By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
"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 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 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. Call 305-893-6211, or visit www.mocanomi.org.
"Richard Butler" and "Midori Harima": In Richard Butler's first solo show at the Kevin Bruk Gallery, the subjects of his lavish oil on canvas works are mostly family and friends, but Butler furiously distorts their features and bodies, making their skin appear pitifully wan and charged with a presence that's difficult to shake off. He often paints them in masks and drapes them in menacing black gear, or maroons them in bleak natural settings, or places them under deceptively peaceful skies, adding to their pervasive sense of loneliness, alienation, and unease. Openly riffing on the Mannerist style, Butler, the former frontman for the Psychedelic Furs, makes harmony out of these discordant elements, creating psychologically freighted works that strike a haunting note in every bar. Also making her solo debut at the gallery, Japanese artist Midori Harima creates unusual paper sculptures by taking pictures from publications, photocopying them in black and white, and pasting them together to create fragile, evocative forms. All of the works are colored like dead fish in luminous or muted grays, giving them the veneer of otherworldly apparitions. Neither of these artists has exhibited their work in Miami before; by bringing them together at the same time, Kevin Bruk seems to be making a statement that he's happy to kick back and pick off his competitors like pigeons off a power line. Carlos Suarez de JesusThrough May 5. Kevin Bruk Gallery, 2249 NW First Pl., Miami. Call 305-576-2000, or visit www.kevinbrukgallery.com.
"Sweet Bird of Youth": This photo-based exhibit, curated by Claire Breukel, features selections from the Debra and Dennis Scholl collection that focus on an evolution of time and place based on the mundane. Breukel has combined imagery of banal, barren landscapes with the loaded rituals of female adolescence to convey a sense of youth trapped in transitional spaces. Artists Breukel has chosen from the collection include Rineke Dijkstra, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Anna Gaskell, and Gordon Matta-Clark. Carlos Suarez de JesusThrough May 12. World Class Boxing, 170 NW 23rd St., Miami. Call 305-438-9908, or visit www.worldclassboxing.net.
"Sol LeWitt x 2":Sol LeWitt earned himself a place in history books as one of the Johnny Appleseeds of the minimal and conceptual art movements during the Sixties. He's also among the most prolific artists of the mid-Twentieth Century. "Sol LeWitt x 2," a two-part exhibition at the Miami Art Museum (MAM), offers fertile ground to explore both the artist's influential work and the contemporary art collection he has created over the past 50 years. Featuring 45 works on paper and sculptures, "Sol LeWitt: Structure and Line" provides a broad look at the artist's oeuvre, spanning from his early grid-based modular constructions of the Sixties to his recent series of Scribble drawings making their debut at MAM. Carlos Suarez De JesusThrough June 3. Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami. Call 305-305-375-3000, or visit www.miamiartmuseum.org.