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New Art Installation at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bal Harbour, Celebrates Diversity

Circles have fascinated Ronen Azulay since childhood. So, it’s no surprise that the Israeli-born artist recreates them over and over again in his work, usually cutting them from repurposed denim and other textiles, removing their dye then repainting them in a painstaking process, which he says allows him “to dialogue with each one.” 

His newest piece, Community, mounted on two walls as a permanent installation in the newly redesigned Saks Fifth Avenue at the Bal Harbour Shops, delivers shimmer and depth, composed of 18 circular, brightly colored denim canvasses that vary in size, each beveled to suggest the sensation of movement and a 3D effect. Mirrors throughout the store amplify the piece’s impact, providing glimpses from various angles. Azulay’s circles can be seen as separate works or the collective sum of the two expansive walls that hold them. The largest circle measures 40 inches, the smallest 16—and all shine in a range of hues. 

“They are imperfect circles, actually,” explains Azulay, pointing out that part of the message in his piece is that perfection does not exist, and that diversity makes us stronger. “They are as unique as people,” he says of the circles. “Even the denim itself has its own DNA, the way it is dyed and weaved originally, and then what happens when I work with it.” As a piece of public artwork that begs for interaction, “Community,” according to Azulay, “celebrates the beauty in us all, despite age, gender, ethnicity and more.” 

Azulay has drawn inspiration from artists as diverse as Henri Matisse for his use of decorative tiles and Chuck Close for his modern expression of pointillism. Some of his recent showings were held at the Dean Project at Art Miami in 2019 and at a pair of New York exhibitions in 2021: the Affordable Art Fair at the Metropolitan Pavilion and the Other Art Fair at the Brooklyn Expo Center.

Just as each circle contributes to Community as a whole, the variety of experiences in Azulay’s life have led him to this exact point in his career, a time when he is willing to speak his mind, expound on his worldview, and embrace his background. “I worked as a designer in the fashion industry for nearly two decades,” he says. Though he was ready to leave the corporate world to follow a less conventional path, Azulay’s knowledge of the industry and his awareness of its indisputable allure made him the perfect fit for Saks Fifth Avenue.

Appreciating the artist’s connection to fashion, Saks bought a few of his paintings for a store in New Jersey last year, and the installation was well received. The success of this partnership led to Saks commissioning a new work by Azulay for the Bal Harbour location, as the venerable company reimagined the location. “They gave me a lot of freedom to express myself,” Azulay says. 

Community, like all of Azulay’s work, relies on cast-off fashion waste—repurposed denim, dyes and textiles—and found objects. In a sense, his pieces might be described as sustainable fashion that one doesn’t wear, but nevertheless contributes to the aesthetics of the industry. “Perhaps being a fashion designer and an artist,” he says, “are truly part of the same continuum.”

By Becca Hensley

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.