During the Hoover years, the feds tailed artist Arnold Mesches for what they considered to be subversive paintings casting President Eisenhowers America in a corrosive light. When the painter obtained his FBI file in 1999 under the Freedom of Information Act, it contained close to 800 pages that further fueled Meschess activism and imagery. His haunting compositions are now on view in Florida Artists Series: Selections From Anomie at the Frost Art Museum, where nearly 50 arresting canvases and 150 collages offer Meschess stinging commentary on the shortcomings of contemporary society.
The searing paintings combine references ranging from the Renaissance masters to political and religious figures, historical milestones, mythological creatures, and even traces of carnival life. The octogenarians surreal juxtapositions often appear in dark, brooding landscapes freighted with a Grand Guignol veneer thats theatrical or brutally atmospheric. The show delves into the condition of society marked by the absence of moral standards and, adds Mesches, his views on the worlds madness and inconsistencies, on beauty and ugliness, evil and injustice, on life over death. Selections From Anomie will be up through December 5. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Admission is free. Call 305-348-2890 or visit thefrost.fiu.edu.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 27. Continues through Dec. 5, 2010