Miami art this week: Man Ray, Roberto Matta, and Wifredo Lam

"Beyond the Erotic: From the Collection of Milagros Maldonado"

Through June 30 at the Dorissa Building, 2751 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-576-2914; miamibiennale.org. Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"Beyond the Erotic: From the Collection of Milagros Maldonado," on view at Maldonado's 25,000-square-foot retrofitted Dorissa Building art space, features scores of works owned by the Venezuelan art activist, who is also founder of the Miami Biennale, scheduled to open in November 2012. The eclectic array of works includes paintings, drawings, photographs, mixed-media pieces, and sculptures as well as a selection of works by 20th-century masters such as Man Ray, Roberto Matta, and Wifredo Lam. The exhibit's historical gems are tucked into a backroom where you will find some of the show's biggest names, including Francis Picabia, André Masson, Leonora Carrington, and Man Ray. Check out Man Ray's picture of his longtime lover and muse, Kiki de Montparnasse, the Kim Kardashian of her day. The cabaret singer and artist model was mostly famous for being famous among the bohemian enclave that then haunted Paris's Left Bank. Legend had it that Kiki could grow pubic hair only when she was in love.

"The Changing Face of Art and Politics"

Through April 24 at the Lowe Art Museum, 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables; 305-384-3535; lowemuseum.org. Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m.

Curated by students and faculty of University of Miami's museum studies program, "The Changing Face of Art and Politics" culls works from Lowe's extensive collection, placing Renaissance-era prints by Hieronymus Hopfer alongside pieces by '60s pop icons such as Warhol. The exhibit — part of the ArtLab series operated jointly by UM's Department of Art and Art History and Lowe — presents a broad array of work and media that cover politically freighted themes that include war, revolution, protest, colonization, repression, equality, segregation, and religion. On view are images that gallop from the medieval combat between cavalry and infantry in Italy to full bore Southern-fried race riots and antiwar Vietnam protests during the Summer of Love. The more than thirty works on display span five centuries of political upheaval and reflect the discourse between artists, the societies they lived in, and the iniquities they wrestled against.

"Rafael Soriano: Other Worlds Within, a Sixty Year Retrospective"

Through March 27 at the Lowe Art Museum, 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables; 305-384-3535; lowemuseum.org. Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m.

The Lowe's retrospective of the prolific career of Rafael Soriano opens with his early explorations of geometric abstraction and culminates with his mastery of a style that has been described as "oneiric luminism." Beginning in the '80s, Soriano's mature works gave flight to a singular vision, resulting in images that are drop-dead gorgeous and oscillate with an inner light that practically pulses toward the viewer from deep within the canvas. He conjures a dreamy illusion of space by applying layer after layer of thinly veiled paint to create vaporous combinations of color and membrane-like forms that suggest spiritual amoebas or ethereal alien life forms. His later paintings are rendered in a distinctive palette that hews mostly to purples, blues, violets, and earth tones and strangely remind one of livor mortis.

 
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