December 5, 2016

by Nina Milic

Art Masters opened to the world for the first time in the valley of Engadin in 2008. In the very heart of Switzerland, you will find a place which seems to always be in perfect peace and harmony. St. Moritz is one of the most amazing places, hidden amongst brilliant scenography made of eye-catching  mountains, lakes and breathtaking landscapes. The nature is pure and serves as a glorious backdrop for hosting one of the biggest art festivals in the world, for nine years in a row. It is a festival defined by quality and by culture. In a short space of time, Art Masters has emerged as a one of the most prestigious cultural events in the world. The biggest artists from all over are invited to be a part of this extraordinary event every year.

The man that we can heartily thank for Art Masters is Monty Shadow. An amazingly talented individual with the creative flair of a true artist but also a visionary willing to share his ideas with the world for many years now, a man who has always been ahead of his time. The event and brand which Monty created began as a wish to create a unique place and opportunity for the best quality art and artists from around the world to come together. He certainly succeeded in his intention. Today Art Masters is not only the opportunity to admire art but also a place where anything is possible….When good ideas are also surrounded by amazing people that can see and recognize them, true value for life can take place and visions can become realities.

St. Moritz, known for its prestigious skiing in the winter, opens its doors to SAM and to the so-called Walk of Art at the end of August each year. The Walk of Art takes you through the magical narrow streets of St. Moritz, bursting with beautiful houses that interlace modern and classical architecture. At every corner you will find a new gallery, a museum or a church that offers another exhibition, each one of them giving you a new perspective on the world, seen through an eye of a different artist.

prisedevuesanstitre-2-8The newest achievements in technology, design, photography and music are presented here, giving us the privilege of enjoying something the world is only yet to see, we are the first to witness it and excite in the potential. There are also beautiful retrospectives on the history of Art and the most appreciated works and artists from the past. This 9th Art Masters was dedicated to American art and gave us the opportunity to go back in time, 50 years, at least for a few minutes.

Kempinski Grand Hotel Des Bains presented an amazing exhibition of Albert Watson’s work. Watson is one of the biggest photographers of our time, well known for his fashion, art and celebrity photography. He presents a unique atmosphere in his work, you feel a great sense of emotion and presence, as if you are almost standing there with him, right in front of his model. Through the decades, from the 60s till now, he has worked with a great number of rock stars, actors, supermodels and the like. His most famous works are with Andy Warhol, Alfred Hitchcock, Queen Elizabeth, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Steve Jobs and of course Kate Moss. Once you lay your eyes on his photography, it will be hard to forget it. His distinctive style will occupy your thoughts for a long time. For me personally, his portrait of Mick Jagger is an absolute winner. The range of his artwork leaves a lasting impression on all that see it, therefore, for many of the above reasons, Watson received a lifetime achievement award by Cartier Foundation at their gala dinner hosted at Hotel Kempinski.

After a great dinner with American specialties, complete with various performances, we were honoured to end the evening with music by the famous pianist, Cesare Picco. He led us into his magical world of music and through the sweet sounds of his piano, told us his story. We were relocated into his imaginary world of music for half an hour. It was a truly inspiring experience.

The hallway of Kempinski was filled with lights, cameras, and scenes from shoots. Anthony Pierre Allard was the next artist in whose talent and charm we could rejoice in. One of the most famous French photographers who too has worked with many celebrities, gave us an opportunity to enjoy his work and creation. Anthony has a true talent for taking breathtaking portraits, always bringing out the best qualities in his subjects. I had an opportunity to sit in front of his camera and I have to say he made it so easy going that I did not even notice the time that had passed. Spending time with him was fantastic and we were able to witness his boyish enthusiasm and the great energy he brings with him wherever he goes. One whole day was dedicated to his kids. The smallest one had the chance to enjoy brunch, various games and painting. It was their ‘adult day’ and it seemed they were very happy about it. It was so special to watch Allard do a photoshoot with his children, the boys sitting proudly on big Pirelli tires set in the hall especially for this day and their own little shoot.

As days were passing by very fast, we tried to find some time for hiking in the beautiful mountains. It was very difficult to do it all. The night was calling and it led us further away to gala parties and many social events. Once again there was a  great crowd of quality people with lots of positive energy all around. The variety of talented people to meet was very inspiring. Hotel Kulm was another key destination that hosted us mostly during the evenings. It gave us Art, design and a great exhibit of idea books. The best edition was definitely GOAT-Muhammad Ali, a tribute to the icon of all time, published by Taschen.

This book weighs 34 kg and is really an epic piece containing 800 pages of original photographs, artwork and articles, including some entirely new content only published in GOAT. Taschen is a powerful publishing house that offers great limited editions dedicated to the biggest artists of our times like the Rolling Stones, David Bowie and many others. Great personalities have been immortalized in their luxury editions which truly are a masterpiece worth owning.

Over the past nine years hundreds of artists, photographers, musicians and designers have left their traces in the Engadin valley. Since 2008, SAM has presented to the world more than 500 artists. From René Burri to David Douglas Duncan, from Steve McCurry to Michel Comte, from Andy Warhol to Albert Watson. By connecting the greatest artists and creatives of our time, SAM creates an inspirational space for beauty and art. Every year bringing us a new theme, all equally  enchanting. We are all looking forward to next year and the new program, projects, partners, events and artists that it brings. I have no doubt that the 10th anniversary will shine light on all the outstanding achievements thus far as well as open the doors of discussion for future breakthroughs in the art world. SAM is a special event that I am honoured to attend each year, where the art masters of our times, those who have passed and those still to come, can be celebrated.