Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ArtsPreview 2009-10: The season in Broward-Miami art

Art Critic (1955), by Norman Rockwell,
part of an exhibit opening Nov. 14
at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale.


By Emma Trelles

The season is upon us, and this is not a nod to the torrent of plastic snow and holiday jingles that will soon appear wherever we go: the mall, the gas station, the corner coffee shop hawking its pricey pumpkin lattes.

In many ways, the visual arts season is a haven from the commercial flurry of the fall and winter months. Whether intimate or expansive, organized from afar or curated from South Florida’s own museums and art centers, these upcoming exhibitions can offer a retreat, a place to see and consider the junction between inspiration and action.

It arrives in drastically different forms. During the next eight months or so, we’ll have a chance to visit the story-telling vernacular found in Norman Rockwell’s oil paintings as readily as we can study Renaissance altarpieces crafted in Western Europe. We’ll also have access to fresh work, made locally and recognized nationally by such contemporary artists as Julie Davidow, Craig Kucia, Beatriz Monteavaro, and Skot Olsen.

International artists such the architectural and Argentine painter Guillermo Kuitca and Paris-based conceptualist Claire Fontaine show both retrospective and recent efforts, and Tibetan monks will create ephemeral mandalas, for those interested in pondering the ties between art and time. Then there are the host of private and permanent collections up for public viewing, as well as the myriad events that accompany them.

If there is one unifying thread this season, and perhaps a tenuous one at that, it is diversity, an always apt center for South Florida and its fluxing cultures. Below, a sample of what’s on deck in Broward and Miami-Dade counties:

The Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, a division of Nova Southeastern University, begins its roster with American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell (Nov. 14-Feb. 7). Seventy works that include oil paintings, sketches, and archival photographs and documents, as well as more than 300 Saturday Evening Post covers, chronicle America’s social history as seen through the eyes of the steadfast artist and illustrator. The museum will host Rockwell-related events throughout the exhibition.

After that, welcome Edward Steichen: In High Fashion (Feb. 26-April 11) which proffers the silver prints of the principal photographer at Vanity Fair and Vogue during the 1920s and 30s. Steichen, who was also a painter and curator and whose career spanned seven decades, was as taken with the Impressionists as he was with the elegant shadows he pieced into his images.

At the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, 40 regionally based artists present their tributes to the possibility of pigment in TIME + TEMP: Surveying the Shifting Climate of Painting in South Florida (Nov. 16-Jan. 10). Palettes, surfaces, story, and brushwork draw from the area’s verdant natural environs and from its urban centers. In Alder Guerrier, the Haitian-born artist has fashioned multimedia works, such as drawings and video, that consider geography, politics and history (Feb 27-May 23). Kerry Phillips offers Sometimes Your Things Are My Things (now through Nov. 8), a collection of the real and imagined items she’s kept, found, and made.

New York City’s Hunt Slonem displays his bright and expressionistic odes to Birds, Butterflies, and Bunnies at the Coral Springs Museum of Art (Jan. 7-April 24), and with a separate exhibit groups the collages and paintings of Sheila Elias in Somewhere, Anywhere (now through Dec. 12). Vivid in aesthetic and distinct for their embrace of realism and fantasy, the horse portraits of Donna Long can be seen from Jan. 7 to Feb. 24.

A rare Jewish mosaic from the Roman Empire, on display
in an exhibit opening Oct. 30 at the Lowe Art Museum.


At the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Reach of Realism (Dec. 1-Feb. 14) pits fabrication against truth through performance photography, video, and film by artists such as Norway’s Lars Laumann and Iceland’s Ragnar Kjartansson. In Claire Fontaine: Economy, (June 2-Aug. 22) the ready-made artist collective shows sculptures, light pieces, videos, and text works that examine collaboration and social theories of the 1960s in America and across the pond. Cory Arcangel is the first solo U.S. museum exhibit (March 11-May 6) for this pioneer of using digital technologies in art. Expect multimedia works, some of which combines culture with computer and video game software and the output of other artists and musicians.

Opening just in time for Art Basel Miami Beach, Primary Flight at the Art Center of South Florida features canvases and less traditional surfaces configured by more than 25 graffiti and street artists (Nov. 27-Jan. 3). The exhibit is followed up by X-RAY, a multidisciplinary installation (Jan. 8-Feb. 21) that uses electronica, experimental video, and sculptural environments by artists Bill Burke, Jacek Kolasinski, and Orlando Jacinto Garcia. Ritual and Process addresses a fragmented and American state of being, as seen through low-media takes by Orlando Estrada, Rosemarie Romero, and Kacey Westall (Feb. 26-March 28).

Dzine arrives at the Bass Museum of Art in October with installations that blend psychedelia, Swarovski crystals, low-riders, and the vibrant street art of Chicano culture (now through Feb. 21). For one evening (and early morning) on Nov. 7, the museum also serves as home base for Night Shift, an eight-hour celebration of site-specific art in nearby Collins Park. Visitors can explore Viking Funeral, a 30-foot Nirvana T-shirt sculpture, as well as sundry works by Jim Drain, Brooke O-Harra, Christy Gast, Julie Kahn, Nicolas Lobo, Ernesto Oroza and Gean Moreno, Tom Scicluna, and Frances Trombly. Modeled after a similar event in France, the Paris Nuit Blanche, the art collab-meets-club is curated by Jerome Sans, who is also its DJ.

A group show with a fitting title, Space as Medium (Nov. 20-Feb. 29) proves the Miami Art Museum’s walls, floors, and ceilings as integral in the installations and artworks displayed. Guillermo Kuitca: Everything, Paintings and Works on Paper, 1980-2008 (now through Jan. 17) studies the interchange between public and private spaces through theatrical landscapes and abstractions which include maps and blueprints as compositional elements.

Slated to appear at the Lowe Art Museum, and culled from the Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collection, 12 rarely-shown mosaic panels from the sanctuary floor of a Roman-period synagogue are on display in Tree of Paradise: Jewish Mosaics From the Roman Empire (Oct. 30-Jan. 24). Nine other mosaics excavated from nearby rooms and structures in present-day Tunisia are also assembled, along with textiles, statues gold jewelry, and bronze ritual objects.

The acclaimed Cuba Avant-Garde: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Farber Collection (Feb. 6-April 4) mixes large-scale paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture and mixed-media pieces by forty Cuban born-artists who live on the island and abroad, including Jose Bedia, Los Carpinteros, and the late and forever haunting Ana Mendieta.

Reincarnation (2005), by Salustiano,
now at the Frost Art Museum.


The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum selected The Figure, Past and Present: Highlights from the Permanent Collection as its inaugural exhibition (opened Nov. 28, 2008). In it, the human form is examined in earthly and godly incarnations, with works made from the 17th century to the present. The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama (now through Jan. 10) draws its inspiration from the life of the Tibetan spiritual leader and includes works by Laurie Anderson, Bill Viola, Jenny Holzer, Anish Kapoor, and Chuck Close, among others. In November, The Mystical Arts of Tibet (Nov. 4-Jan. 10) hosts lamas who will create a mandala with colored sand as a way of blessing the earth and its inhabitants.

Emma Trelles is an arts writer in South Florida.

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