By Ciara LaVelle
By George Martinez
By Kat Bein
By Ciara LaVelle
By Travis Cohen
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Monica McGivern
By Travis Cohen
Alternative Photographs: Samantha Salzinger might be able to find her way blindfolded around a sex shop. At least that is what her provocative pieces on display at ArtCenter/South Florida suggest. The exhibit, organized by indie curator Carol Jazzar, examines developing trends in photography. Salzinger’s impeccably crafted dioramas, near the gallery entrance, are wickedly clever and pay off in spades. She creates pieces that remind me of those old View-Master toys that, with the push of a finger, allowed 3-D excursions to national parks such as Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. The difference? In Salzinger’s version, the monuments are what were once referred to as “marital aids.” Perhaps the most subtle of her works depicts what appears to be a room in a cloistered monastery. Inside it a Bible and a chalice are propped on a lace-covered table. A pair of hands is cupped together as if in prayer — it is actually a male masturbatory tool. Where the works of Salzinger, Mark Koven, and Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova gel, offering conceptual content that is rich in sexual undertones and exactingly executed, the rest of the pack appears flaccid by comparison. Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through June 18. ArtCenter/South Florida, 800 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 305-674-8278, www.artcentersf.org.
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.
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. 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, 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.