By Juan Barquin
By Ciara LaVelle
By George Martinez
By Kat Bein
By Ciara LaVelle
By Travis Cohen
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Monica McGivern
VOOM PORTRAITS Robert Wilson
Through August 3. Bass Museum of Art, 2121 Park Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7062, www.bassmuseum.org
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.
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.
Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967
Through September 7. Museum of Contemporary Art, 770 NE 125th St., North Miami; 305-893-6211, www.mocanomi.org
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.
Disappearances, Shadows & Illusions
Through September 21. Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-3000, www.miamiartmuseum.org
This exhibit, which aspires to challenge traditional notions of how the public views art, features upward of 50 works by more than 20 artists. It boasts pieces from the Miami Art Museum's permanent collection, key loans from area collectors, and several installations commissioned from local artists, who ultimately pocket the show. These include Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, Kerry Phillips, Matt Schreiber, and Tom Scicluna. The last delivers perhaps the single most cultivated device for absorbing the spirit of the show. Scicluna's amazing Shift is a freestanding wall that has been almost imperceptibly bent out of shape. He effectively subverts institutional authority by tinkering with the concept that museums themselves run the illusion game; with Shift, the artist has taken over.