Advent: No matter how much you flog a nag, it will never run like a racehorse. Curated by New York-based artist Lou Laurita, this show seeks to explore themes of coming into being yet stalls at the gate, for much of the work seems a furlong from posting his premise. The exhibit does deliver several winners. But in terms of cohesion, Laurita has harnessed too many artists in an uneven field, so some of the work ends up getting trampled. One of my favorite pieces is Montana Cherney's silk-screen on suit fabric, Ol' Dirty Bastard vs. the Pentagon. The fabric is printed with ski masks, pentagons, tree branches, hooks, and cheerleader megaphones in a sensational pattern that knocks the starch out of stiff business sorts. Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through February 19. ArtCenter/South Florida, 800 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 305-674-8278, www.artcentersf.org.
The Art of Painting: Malcolm Morley's exhibit at MoCA features more than 30 large works dating from the Sixties. The twists and turns of the artist's formative years pepper his paintings. Born in England in 1931, Morley ran away from home at the age of fifteen and later served a two-year stretch in London's infamous Wormwood Scrubs prison. In 1984 Morley was the first recipient of the prestigious Turner Prize for British artists, twisting the adage that crime doesn't pay. Marking a return to his superrealist works of the Sixties, his most recent canvases dynamically portray athletes in action. Perhaps the most stunning painting in this exhibit is Death of Dale Earnhardt, which dramatically depicts the demise of the legendary NASCAR champion. Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through April 16. MoCA, 770 NE 125 St., North Miami; 305-893-6211, www.mocanomi.org.
Distance: Equal parts roller coaster and Rube Goldberg contraption, Jeppe Hein's sensational installation sweeps the spectator along for a dizzying taste of a theme park ride. The piece consists of nearly 1000 feet of track that winds through the space in a knotted steel tangle. As visitors enter the area, they activate a sensor, which shoots a white plastic sphere the size of a soccer ball onto the rails. Viewers can then follow the ball on foot as it turns and plunges along the rails sprawled throughout the gallery. Spectators may find themselves running around like excited kids at an amusement park. Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through March 10. The Moore Space, 4040 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-438-1163, www.themoorespace.org.
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