The difference between stepping on a spectator's toes and delivering a knockout blow is driven home by the jarring work of Wangechi Mutu, a serial mind-stunner with some wicked combinations. Noted for her jolt-packing Gorgons that look like glam-happy fugitives from some other galactic catwalk, Mutu was recently named one of the season's "Top 25 Movers, Shakers, and Makers" by ARTnews magazine.
The Kenyan-born artist uses collage and ink drawing to create opulent, chimerical figures reflecting contemporary society's obsession with physical appearance. Conjured from popular magazines, coffee table books about "classical" African art, and wildlife journals, Mutu's fabulous apparitions whisper to the cultural genocide and postcolonial trauma haunting her native land.
Mutu's first solo museum exhibit, "Amazing Grace," opening tonight from 5:00 to 8:30 at the Miami Art Museum (101 W. Flagler St., Miami), features large-scale drawings, a video projection, and dripping bottles in a meditation on the slave trade, displaced populations, and the power of redemption. "The work alludes to the hymn written by a British slaver, John Newton, who became a missionary and abolitionist," explains curator Peter Boswell. "It is not about victimization, but the power of the human spirit in overcoming tragedy." Admission is five dollars. Call 305-375-3000, or visit www.miamiartmuseum.org. --Carlos Suarez de Jesus
This Movie Stinks
The fragrance of Polyester
Polyester was John Waters's first big-budget film. In homage to Fifties schlockmeister William Castle (of such gimmick films as The Tingler), the pencil-mustached auteur offered audiences a scratch-and-sniff card to enhance the cinematic experience. With "Odorama," viewers could take a whiff of gasoline or fecal matter right along with the characters onscreen. The film stars the legendary Divine, alongside Waters's regulars Mink Stole, Edith Massey, and Cookie Mueller. Who better to bring this delightfully kooky, scented screening to the Miami Beach Cinematheque (512 Española Way, Miami Beach) than the one and only Miss Shelley Novak? Stick around for Lame Blonde, a Nineties underground flick starring drag queen turned makeup artist Marvella, and then check out the closing of Desi's photography exhibit that documents crazy SoBe life during the gay heyday. The fun begins at 9:30 p.m. Tickets cost ten dollars. Call 305-673-4567, or visit www.mbcinema.com. --Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Rock gods immortalized in art
A classic rock song can be like a sonic acid trip. Heady tunes like "Yellow Submarine," "Sugar Magnolia," and "Purple Haze" can paint trippy pictures in your mind. Rock fans and art lovers will find much to inspire future musical hallucinations at the classic rock art show and sale, going on at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (One Seminole Way, Hollywood). Big spenders can purchase original art, lithographs, photos, and handwritten lyrics from the likes of John Lennon, Jerry Garcia, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin. Stop by between 5:00 p.m. and midnight. Admission is free, until you stumble over to the craps tables. Call 954-327-7625, or visit www.big1059.com. --Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
Cinema with Flair
Thanks to the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, cineastes can sate their appetites with a fresh film every month. Tonight's screening will be Inconscientes (Unconscious), a Spanish comedy that explores psychiatry, homosexuality, and repressed fantasies. See it at 7:30 p.m. at the Regal Cinemas South Beach (1100 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Tickets cost $12. Call 305-534-9924, or visit www.mglff.com. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik