Tree of Paradise: Jewish Mosaics From the Roman Empire
Through January 24. Lowe Art Museum, 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables; 305-284-3535; lowemuseum.org. Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m.
French Army Capt. Ernest de Prudhomme merely wanted his back yard dug up for a garden. But on February 17, 1883, his plan to plant vegetables was foiled when soldiers under his command unwittingly unearthed the first archaeological ruins of a Roman-era synagogue on the grounds of his villa in Hammam Lif, Tunisia — the ancient Punic city of Naro, later called Aquae Persianae by the Romans. Prudhomme suddenly found himself with a crop of stunning mosaic panels whose primary subjects were the Creation and Paradise. The works had been part of a sanctuary floor dating from the Third to Sixth centuries A.D. The treasure trove is now on display at the Lowe. The exhibit also features nearly 40 related artifacts, including period textiles, marble statues, gold jewelry, and bronze ritual objects, offering further context for the mosaic panels.
"Invasion 68 Prague" captures the spirit of a time when the world appeared to be spinning off its axis. On the night of August 21, 1968, Josef Koudelka, a theater photographer living in Prague, found himself caught between an anvil and the hammer. The 30-year-old became an unsuspecting witness to the Soviet-led invasion of his homeland. Moscow had unleashed its vast arsenal against Czechoslovakia determined to crush the short-lived liberalization of that nation, which became known as the "Prague Spring." He snapped an arresting series of images documenting the 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks that, with a noose of turmoil and fear, choked off the city of a hundred spires. On display at the Freedom Tower are 60 of Koudelka's searing black-and-white pictures, many on public view for the first time and chosen by the photographer from his extensive archives.
The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama
Through January 10. Frost Art Museum, 10975 SW 17th St., Miami; 305-348-2890; thefrost.fiu.edu. Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama" corrals the works of more than 80 artists whose photos, videos, installations, paintings, sculptures, and tapestries honor the global spiritual leader and Buddhist who has devoted his life to the path to peace. The sprawling exhibit offers a provocative and varied collection of takes on the Tibetan holy man, the principles of Buddhism, and the value of all sentient life, by the likes of Chuck Close, Laurie Anderson, Bill Viola, Anish Kapoor, Jenny Holzer, Marina Abramovic, and many other top-tier names. Andra Samelson's Bamiyan: A Continuum offers a stinging commentary on fundamentalist Taliban thugs' destruction of the colossal Buddhas in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Blasted apart in 2001 in a savage act of censorship, the statues were considered the largest of their kind.