A guide to surviving Miami art fairs with Juno Youn

You might not know his name *yet* but Juno Youn is the ultimate you-have-to-meet-him social butterfly. In fact, he’s also a fashion icon in his own right and a powerhouse in the Canadian art scene. Listen up: The Montreal-based gallerist who spearheads his namesake art gallery, Galerie Youn, is bringing the party and the arty to Miami for his booth at Pulse Miami art fair, where he is presenting artists Bernice Lum and Ian Healy all weekend long.

Youn is a Toronto legend, having started Spin Gallery in 1999—which is where Peaches used to perform—and then relocated to Montreal where he founded Galerie Youn in 2013. Though he is still able to host a killer party, his style has evolved and his gallery is all grown up. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have fun – he still does. Some of Youn’s artists include VOGUE fashion photographer Damian Siqueiros and illustrator Jay Dart. Note his love for Dries van Noten, as Youn was recently featured in The Globe and Mail‘s list of Canada’s Best Dressed 2018.

Oh and Juno is a Virgo with Aries rising (and a moon in Scorpio, just like Diane Pernet). Here’s a quick Q&A with him as he heads en route to Miami.

What is Art Basel Miami Beach in five words or less?

Juno Youn: “I’m on the guest list”

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen at the fairs (or the after parties)?

Four or five years ago, I was at Art Basel, getting out of the fair, and saw completely naked man screaming saying ‘art sucks!’ Only happens in Miami!

What is the best and worst thing about going to Miami for the fairs?

Best: Wynwood

Worst: Bumper-to-bumpter traffic when going back and forth across the bridge

What is going to make this year special for you and your gallery?

Meeting new comers to the exciting world of art. And reconnecting with season collectors, running into familiar faces from around the world. Plus many exciting glamorous after parties organized by such as Moma, Yabu Pushelberg, Art Basel, and many others. Lastly, I usually find one fabulous dancing partner each art fair after party.

What is the secret to getting into VIP art parties in Miami?

Being or pretending to be fabulous hahaha. If you are confident and dress the part, usually you’ll get in.

What is your go-to hotel?

Gale South Beach And Edition Miami.

What is the best restaurant in Miami and why?

Sugarcane… they have oysters, an awesome indoor/outdoor bar, friendly bartenders and lively vibe – right in the middle of Midtown. Matador – fancy Caribbean high end restaurant in one of my fav hotels in Miami – Edition. The deco and menu is enough to take us to ecstasy!

What should art goers avoid in Miami?

I would avoid going near Gianni Versace house (I love him, not the crowds) and the bars in front of it – more of too kitch side, not my thang! You know what I mean?! I would also avoid seeing too many art fairs. There are more than enough art fairs to see in one week, you can’t see all and you don’t want to. Pick your 3-4 the most. Be selective. Do your research! That’s exhausting! Especially when you want to have some after parties here there.


Which art fair is the best and why?

To me – I am participating at Pulse, and I like Untitled for cutting edge quality of the fair, Scope is fun fair for the street art. Nada for their conceptual curatorial.

Your favorite cocktail to have in Miami?

It depends on places I travel but when I’m Miami – Mojito. So refreshing! Also like Moscow mule. Ginger beer and lime vodka is soooo damn good. They better serve in cold copper cup filled with ice!

What song do you always end up hearing in Miami or at one of the parties?

Rude Boy by Rihanna.

What do you always pack to wear in Miami?

I am here to work at the fair, so have to be presentable, but I never wear something that’s not me. I love eclectic patterns colored tailor outfit usually. Dries Van Noten is my favorite designer. I dress up for the vip opening And wear casual jean short and my Dr. Martin boots. And of course, swimming trunks just to get few hours of sun if I can (if not I usually hide in my hotel spa lol). A bit of pampering while hard work at fair really balance well.

What is the most fun about Miami art week?

The after and after parties, the glitz, dinners, a sold out booth, many selfies or paparazzi shots, and drink away! Dance til you drop your ass! And rest in the beach after show! Life is good!


What are you looking forward to in 2019?

Coming back with a slew of curated artwork. And rest! And more rest! Cuz we’re gonna need it!!!

Check out Galerie Youn at Pulse Art Fair from December  6 to 9, 2018 in Miami. Also check out @youn_gallery on Instagram.

Portraits of Juno Youn, director & gallery owner of Galerie Youn, Montreal QC. Photo by Damián Siqueiros.

Nadja Sayej

Nadja Sayej is a New York-based culture journalist and photographer writing for Forbes, The Guardian, The Observer, and more. She has written eight books and has interviewed over 1000 celebrities over her 15 year career.