Another Man's Treasure

At Pan American, two out of three ain't bad

His paintings wash over the viewer like a calcified wave, yet despite being marinated in an aura of emptiness and self-annihilation, they take aim at the heart of our transitory existence. More often than not, they connect.

In Pan American's video room, Nora Correas beats audiences over the head with her installation, Chinese Music.

Conceived as a commentary on China's exploding marketplace and diminished water sources threatening the planet during the next twenty years, Correas's message comes across like marshmallow agitprop.

Carlos Gallardo's On & Off (Floresta): Why? Where?
Carlos Gallardo's On & Off (Floresta): Why? Where?

Details

Through May 12. Pan American Art Projects, 2450 NW 2nd Ave, Miami. 305-573-2400;

www.panamericanart.com

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The Argentine artist painted the room an imperial Chinese red and covered the walls with hundreds of toy-soldier-scale ceramic Chinese dolls in folkloric dress, each playing a musical instrument, to project a sense of China as a burgeoning economic colossus — according to a muddled wall text.

To convey the sense of the peril facing the planet's water supply, and how wars will be fought over it as early as 2025, she has arranged fifteen fish tanks on the floor in a pyramid shape, some filled with clear water, others with water polluted with oil.

As one steps into the room, traditional Chinese music sweetens the air before inexplicably jumping to a hokey instrumental version of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," begging the question: Why doesn't the gallery pull the plug on this mess? But you have to cut Pan American some slack. The space, which opened this past December in time for Art Basel, is still working out the kinks.

Boasting one of the cleanest spaces in town, and showing works by Latin American artists rarely seen in these parts, Pan American is among Miami's new crop of galleries showing promise, and one that's smart enough to own up to its hiccups to boot.

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