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.
Lust in My Heart, Evil on My Mind
Through May 2. Harold Golen Gallery, 2294 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-989-3359; haroldgolengallery.com. Thursday through Saturday noon to 4 p.m. and by appointment.
Step into the Harold Golen Gallery and you can almost smell the stinging scent of cordite perfuming the air. Peeking out from behind flower-patterned curtains, a heartless blonde in a sheer black negligee levels her gun at your head. Welcome to Manhattan-based photographer Richie Fahey's world, where reality is never quite what it seems. "I'm interested in old detective pulp, musty paperbacks, movie posters, and theater lobby cards," Fahey says. They inspire him to conjure hard-boiled noir-style visuals. Fahey has become known for the ambiguous nature of his photographs and for his flawless attention to detail. Typically his works feature a cast of bombshells and the lustful dopes they invariably wrap around their pinkies. For his shoots, he hires models or actresses, and his wife often assists with the makeup and styling. He employs vintage lighting techniques and painstaking art direction.
Several of the images on display at Golen's include book covers the artist created for the re-release of James Bond paperback editions by Penguin Books in 2003. The best thing is that many viewers will find themselves filling in the blanks of Fahey's open-ended capers with their own imaginary backstories or dreaming for days of old-fangled flimflams.