"Merce Cunningham: Dancing on the Cutting Edge Part I"

Also: "Masters in Sculpture" and "Lysergic Garden: an Exercise of Reason on the Border of Insanity"

"Merce Cunningham: Dancing on the Cutting Edge Part I":MoCA's institutional toast to the legendary choreographer's career marks the first U.S. museum show since 1997 to focus on Cunningham's collaborations with visual artists, and features costumes and decor actually used in his company's productions. The exhibit includes works by Sandra Cinto, Olafur Eliasson, Rei Kawakubo, Charles Long, Christian Marclay, Ernesto Neto, and Robert Rauschenberg, among others. It's hard to work up a lather over the Kawakubo costumes Cunningham's troupe wore for Scenario in 1997. Five of the unsightly blue-and-green-stripe and gingham outfits dangle lifelessly from the ceiling on fishing line. Eliasson's Convex/Concave is a large circular foil mirror and hydraulic pump that is among the few works delivering a kaboom in the show. The contraption literally breathes in and out, sounding somewhat like a mechanical Jack Palance. Ernesto Neto's Otheranimalis an intoxicating show stealer. It consists of sheer nylon fabric stretched into a membrane of organic forms, weighted with pellets that droop throughout the space like mutant wattle tree seed pods. The pendulous forms are awash with repeating splashes of blue, pink, red, and violet light, while a discordant jangle of noise and dripping water fills the air. Longtime Cunningham collaborator Rauschenberg gets the short shrift from MoCA. Seven of his silk-screened tights are tacked up in the hallway in what seems like an afterthought, and might have been better off left in mothballs. — Carlos Suarez de JesusThrough April 29. Museum of Contemporary Art, 770 NE 125th St, Miami; 305-893-6211, www.mocanomi.org.

"Masters in Sculpture" and "Lysergic Garden: an Exercise of Reason on the Border of Insanity":One of two current exhibits at Gary Nader Fine Art features works by Fernando Botero, Mark di Suvero, Sandro Chia, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, Rufino Tamayo, and more from the dealer's blue-chip inventory. The first-floor gallery is packed with small- and medium-size sculptures, including scads of Botero's butterball bronzes. Outside in the parking lot are the monumental works. This "sculpture garden" extends almost the width of a city block, and is ringed by an anemic strip of small trees and shrubbery. Those accustomed to encountering monumental outdoor sculptures in urban plazas or atop rolling hills will likely find it difficult to appreciate some of these works in this setting. Any way you cut it, they seem hijacked from a lush park and plopped down like massive turds into the glorified asphalt courtyard of a shabby hood. In stark contrast, Walter Goldfarb's "Lysergic Garden: an Exercise of Reason on the Border of Insanity" makes a head-rattling statement in one of Nader's capacious second-floor spaces. The Brazilian's solo exhibit flexes muscular, mixed-media canvases that are some of the better works among the gallery's 2000-plus pieces. Goldfarb often spends weeks on a single piece, embroidering the canvas, building his webs of imagery by injecting multiple coats of lacquer onto the surface with a syringe, applying charcoal, and then putting the canvas through several washes of color. In the end, the canvases appear part tattoo, part batik, and part psychedelic network of membranes with lush rainforest hues. — Carlos Suarez de JesusThrough March 31. Gary Nader Fine Art, 62 NE 27th St, Miami; 305-576-0256, www.garynader.com.

 
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