Art Capsules

Current exhibits around town.

The Undoing

Through November 15. Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, 194 NW 30th St., Miami; 305-573-2130, www.galerieperrotin.com. Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Daniel Arsham makes you feel like you're crossing the threshold into an Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole, where elements of architecture and nature collide in a fractured utopian landscape. His immaculate gouache-on-Mylar drawings depict lush tropical settings where marble slabs, rods, and beams erupt from the earth and hurl themselves toward the horizon beyond the trees. The drawings vibrate with an eerie twilight glow that adds a chimerical quality to the scenes and suggests with subtle aplomb the collapse of civilization. One way Arsham connects with the viewer is by adroitly tinkering with the gallery walls. He has also niftily freed nature from his drawings, bringing creeping vines into the space with what appear to be marks from a blowtorch. Don't miss Corner Knot, almost imperceptibly tucked away in a corner near the exit. Arsham has cunningly created the illusion of a harmonious order between man and nature by pulling opposing gallery walls together and gift-wrapping the contents in a giant jarring bow.


Saturated

Through November 15. Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, 194 NW 30th St., Miami; 305-573-2130, www.galerieperrotin.com. Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturated" marks the first solo show since 2002 for the graffiti rat turned artist and designer. It features nearly a dozen boldly colored acrylic-on-canvas works depicting Kaws's wacky interpretations of the SpongeBob SquarePants and Smurfs cartoons. KawsBob 1 is a large acrylic-on-canvas painting portraying the familiar yellow sponge dork holding a finger under his nose as he is about to sneeze. Kaws's version of the pockmarked character includes bony protuberances on either side of his head and crossed-out eyes, both typical of the artist's work. After viewing the repeated SpongeBob and Smurf imagery, spectators might fail to savor a sense of originality or irony in Kaws's work. But others would counter that Kaws is a legit pop phenom worthy of Roy Lichtenstein's mantle or that he's a talented oracle able to assimilate and regurgitate mass culture with a vision uniquely his own.


Clarence John Laughlin: Poet Photographer

Through November 21. Center for Visual Communication, 541 NW 27th St., Miami; 305-571-1415, www.visual.org. Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday noon to 5 p.m.

Ghosts of a bygone era rise from the Big Easy in the haunting works of iconoclastic photographer Clarence John Laughlin, who is often recognized as the first American surrealist. "Clarence John Laughlin: Poet Photographer" marks the first major exhibit of the American master's work in more than 15 years and includes more than 60 of the artist's seminal images spanning the major themes of his career. Laughlin (1905-1985) was perhaps best known for his documentation of Louisiana plantations and for the astounding 17,000 negatives he produced. Some of the images that perhaps best embody his artistic vision can be found in Poems of the Interior World, a series comprising 284 images taken over a decade's time. Not surprisingly, many of the searing images still pack a potent relevance. This thought-provoking show does more than offer an engaging look at the works, words, and life of an artist rarely on view. The ghosts Laughlin still conjures might well transport viewers to a unique, entirely otherworldly realm.

 
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