By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
All My Lies Are Wishes: Rubén Torres-Llorca is a conceptualist with superb craftsmanship. His photo series features blurred images, laid-over symbols, and tangential titles. They work like a personal domestic still-life sequence, though a bit cryptic. The show's pièce de résistance is a spider-web installation, made of rope and filled with pegs and bound figurines as prey -- and it pays to decode this one. The web has a wooden human ear at its center. Is Torres-Llorca conjuring up a correlation between hearing and loss of self-determination? -- AT Through May 23. Mosquera Orthodontics, 1245 SW 87th Ave., Westchester. 305-264-3355.
Love & Slavery in Miami: Willie Keddell is an artist who tills the fields of perception. The urban furrows of marginality are his seedbed of imagination. His work's soulful aesthetic is abundant with concrete decay, the graffiti of untrod spaces, and the plaintive lament of the dispossessed. With assistance from a crew of "at risk" teenage apprentices from the Troy Community Academy, Keddell has brought an artist's sensibility to the tangled history of two Miami landmarks -- the William English plantation slave house/Fort Dallas, and the Wagner homestead, now located in Lummus Park by the Miami River. "Love & Slavery in Miami" is a project exhibiting historical documentation and photography of the landmarks' pasts, as well as a performance piece based on the lives of the Wagner family. -- CSJ Ongoing. Tours every Thursday between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.; Saturdays by appointment. Lummus Park, 404 NW Second St. 305-638-7008 (Keddell at Troy Community Academy).
Ralph Provisero: You must see Provisero's "New Work" at the Dorsch Gallery. Executed with huge maple-wood slabs and imposing iron beams (painted black), this is one of the best sculpture shows I've seen in Miami in years. It gives us the artist's creative process from conception to execution. Provisero's tubular abstract structures borrow a bit from Joel Shapiro, industrial mechanics, and kinetic art, but above all from graffiti art. The pieces, which carry Italian titles, are large and weighty, yet they look light and gracious. Provisero (who returned to art-making after a brief hiatus) has a deep sense of balance and elegance of form. -- AT Through May 22. Dorsch Gallery, 151 NW 24th St. 305-576-1278.
Scream: 10 Artists x 10 Writers x 10 Scary Movies: Curated by Fernanda Arruda and Michael Clifton, "Scream" addresses a variety of horrors influencing contemporary art. In addition to the work in the exhibit, which traveled here from New York, the curators invited ten writers to contribute essays on the participating artists, published in a catalogue that also lists a horror film chosen by each artist. (The films are available for viewing.) David Altmejd's mangled-werewolf sculpture has grisly sex appeal enhanced by a glam coating of rhinestones, rotting stardust, and garish jewelry. Amy Sarkisian's Toy Skull Reconstructions, squalid busts with bad skin, bad teeth, and ridiculous hair pieces, are gruesome, repulsive, and despicable. -- CSJ Through July 3. Moore Space, second floor, 4040 NE Second Ave. 305-438-1163.
"71" A Cuban-Chinese Journey: Cultural assimilation is not stress-free. Then to our surprise, we learn that our heritage is already mixed. We are walking layers of various places and cultures, as shown by María Lau's exhibit at Diaspora Vibe Gallery. Lau, whose work was chosen by the Grupo Promotor of Havana's Chinatown, documents the lives of her Chinese and Cuban-Chinese kin by superimposing photos of old family images against what's left of the Chinatown neighborhood in Havana. It's a moving narrative of acculturation and search for identity. Lau's I'm Chinese installation of hanging, painted, wood tablets with token phrases is a must. -- AT Through May 26. Diaspora Vibe Gallery, 3938 N. Miami Ave. 305-573-4046.
Superstes: If Moderns merely appropriated, Postmoderns reappropriate. Painter Edwin Montalvo belongs in the latter category, but we must make distinctions. He does not represent the verbatim ironic trend of Ken Aptekar, nor does he indulge Yasumasa Morimura's iconoclastic conceit. He borders Mike and Doug Starn's Romantic historicism, but with less glum. I fathom one reading: Montalvo blends Rembrandt school and Goya in the themes and the execution, plus some low-key accessories. He has imagination, but is he serious? Answer: Not if he translates Adultus Compleo Recuso Flere as Broken Man to Tough to Cry. -- AT Through May 26. Kevin Bruk Gallery, 3900-B NE First Ave. 305-576-2000.
This Ain't No Retrospective (I'm Too Young): Karen Rifas's show at Bernice Steinbaum Gallery is a study in contrasts -- one metaphysical, one matter-of-fact. On the pragmatic side, Rifas shows wit, Dadaist adroitness, and a flair for decoding ordinary household chores to flesh out a comment on domesticity, one in which the critique keenly brings in the critic. As dysfunctional as Dadaism was with machines, so Rifas is with her Americana assemblages. Then suddenly you walk into her trademark webs of threaded oak leaves, a transparent realm of geometric harmony, a crossover of the spiritual and the rational -- and a hopeful gleam of doubt. -- AT Through May 22. Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, 3550 N. Miami Ave. 305-573-2700.