By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
Tamayo: A Modern Icon Reinterpreted: This probing autopsy of Rufino Tamayo's work and life marks his first major U.S. exhibition in nearly 30 years and features close to 100 paintings culled from private and institutional collections from across the globe. The show offers an incisive look at what made the controversial Mexican master tick. Exploring 70 years of Tamayo's prolific career, the traveling exhibition is less a retrospective than a re-examination of the artist's oeuvre and enduring impact on the contemporary scene. It begins with a small group of works from the Twenties in which Tamayo first dabbled with early French Modernism. The exhibit jumps to an expansive survey of his iconic mature works from the Forties and Fifties, during which he developed his unique style of figurative abstraction. It culminates with a modest yet striking selection from his late production. Observing signature works from his mature period, created in New York during the Forties, one is struck by Tamayo's arresting ability to dynamically portray the gamut of human emotion with profoundly universal appeal. — Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through September 23. Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-3000, www.miamiartmuseum.org.
Clay and Brush: The Ceramic Art of China: The Lowe's new exhibit is a penetrating historical survey of the development of Chinese ceramics from the Neolithic period to the 21st Century. The sweeping exhibition, which unfolds chronologically, includes more than 190 objects and is divided into three sections: pottery, stoneware, and porcelain. Many works — part of the Lowe's 1115-piece Chinese ceramic collection — are making their public debut in the show, which has been in the planning stages since 1975. It includes seminal examples from the Song (960-1279) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties and conveys the evolution of the ceramic art form in China, effectively addressing the development of the clay body, stylistic differences, and decorative elements such as the use of paint, incising, carving, appliqué, and glaze. — Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through September 2. Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables; 305-284-3535, www.lowemuseum.org.
Make Your Own Life: Artists in and out of Cologne: In the early Eighties a phenomenon unfolded in Cologne, Germany, that has art bigwigs scratching their noggins to this day: The industrial burg on the Rhine, 90 percent of which had been flattened by Allied bombing raids during World War II, exploded as the most consequential contemporary art capital outside New York. This exhibit, curated by Bennett Simpson, brings together more than 25 European and American artists and groups who uncork a whiff of Cologne's mythic vivarium of the late Eighties and early Nineties — a period when art, music, literature, and criticism engaged in a heady cross-pollination. It was a time when artists flocked to the city, galleries and alternative spaces mushroomed in their wake, and art bars became the ground of contention. Fierce debates raged over pecking order and conceptual differences between opposing factions in a tumultuous scene where establishment scoffs thrived. The show takes its name from lightning-rod provocateur Martin Kippenberger, a painter prone to polemics and a notorious lush who blew out his liver and died in 1997. Among the first to rebel against Neo-Expressionism's chokehold in Cologne, he exhorted artists to "make your own life" the focus of their work. — Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through July 29. Museum of Contemporary Art, 770 NE 125th St., North Miami; 305-893-6211, www.mocanomi.org.