By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith
Through May 24. Miami Art Museum, 101 W Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-3000; miamiartmuseum.org. Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
It's impossible to imagine a better city than ours as a host for the mojo-manic exhibit currently on view at the Miami Art Museum. Co-organized by the Menil Collection and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center and curated by Franklin Sirmans, "NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith" is freighted with the religious beliefs of those who have migrated here. The sprawling show corrals 50 works by 33 artists in an arresting variety of media ranging from sculpture to photography, assemblage, video, and performance. The exhibition was inspired by the African-American writer Ishmael Reed's Neo-HooDoo Manifesto, which explores the role of spirituality outside organized religion.
Adding some wit and humor to the mix is Brian Jungen, who has stacked golf bags floor to ceiling to create two colossal columns reminiscent of totem poles. He does so as a critique of the commodification of native imagery. In his Beer Cooler, Jungen — who is of mixed European and Native American ancestry — carved skulls, flames, an eagle, and a dreamcatcher, into the sides of a plastic cooler. By placing beer cans in the cooler and the cooler in a museum, Jungen has stated he is "giving alcohol back to the Europeans." "NeoHooDoo" includes a mind-jarring range of depictions of spirituality that will bring visitors back again and again to plumb its enigmatic depths.
Through May 2. Leonard Tachmes Gallery, 3930 NW Second Ave., Miami; 786-417-1292; artdealermiami.com. Thursday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment
In his later years, as he descended into madness, Venezuelan artist Armando Reverón took to wearing a loincloth and wandering around a bizarre ramshackle compound where he created life-size dolls out of burlap sacks. The dolls were his family; some say he made love to them. They were also among his most enduring, haunting pieces of art, and today they help define the legacy of one of the most enigmatic figures in Latin American art history. "Reverón's Dolls," a new photography exhibit at the Leonard Tachmes Gallery in the Design District, pays homage to the late artist and transports the spectator to the surreal realm of a forgotten world. The exhibit features 37 works by Venezuelan photographer Luis Brito, who documented the rotting remnants of Reverón's macabre muses to preserve the legacy of his compatriot, who died in 1954 after a slow decline into dementia. Curator Jorge Hulian has peeled back the veil on Reverón's mystifying world with a deftly curated and engaging exhibition of Brito's haunting pictures. It is not to be missed.
Celluloid Drag: Some Spaces Between Film and Architecture
Through April 18. Dorsch Gallery, 151 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-576-1278; dorschgallery.com. Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Ralph Provisero's sprawling new installation at the Dorsch Gallery, titled Traiettorie Architettoniche (Everybody's Got Their Own Arrows), is fashioned from steel beams and tie rods — the architectural guts recycled from another Miami gallery, rearranged, and cleaved of their original function. At first blush, it seems Provisero has launched a V-1 rocket assault on the space. Massive steel beams pierce the gallery walls and floor like smoke-charred missiles. Their chisel-honed tips and lean, angular fins add the slightest hint of menace to the air. The work was commissioned as part of the exhibition "Celluloid Drag: Some Space Between Film and Architecture," curated by Terri C. Smith and also featuring a suite of 50 small abstract paintings by Todd McDaniel and a film by Gordon Matta-Clark. McDaniel's flat, monochrome paintings reveal what appears to be the ghostly reflection of an edge of filmstrip. One resembles the skeletal armature of a soaring skyscraper, while another calls to mind the steely sinew and twisting tendons of a suspension bridge's span. Tying the exhibit together is the blast-from-the-past City Slivers, a 15-minute film shot on a Super8 camera by conceptual genius Gordon Matta-Clark in 1976. Some critics might argue that "Celluloid Drag" does not succeed in narrowing the gap between film and architecture, but they can't dispute that the show merits marquee treatment or that Provisero has snatched top billing.