Thursday, May 28, 2009

Weekend arts picks: May 29-31

A landscape by Alfred Hair of the Florida Highwaymen.

Ongoing now at the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum in Delray Beach is an exhibit of paintings by two of the Florida Highwaymen, the African-American landscape artists who sold their visions of the state from the trunks of their cars in the 1950s and 1960s. The paintings by Alfred Hair and Harold Newton come from the private collection of Scott Schlesinger, a Fort Lauderdale-based attorney and collector of Florida art.

Next month, documentary photographer Gary Monroe (left), who spent eight years researching the work of the Highwaymen and writing several books on the subject, will give a one-hour illustrated lecture about his latest book, The Highwaymen: Florida's African-American Landscape Painters. The lecture is set for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 17, at the Delray Beach Library. A $5 donation is being asked, and space is limited, so interested people are advised to reserve space now by calling 279-8883 or visiting

The Highwaymen, whose work was rediscovered in the 1990s, were a group of about 26 African-American painters from the Fort Pierce area who were either self-taught or mentored by Alfred Hair. Their colorful paintings show Florida’s natural landscapes with dramatic clouds and windswept palms. Using palette-knife techniques and large brushes, they quickly created works with permanent appeal. They sold their paintings along the roads from Jacksonville to Miami, for which they were later given the name Highwaymen.

A landscape by Harold Newton.

The Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, 170 N.W. 5th Ave. in Delray Beach, is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. regular admission is $5, seniors pay $3, and members and students are admitted free of charge. -- K. Deits

Closings: It's the last weekend to see the Andrew Stevovich/Cleve Gray exhibit at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. Reviewer Jenifer A. Vogt said here of the dual show: "Where Gray’s paintings are rash and moving, Stevovich’s evince a high degree of polish and quietude. Gray achieves his compositions with putty-like acrylics on canvas that add depth and bring out the brushstrokes. Stevovich’s finely detailed works are executed with oil on linen – giving him the ability to control fine details, create a flat surface, and convey a luminosity in his character’s faces that is reminiscent of early Italian masters such as Giotto."

Miccosukee leader Billy Bowlegs, photographed
in New York in 1852.

Also closing this weekend is The Art of the Seminole and Miccosukee Indians, a show by ethnohistorian Patsy West featuring woodwork, basketmaking and 20th-century photographs from West's extensive photograph collection. The show can be seen at the Mary Alice Fortin Children's Art Gallery on the campus of the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach. Admission is free; hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call 655-7226.

Comedy: If you've caught Jimmy Fallon's new late-night chatfest on NBC, you've heard him mention he'll be here Saturday at the Palm Beach Improv in CityPlace. The jury's still out on whether his show is really any good or not, but the former Saturday Night Live cast member exhibits an ingratiating kind of friendly, boyish charm on the show that helps him get over the rough spots. Shows are at 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Saturday; tickets are $39.78. Call 833-1812 or visit

Dance: The very last show at the Demetrius Klein Dance Company performance space on Lake Avenue in Lake Worth bows this weekend with two nights of dance featuring three new works by former Klein student Andrea Ollarvide (right). She says it's a tribute to the Klein company, and includes Assignments (a solo by Ollarvide, done in silence), Man Is Baby (solo by Clarence Brooks; music by Antony and the Johnsons) and 811 Lake Ave., Lake Worth FL 33460 (group piece danced by Kori Epps, Amber Hartman, Stephanie McCluney, Ollarvide and Katelin Schnorr; music by The Jesus Lizard). 8 pm Saturday and Sunday. Tickets: $10.

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