By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
Animals: Although you won't find a Napoleon, Bluebell, or Snowball in Juan Erlich's mutant menagerie, his eye-popping c-prints on Plexiglas evoke a sense of Orwell's Animal Farm. His bizarre beasties appear in lush natural settings devoid of any signs of human life, hinting at a dystopian future, or the aftermath of an eco-disaster. The Argentine artist, who is making his U.S. solo debut, seems to be riffing on zoological pecking orders and suggesting that the more conservative of his critters — a jackass, a rooster, and an ewe — are conspiring for control of the hybrid herd. — Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through March 22. Lyle O. Reitzel Gallery, 2441 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-573-1333, www.artnet.com/reitzel.html.
Group exhibition: Art dealer Cristina Ricci's new 1,900-square-foot space, nestled behind the Bacardi Building on Biscayne Boulevard, specializes in contemporary photography and something else most Wynwood joints can't boast: parking. Ricci's group show features high-end photography by international talent including Domiziana Giordano, Alejandro Garmendia, Pierre Sernet, Emanuela Gardner, and Valdir Cruz, each of whom she plans to give solo exhibits in the months to come. Brazil's Cruz in particular is well known for his Faces of the Rainforest series, in which he created arresting portraits of the Amazon jungle's Yanomami tribe. — Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through April 6. Untitled 2144, 2144 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-576-2112, www.untitled2144.com.
The Boys Collection: At first blush, the image of a scrawny young man dry-humping a plush Snoopy toy seems to be photographer Melissa Rodwell's effort to shock the viewer. The model in the black-and-white large-scale photo is nude, his body shaven and rail thin. His eyes are downcast and disinterested. His jutting collarbone is suggestive of the heroin chic that plagued fashion photography during the Nineties. The picture is one of 13 in Rodwell's collection on display at the In-Dependant Gallery Space inside Wynwood's District Lab studios. Her images are infused with a slick veneer of glam rock and homoeroticism reminiscent of the work Helmut Newton or Guy Bourdin might have snapped for Vogue during the Seventies. One can't help but wonder, though, just what type of women they are meant to appeal to other than readers of trashy teen magazines. In the end, Rodwell's androgynous lady-killers appear to be more of the same adolescent fetishizing that has become part and parcel of the exhibitionist age. — Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through April 9. In-Dependent Gallery Space, 175 NW 22nd St., Miami; 305-672-1002, www.in-dependent.com.
Wifredo Lam in North America: More than a quarter-century after his death, Cuba's greatest artist is finally getting his due in the first large-scale solo exhibition of the master's work. The beautifully encyclopedic show features more than 60 paintings and drawings spanning the breadth of Lam's prolific career. The Miami version of the traveling exhibit has been beefed up with nearly 30 additional works loaned by local collectors, many of them Cuban-Americans. The well-curated retrospective of the modernist painter includes terrific examples of Lam's early, midcareer, and mature periods in works culled from North American collections. Study for the Jungle (1943), a striking oil-on-paper piece mounted on canvas, is on view at Miami Art Museum. Cribbing the artist's masterpiece in the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art, the work telegraphs the artist's wide-ranging influences, from Cubism to Surrealism to the Afro-Cuban myths of his childhood that infused his mature work with a singular vibrancy and brought Lam universal acclaim. — Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through May 18. Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-3000, www.miamiartmuseum.org.