By John Thomason
By Benjy Caplan
By Artburst Miami
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
By Daniel Reskin
Through November 21. O.H.W.O.W., 3100 NW Seventh Ave., Miami; 305-633-9345; oh-wow.com. Monday through Friday noon to 5 p.m.
NeckFace, the graffiti ghoul who has earned international street cred as the budding Rembrandt of the repulsive and ribald, has brought his nightmarish vision to the Big Mango to wrack the spine with a chilly frisson of dread. In one of the gallery's rooms, the artist has covered adjacent walls floor to ceiling with two full-color, tractor-trailer-size photo murals of men with their heads blasted to shreds or crushed to pulp in a car wreck. The images are typical of the crime or accident scene snaps that appear in Mexico's prensa roja tabloids. NeckFace uses the lurid pictures as a backdrop for his iconic watercolor drawings of hairy creatures acting out outrageous scenes of violence. Deftly executed, his raw and scratchy imagery evokes everything from Big Daddy Ed Roth (the creator of Rat Fink) and a doodle-addled Hieronymus Bosch, to a young Tim Burton and even the hellfire-and-brimstone images often found in the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages. An arresting watercolor drawing depicts a pregnant, prickly-haired, putrid-green señorita dangling by her chained arms. An orange zombie detonates a bomb strapped to the woman's belly. In the background of the composition, a ghoul does his best Hanley Ramirez impersonation, catching the flying fetus in his baseball mitt not unlike the Marlins' shortstop snagging a line drive.
Through November 14. 101 Exhibit 101, NE 40th St., Miami; 305-573-2101; 101exhibit.com. Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Jason Shawn Alexander's striking solo show, "Insomnious," features ominous, psychologically charged canvases and drawings. One painting of a two-headed, panty-clad Asian woman uttering a primal scream freezes spectators in their tracks. So does a work depicting a scrawny, two-faced mook dangling from puppet strings next to a naked hag ferociously tugging her own hair. The unsightly crone is painted in a deathly gray pallor, with sagging breasts and mangled genitalia that look like chewed-up bubblegum scraped from under a school desk. Bean, a quirky closeup of a young girl, ratchets up the tension like a slow IV drip. The tyke bends over while clutching her arms tightly to her chest as if suffering from abdominal cramps or a bad dose of strychnine. The self-taught artist has painted a clucking red hen roosting on the lass's noggin, adding to the eerie nature of the composition. Alexander demonstrates an uncanny knack for combining bizarre imagery with a gritty approach to painting that wraps itself like tentacles around one's skull while lashing the imagination into a runaway gallop.
Pivot Points, Part 3
Through November 8. Museum of Contemporary Art, 770 NE 125 St., North Miami; 305-893-6211; mocanomi.org. Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday 1 to 9 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
Inside North Miami's Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), a flashy truck-size work by Paris-based collective Claire Fontaine beckons visitors. Titled Please Come Back, the dazzling piece spells out that exact phrase in fluorescent tubing in a darkened room. The piece is on view as part of "Pivot Points, Part 3," an exhibit designed to showcase the museum's approach to collecting since it opened in 1995. MOCA's focus is to acquire international contemporary artists' works that reflect seminal moments in their careers. The "Pivot Points" series of exhibitions seeks to mark the artists' evolution as well as turning points in contemporary art. The show includes painting, sculpture, photography, mixed media, and video and light installations. Some of the works, such as Magdalena Abakanowicz's Head and Rita Ackerman's Firecrotch, are making their MOCA debut. Abakanowicz's unsightly noggin dates from 1974 and is one of the vaunted Polish artist's first pieces created from burlap. The huge sculpture resembles a giant's head with a Venus flytrap-like maw. Hungary's Ackerman presents an equally fierce image in her totemic mixed-media sculpture, which boasts a wolf's face inspired by her young daughter's drawings. The unsettling fiend appears to be a riff on man's brutish stereotypes, poking fun at violence in American pop culture
Palley Pavilion for Contemporary Glass and Studio Arts
Myrna and Sheldon Palley, who have collected glass for more than 30 years, gave the Lowe more than 150 pieces by 53 artists. Their gift is valued in excess of $3.5 million and is considered one of the nation's finest collections of studio glass. When the Palley Pavilion opened in May 2008, it marked the first expansion of the Lowe in more than a decade. The Palleys' comprehensive collection at the museum includes works by Howard Ben Tré, José Chardiet, Dale Chihuly, Dan Dailey, Michael Glancy, Harvey Littleton, Stephen Weinberg, Stanislav Labinsky, and Lino Tagliapietra, among others.