Florida Artists Series: Tori Arpad and Kate Kretz: The Frost Museum's current exhibition showcases two FIU associate art professors' works combined to create an aesthetically and emotionally dramatic tone. Through her paintings and mixed-media textile creations, Kretz confronts and embraces themes of anguish, vulnerability, and female intuition. Although what's described as her "psychological clothing" -- garments such as those displayed in Defense Mechanism Coat (whose porcupine exterior made from roofing nails protects a red-velvet, veined interior) -- teeters on maudlin, Kretz's hyper-real, color-saturated works are skillful. An adjacent room houses Arpad's multimedia installation that consists of 8000 cups of water covering the floor, eight vertically paneled video cameras projecting their shakily filmed footage onto a far wall -- whose swaying notion distorts images of air, water, and land -- and a languid cello soundtrack playing in the background. Fragile yet grandiose, Arpad's work prompts intense contemplation but incites less the artist's desired reaction -- to stimulate a connection with nature -- and more a fleeting impulse to destroy. -- K. Lee Sohn Through July 31. The Frost Art Museum at Florida International University, University Park Campus, PC 110, SW 107th Avenue and SW Eighth Street, Miami; 305-348-2890.
Fuzzy Was He? Once upon a time, before psychedelic Sesame Street of the Seventies turned into Elmo Street (the fifteen-second-skit show of the Nineties), there were Bert and Ernie, Oscar the Grouch, and Big Bird. Perhaps red furball Elmo was nice at first, but he pushed old favorites into the Dumpster. (Whatever happened to Harry and Prairie Dawn?) He also exhibited an unforgivable lack of depth and funk. So Miami artist Arlene Berrie takes Elmo and makes him edgy. Enjoyable are the buttery quality of Berrie's canvases and her impish contemporary approach in Elmo, I Don't Want to Be a Duck and Elmo, I Don't Want to Be a Chicken. She deconstructs Elmo and makes him cool and fit for smart and imaginative children. -- Alfredo Triff Through August 13. Liquid Blue Gallery, 3438 N. Miami Ave.; 305-571-9123, www.liquidbluegallery.com.
marking time: moving images: Science, technology, and the speed with which we communicate today have altered modern-day perception of reality. The world is so much more accessible nowadays that time has become a fluid medium flashing back and forth -- as if we were living inside a movie. Curated by Lorie Mertes, MAM's new show (of mostly videos) centers on internalized time and showcases the works of ten artists, including Janine Antoni, Miguel Angel Rios, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Dara Friedman, and Ann Hamilton. Take home a Gonzalez-Torres piece, talk into Ann Hamilton's installation, or simply enjoy Friedman's offbeat sequences of people making out. Don't miss Paul Pfieffer's metaphysical video concerned with light and color. It will make you feel -- if German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was right about the power of art -- as though you're the sole survivor of a universal flood. -- Alfredo Triff Through September 11. Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-3000.
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Monstrously Tranquil: Christian Curiel's work is influenced by Surrealism, B movies, lowbrow art, and prepubescent deformity in the style of Japanese master Tohl Narita. Now, in the capacity of curator, the Yale graduate and CINTAS fellow assembles some of his friends for "Monstrously Tranquil," an exhibit that seems to subdue the grotesque to accentuate the ominous, but an overall theme is not apparent. There are some interesting pieces though, such as Kristine Potter's enigmatic photograph of a young woman in the woods -- standing on her tiptoes and wearing a stringent expression -- and Adrian Wong's arcane sculpture of two green rabbits facing each other inside a boat, spewing tons of whitish slime, surrounded by plastic shark fins on the floor. -- Alfredo Triff Through August 13. Ingalls and Associates, 125 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-573-6263, www.ingallsassociates.com.
Pedro Vizcaíno: This native Cuban cut his teeth on street theater, elements of which are scattered throughout his art today. His new works on view are low reliefs made from crudely cut cardboard and a child's palette of colors. Vizcaíno's Tanks depict hybrid creatures -- part machine, part predatory insect -- with exaggerated humanoid features: bulging eyeballs, hands grasping at cell phones, limbs thrusting to attack, cannons aimed like erect phalluses. The shock-and-awe potential of Vizcaíno's work could be seriously ramped up, to borrow some of the military's own language. The tanks are undeniably unruly, but the artist may have to grab a bigger paintbrush to make them really gruesome. These tanks, magnified even five times in scale, perhaps even more assertively displayed three-dimensionally, would have a greater impact. Instead of each one hung on the wall in the deferential manner of an easel painting, a larger wall and a more aggressive battalion formation would improve the installation tremendously. -- Michelle Weinberg Through August 8. Frances Wolfson Gallery, MDC Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave., Fifth Floor, Miami; 305-237-3696.
What's New? This group exhibition concentrates on new developments in photographic work by local artists. Assessing the female nude is consistently a powerful attractor in art, as in life, but contrary to the exhibition title, no new discoveries are revealed here. Cecilia Paredes works in a recognizable vein, posing the female figure as a sacrificial object ambiguously affected by birds. Vicenta Casañ's Ice Box, featuring a nubile girl in multiple postures framed by a fridge and its everyday contents, lacks a subversive element that could distance it from contemporary chic advertising photos. Carlos Betancourt's heavy-handed, high-gloss Neo-Primitivism is familiar. Michael Flomen's large gelatin silver prints are hypnotic and dense, and refreshingly abstract. Wendy Wischer's Sunspot Diaries actually elucidate the word photography, for they are drawings literally made by sunlight that has burned holes into two leaves of paper arranged like an open book. These works are succinct meditations on the phenomenon of summer heat and the source from which it emanates. -- Michelle Weinberg Through July 31. Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts, 3080 SW 38th Ct., Miami; 305-774-5969, www.dlfinearts.com.
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