By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
Fuzzy Was He? Once upon a time, before psychedelic Sesame Street of the Seventies turned into Elmo Street (the fifteen-second-skit show of the Nineties), there were Bert and Ernie, Oscar the Grouch, and Big Bird. Perhaps red furball Elmo was nice at first, but he pushed old favorites into the Dumpster. (Whatever happened to Harry and Prairie Dawn?) He also exhibited an unforgivable lack of depth and funk. So Miami artist Arlene Berrie takes Elmo and makes him edgy. Enjoyable are the buttery quality of Berrie's canvases and her impish contemporary approach in Elmo, I Don't Want to Be a Duckand Elmo, I Don't Want to Be a Chicken. She deconstructs Elmo and makes him cool and fit for smart and imaginative children. -- Alfredo Triff Through August 13. Liquid Blue Gallery, 3438 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-571-9123, www.liquidbluegallery.com.
Monstrously Tranquil: Christian Curiel's work is influenced by Surrealism, B movies, lowbrow art, and prepubescent deformity in the style of Japanese master Tohl Narita. Now, in the capacity of curator, the Yale graduate and CINTAS fellow assembles some of his friends for "Monstrously Tranquil," an exhibit that seems to subdue the grotesque to accentuate the ominous, but an overall theme is not apparent. There are some interesting pieces though, such as Kristine Potter's enigmatic photograph of a young woman in the woods -- standing on her tiptoes and wearing a stringent expression -- and Adrian Wong's arcane sculpture of two green rabbits facing each other inside a boat, spewing tons of whitish slime, surrounded by plastic shark fins on the floor. -- Alfredo Triff Through August 13. Ingalls and Associates, 125 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-573-6263, www.ingallsassociates.com.
Pedro Vizcaíno: This native Cuban cut his teeth on street theater, elements of which are scattered throughout his art today. His new works on view are low reliefs made from crudely cut cardboard and a child's palette of colors. Vizcaíno's Tanks depict hybrid creatures -- part machine, part predatory insect -- with exaggerated humanoid features: bulging eyeballs, hands grasping at cell phones, limbs thrusting to attack, cannons aimed like erect phalluses. The shock-and-awe potential of Vizcaíno's work could be seriously ramped up, to borrow some of the military's own language. The tanks are undeniably unruly, but the artist may have to grab a bigger paintbrush to make them really gruesome. These tanks, magnified even five times in scale, perhaps even more assertively displayed three-dimensionally, would have a greater impact. Instead of each one hung on the wall in the deferential manner of an easel painting, a larger wall and a more aggressive battalion formation would improve the installation tremendously. -- Michelle WeinbergThrough August 8. Frances Wolfson Gallery, MDC Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave., Fifth Floor, Miami; 305-237-3696.
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