In Your Own Image: The Best of Bert Rodriguez
Through June 14
Bass Museum of Art , 2121 Park Ave., Miami Beach
Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Early last year, Bert Rodriguez found himself atop the art world. But by the end of 2008, he had unexpectedly crashed to earth. Rodriguez, who was in the Whitney Biennial last April, followed his success with projects in Paris and London before closing the year out with the debut of a Stanley Kubrik-inspired work at Art Basel Miami Beach. Right after Basel, the 33-year-old was the victim of a hit-and-run. The local conceptual artist broke his back in three places and sustained a nasty crescent-shaped gash on his forehead that snaked from ear to ear and required 47 stitches. Ironically, on display at the Bass Museum of Art is an image of Rodriguez's noggin punctured with scores of staples, eerily reminiscent of his brush with death. It's part of "In Your Own Image: The Best of Bert Rodriguez — Greatest Hits Vol. 1," his first show since the accident. The series of works comprise 134 postcards bearing the same headshot of the artist, whose entire pate has been shaved.
Last year, Rodriguez printed 1,000 postcards with instructions inviting the public to work his image over by adding hair, clothing, accessories, or makeup using the media of their choice. The postage-paid cards were left in shops, cafés, and bars throughout Paris and mailed back to the artist after strangers completed them. Some of them depict Rodriguez sporting a Mohawk, Mickey Mouse ears, a crown, insect antennae, devil horns, Hitler bangs, flaxen tresses, and even a pair of runny sunny-side-up eggs. His exhibition — which includes works in a diverse variety of media, such as photography, sculpture, video, installation, and sound — can be considered a sprawling self-portrait in one form or another, Rodriguez says.
NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith
Through May 24
Miami Art Museum , 101 W Flagler St., Miami
Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
It's impossible to imagine a better city than ours as a host for the mojo-manic exhibit currently on view at the Miami Art Museum. Co-organized by the Menil Collection and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center and curated by Franklin Sirmans, "NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith" is freighted with the religious beliefs of those who have migrated here. The sprawling show corrals 50 works by 33 artists in an arresting variety of media ranging from sculpture to photography, assemblage, video, and performance. The exhibition was inspired by the African-American writer Ishmael Reed's Neo-HooDoo Manifesto, which explores the role of spirituality outside organized religion.
Adding some wit and humor to the mix is Brian Jungen, who has stacked golf bags floor to ceiling to create two colossal columns reminiscent of totem poles. He does so as a critique of the commodification of native imagery. In his Beer Cooler, Jungen — who is of mixed European and Native American ancestry — carved skulls, flames, an eagle, and a dreamcatcher, into the sides of a plastic cooler. By placing beer cans in the cooler and the cooler in a museum, Jungen has stated he is "giving alcohol back to the Europeans." "NeoHooDoo" includes a mind-jarring range of depictions of spirituality that will bring visitors back again and again to plumb its enigmatic depths.
Through May 2
Leonard Tachmes Gallery
3930 NW Second Ave., Miami
Thursday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment
In his later years, as he descended into madness, Venezuelan artist Armando Reverón took to wearing a loincloth and wandering around a bizarre ramshackle compound where he created life-size dolls out of burlap sacks. The dolls were his family; some say he made love to them. They were also among his most enduring, haunting pieces of art, and today they help define the legacy of one of the most enigmatic figures in Latin American art history. "Reverón's Dolls," a new photography exhibit at the Leonard Tachmes Gallery in the Design District, pays homage to the late artist and transports the spectator to the surreal realm of a forgotten world. The exhibit features 37 works by Venezuelan photographer Luis Brito, who documented the rotting remnants of Reverón's macabre muses to preserve the legacy of his compatriot, who died in 1954 after a slow decline into dementia. Curator Jorge Hulian has peeled back the veil on Reverón's mystifying world with a deftly curated and engaging exhibition of Brito's haunting pictures. It is not to be missed.
Lust in My Heart, Evil on My Mind
Through May 2
Harold Golen Gallery, 2294 NW Second Ave., Miami
Thursday through Saturday noon to 4 p.m. and by appointment
You can almost smell the stinging scent of cordite perfuming the air at Harold Golen Gallery. Peeking out from behind flower-patterned curtains, a heartless blonde in a sheer black negligee levels her gun at your head. Welcome to Manhattan-based photographer Richie Fahey's world, where reality is never quite what it seems. "I'm interested in old detective pulp, musty paperbacks, movie posters, and theater lobby cards," Fahey says. They inspire him to conjure hard-boiled noir-style visuals. Fahey has become known for the ambiguous nature of his photographs and for his flawless attention to detail. Typically his works feature a cast of bombshells and the lustful dopes they invariably wrap around their pinkies. For his shoots, he hires models or actresses, and his wife often assists with the makeup and styling. He employs vintage lighting techniques and painstaking art direction.
Several of the images on display include book covers the artist created for the re-release of James Bond paperback editions by Penguin Books in 2003. The best thing is that many viewers will find themselves filling in the blanks of Fahey's open-ended capers with their own imaginary backstories or dreaming for days of old-fangled flimflams.
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