By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
Enigmatic Figures: This exhibit touts Argentine Mateo Arguello Pitt's breakout appearance at ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries. The show also features works by Aurora Cañero, Maria Gamundi, and José Benito, who provide little more than background noise to Pitt's quirky paintings. He, at least, has something to say. The female artists appear to have been included in this show as a snatch at the checkbooks. Benito might be considered bankable by the dealer, but he royally stinks up the joint with his polychrome-on-wood sculptures notable for their Precious Moments-like sappiness. In La Intranquilidad (Lack of Tranquility), Pitt weighs in with colorful, slashing brushstrokes to capture a depressed mope lying on a cot alone in his room. He is surrounded by what appear to be crowds of animated, irritated people pigeonholed into separate compartments seeping through the walls. The artist seems to be discouraging the viewer from connecting with them, while hinting their insanity is normal. Miller should keep her guard up and put together scrappier combinations; the veteran of South Florida's dog-eat-dog art scene should know it is lonely on the ropes. Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through June 30. ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries, 169 Madeira Ave., Coral Gables; 305-444-4493, www.virginiamiller.com.
James Rosenquist: Traveling at the Speed of Light: At the Miami Art Museum, the New Work Gallery is featuring eight paintings by James Rosenquist. The artist, a pioneer of the Sixties American Pop Art movement, is known for creating massive works influenced by an early stint painting commercial billboards in Times Square. The exhibit includes pieces from 1987 to 2004 and fluidly mixes obscure fragments of imagery in overlapping relationships between the abstract and real, creating a visual experience that toys with perception. This is Rosenquist's first U.S. museum show since his 40-year retrospective at New York's Guggenheim in 2003, and it showcases a pair of paintings that have never been exhibited in the U.S. Many of the works reflect the artist's examination of current issues and his interests in space, technology, and science. For those who haven't experienced Rosenquist's work up close and personal, these paintings, intimately packed into a cozy space, offer a rare view. Carlos Suarez De JesusThrough July 2. Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-3000, www.miamiartmuseum.org.
Natalia Benedetti: Luminosity: This exhibit is the artist's first solo museum show and comprises two videos on continuous loops projected onto nine-by-twelve-foot screens. One work depicts Benedetti skydiving; the other is a fluid study of sunlight as it ripples across the surface of a lake. Both videos are shown together, which creates an engulfing experience enhanced by a soundtrack of rushing wind. Sublimely thrilling, the sensory-seducing sounds and vast expanse of sun-dappled water on one screen next to the gorgeous blue sky and shimmering coastline on the other transport the spectator to a space somewhere between Heaven and Earth. Benedetti has parachuted into her first solo museum show with head-turning aplomb. Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through June 4. MoCA at Goldman Warehouse, 404 NW 26th St., Miami; 305-893-6211, www.mocanomi.org.
Opening Show: Lyle O. Reitzel, who has operated a contemporary art gallery in the Dominican Republic for the past decade, opened his eponymously named space in Wynwood with an untitled show. Representing top-flight Caribbean talent, Reitzel said he chose to plant his flag here because it would be the "perfect platform to represent his artists on an international level." Like many other dealers stricken by gold fever in a booming market, he may have been enticed by dreams of boatloads of bigwig collectors washing up on our shores. His inaugural exhibit includes several large-scale paintings by Dominican Republic native José García Cordero, who divides his time between Santo Domingo and Paris. Cordero is known for imagery freighted with allegory, irony, and kick-you-in-the-teeth satire. Sharing a corner with Chelsea Galleria and located next door to the freshly minted DPM Arte Contemporáneo out of Ecuador, Reitzel joins the creeping tide of hustlers looking to strike a rich vein in the hood. Carlos Suarez De JesusThrough July 26. Lyle O. Reitzel Gallery, 2441 NW Second Ave., Miami: 305-343-4152, www.artnet.com/reitzel.html.
Uncensored Life: Raw Beauty: Sabrina Cohen's portrait on display at the Dorsch Gallery is striking, but her story yanks the rug from under you. The 28-year-old Sandra Bullock look-alike has spent half her life in a wheelchair. "I was fourteen at the time of my accident," the quadriplegic explains. Cohen is one of twenty women whose disabilities range from multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, and cerebral palsy to visual impairment who posed for an unusual and compelling photography exhibit. Organizers say women with disabilities are often depicted as helpless victims or as heroines overcoming insurmountable odds. They hope this project will help transform stereotypical perceptions of females with physical and sensory challenges, nearly 250,000 of whom live in Miami-Dade. The most arresting image in the show is that of Tatiana Ribeiro, a beautiful woman whose spinal cord was injured when she was a teenager. The piece pierces the spectator with a sense of vulnerability and dignity. Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through June 2. Dorsch Gallery, 151 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-576-1278, www.dorschgallery.com.