Before the executioner ends their earthly existence, few death row inmates look forward to their last meal, whether it’s steak and lobster or roast chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy.
But for Mat Collishaw, the food that Texas inmates will receive before shuffling off this mortal coil is the subject of his new exhibit at the Bass Museum of Art (2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach), where the Brit artist is presenting his photographic series Last Meal on Death Row, Texas, in which he employs a style of baroque still-life painting to create unsettling imagery.
While dishing out a scathing commentary on the Lone Star State — which since 1976 has the highest number of executions in the nation — his arresting pictures of final feasts are seasoned with the emotional and psychological gravity of those awaiting the ultimate dinner bell. Ironically, the images also underscore the fact that Texas legislators in 2011 ended requests for inmates’ final meals by ruling the practice excessive.
Collishaw’s solo also features a pair of vitrine-encased ornate floral sculptures that were inspired by Charles Baudelaire’s notorious tome of poetry, Les Fleurs du Mal(The Flowers of Evil) , rife with themes of eroticism, death, and lost innocence.
“Mat Collishaw” opens this Saturday and runs through October 13. Admission costs $8. Call 305-673-7530 or visit bassmuseum.org.
Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Aug. 10. Continues through Oct. 13, 2013