ince 1988 the National Art Exhibitions by the Mentally Ill (NAEMI) has striven to discover and promote the work of mentally disabled artists while seeking to help them gain credibility, self-esteem, and independence. Many artists have gone on to earn national acclaim, including Mario Mesa, Lucia Ballester, and Eric Holmes, all locals whose pieces are regularly sold in New York galleries and entered in museum collections.
"Their work is just amazing; Eric Holmes is part of the collection at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore," remarks NAEMI executive director Juan Martin. "We are often dulled by the TV or other forms of acculturation; our dreams and fantasies become secondhand clichés. Perhaps it takes the kind of disconnect found in autism or schizophrenia to attain this type of naive and fresh look in art," adds Martin. "Its purity is powerful." Experience the work of nearly two dozen artists included in NAEMI's seventeenth annual show opening tonight from 6:00 to 9:00 at Borders Gallery, 1601 SW First St., Miami. The exhibit runs through July 8. Call 305-649-0324, or visit www.naemi.org. --Carlos Suarez de Jesus
Do you remember when the characters in movies used to drink generic soda or use products with strategically placed pieces of tape? Yeah, we don't either. The fine art of product placement means mo' money, and Hollywood is all over that. Now you can enjoy 47 uninterrupted minutes of your favorite stars pushing products from Coke to Pampers in the film Value Added Cinema: A Product Placement Compendium. Filmmakers Steve Seid and Peter Conheim have pasted together clips from dozens of films to create an advertising montage. You'll see Tom Cruise, Liam Neeson, Samuel L. Jackson, Steve Martin, Jennifer Aniston, Holly Hunter, Macaulay Culkin, and that sexy little redhead Seth Green wearing designer jeans and swilling name-brand beverages. Throw on an Izod shirt and drive your Kia to the Cinema Vortex presentation tonight at 7:00 at the Wolfsonian-FIU, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Admission is free. Call 305-614-5700, or visit www.cinemavortex.org. -- Lyssa Oberkreser
Rather than spending his golden years fishing or perfecting his golf swing, retired professor Edward J. Reninger devotes his time to organizing his Classic/Foreign Film Discussion Group. This afternoon's screening will be Frank Capra's 1939 movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which is especially significant in these days of Senate filibusters. Stay afterward for a discussion that Reninger says gets "quite heated." The movie starts at noon in Building 1, Room 155 at Florida International University's Biscayne Bay Campus, 2155 NE 151st St., North Miami. Admission is four dollars. Reserve your seat by calling 954-458-5825. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik