Grand Illusion

MAM's latest spectacle glimmers, glows, and goads.

Muñoz's five shower curtains look like versions of the Shroud of Turin. The works were inspired by the violence in his native Colombia, and one of his spectral figures appears to be scrubbing off a nightmare as a pool of blood trickles down the drain.

Poland's Badura is depicted in a series of black-and-white photographs, some of which are covered with earth. In them, the artist gradually disappears, until his visage is scratched out by sun-baked soil.

Kerry Phillips finds new uses for rug remnants in You could always see real far off even when you weren't trying, creating a pair of camel hump mounds in the center of the gallery floor.

Oscar Muñoz's shroudlike shower curtains.
Oscar Muñoz's shroudlike shower curtains.


"Disappearances, Shadows & Illusions": Through September 21. Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-3000,

From the front, the same type of rug atop the entire museum floor covers the top layer of her piece, evoking a sense of an eruption underneath. From the other side, the multihued variations of carpeting rise to eye level, giving the piece a look of striated, earthen sediment.

Tom Scicluna delivers perhaps the single most cultivated device for absorbing the spirit of this show.

His amazing Shift is a freestanding wall that has been almost imperceptibly bent out of shape. Through this simple, elegant gesture, he jackhammers home the point that many walls on which art hangs in museums are only temporary and meant to go unnoticed. Scicluna effectively subverts institutional authority by tinkering with the concept that museums themselves run the illusion game; with Shift, the artist has taken over.

Even though MAM tosses a red herring by placing a Bruce Connor drawing on the face of Scicluna's wall-sculpture, one can't help but notice the twisted façade. Like much of this inspired show, Scicluna grabs the viewer with the type of Kryptonite sure to weaken traditionalist scolds.

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