By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
Amilcar Packer sits naked on a wooden chair in a dimly lit space. At first glance, it appears the artist is waiting to be interrogated by someone off-screen. Video #15 features two simultaneous, symmetrically opposed video recordings that collar viewers from both ends of the room. A rumbling begins, and the nude Brazilian artist vibrates violently in his seat. The chair creaks toward viewers on one screen and away on the other, forcing spectators to crane their necks as if watching a tennis match. As the space in which Packer is trapped quakes, he is hurtled against the walls like a runaway bumper car. Invariably he collects himself and sits back on the chair for more of the same. The dizzy imagery is part of CiFo's 2008 Grants and Commissions Exhibition, featuring 10 emerging and two midcareer artists from Latin America. Artists represent Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Venezuela, Chile, Costa Rica, and Brazil. Works on display include videos, installations, paintings, and experimental takes on drawing. Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through June 22. CiFo Art Space, 1018 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-544-3380, www.cifo.org.
Quisqueya Henríquez: The World Outside
From the Bronx Museum comes the widely acclaimed survey of 17 years of work by Cuban-Dominican artist Quisqueya Henríquez. The exhibition showcases the artist's proclivity for self-determination and versatility through photography, sculpture, drawing, sound, video, and installation. From her early photographic documentation of seaweed arranged in honeycomb sculptures to found sounds from the streets of Santo Domingo installed in a sofa, her works engage the viewer in a fresh multisensory experience. Steph Hurst Through July 20. Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-3000, www.miamiartmuseum.org.
VOOM PORTRAITS Robert Wilson
This sensational exhibition features 26 moving images on large-scale HD plasma flat-screens, including celebs such as Isabella Rossellini, Johnny Depp, and Brad Pitt. They also show images of a frog, a panther, a sheep dog, and an auto mechanic. Better known for iconic theater productions such as Einstein on the Beach, with Philip Glass, and The Black Rider, with William S. Burroughs and Tom Waits, Wilson literally rewrites the book on portraiture, using HD technology with theatrical razzmatazz. In 2004, he began working as an artist-in-residence for VOOM HD Networks, a U.S.-based television provider devoted to high-def TV. The resulting portraits, notable for their tantalizing clarity, induce whiplash. He has created dramatic works that blur the lines between photography, literature, film, and sound — with poetic effect. Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through August 3. Bass Museum of Art, 2121 Park Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7062, www.bassmuseum.org.
Nathan Sawaya: The Art of the Brick
These two roughly concurrent shows are a reminder that a municipal arts institution need not play it safe. Lawyer-turned-artist Sawaya transcends gimmicky via works created entirely with Lego bricks, using nearly a million of them in two dozen or so sculptures, ranging from candy-colored whimsy (Skulls) to ambitious humanoids (Grasp, Mask, and Hands). Sawaya's ingenuity is complemented by "Child's Play," a show featuring about a dozen playful works by six artists. A standout is the mischievously witty Time Out, in which Miami-based Cubans Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz use a child disguised as a teddy bear and a pile of plastic poop for a surprisingly layered joke. Michael Mills Through August 10. Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, 1650 Harrison St., Hollywood; 954-921-3274, www.artandculturecenter.org.
Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967
A nearly pitch-perfect twanging of complementary chords, this exhibition explores the deep-rooted and primal alliances between rebellious spirits haunting both the sonic and visual realms. It features more than 100 paintings, drawings, installations, and videos by 56 artists and artist collectives. The show was organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, where it drew stadium-size crowds, and judging by the throngs attending opening night, MoCA's turnstile numbers will skyrocket as well. Although some knuckleheads will bitch about holes in the exhibition's version of rock history, you can't leave without thinking you have to give this devil his due. Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through September 7. Museum of Contemporary Art, 770 NE 125th St., North Miami; 305-893-6211, www.mocanomi.org.