leap NYC; a Chef de Partie at CUT by Wolfgang Puck, The Four Seasons Tribeca; and the Vice President of the Asian American Film Lab. He is the founder/ principal of kokuoroi, a multidisciplinary creative studio. The studio focuses on problems derived from urban living, viewed through the perspective of King, a Brooklyn native. A graduate of Columbia University, who originally specialized in painting, some of King’s goals include obtaining both an M. Arch and an Expert Diploma in Culinary Arts. He would also like to pursue various art and design programs and to live abroad. King has already earned certificates from Parsons in Streetwear; completed part of the Sustainable Design Foundation at Pratt Institute; and volunteered in Cusco, Peru at the construction site of a new Lower School. His work has greatly evolved since taking an Information Architecture course focused on Future Cities, hosted by the Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich. A former varsity wrestler, King has hopes of learning and practicing new martial arts. When he isn’t working, enjoying music, or playing video games, King’s focus is on the future.

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