Hitch-It-to-the-Horse by Emilio Perez at Rocket 
Hitch-It-to-the-Horse by Emilio Perez at Rocket Projects

Current Shows

Enrique Campuzano: During a moment of identity crisis, modern art created "appropriation," the depiction of a well-known image in a different visual context -- as distinguished from outright plagiarism. This is what Enrique Campuzano does with one of the giants of art history: Diego Velazquez. He's not the first to cite the Spanish genius, but Campuzano's obsession surpasses anything recent. He actually has the technique and a sense of the theatrical to twist Velazquez a bit. I understand this game of association: Stay behind the giant and no matter how faint the appropriator's touch, it will always look bigger than it would otherwise. Yet I wonder about the value of having to paraphrase a giant so literally in order to make a point. -- AT Through March 31. The Americas Collection, 2440 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables. 305-446-5578.

The Center of It All: This ultrabusy group video and photography show gives the impression of shoehorning size-nine brogans into a pair of size-five pumps. Did Imelda Marcos curate this? Karen Knorr's opulent staged photographs of stuffed animals amid canonical works in the Musée d'Orsay, and Mintos Manetas's vibracolor prints of video-game alterations seemed torturously cramped, literally begging to breathe. Installing a gumball machine full of Dramamine in the space would not alleviate the feeling of claustrophobia, which is criminal given the stellar quality of some of the work. Also showing: Alessandra Sanguinetti, Diana Shpungin, Nicole Engelmann, Alfredo De Stefano, Fredric Nakache, Amalia Caputo, Victor Vázquez, Renata Poljak, and Harvey Zipkin. -- CSJ Through March 30. Daniel Azoulay Gallery, 3900-A NE First Ave. 305-576-1977.

Drawings: The Domingo Padrón Gallery is a small place that often exhibits interesting work. The current show is a nice collection of drawings by Latin American (mostly Cuban) artists, but don't try to find a connecting thread. Styles range from Cundo Bermudez's drawings (contoured à la Amelia Peláez and reminiscent of stained glass) to Pedro Pablo Oliva's whimsical surrealistic caricature; and from Zaida del Rio's black-and-white, female-driven symbolic settings to Luis Rodriguez's doodling satire and Ricardo Calandini's Escher-like wall labyrinths. It all reads like the rise and fall of the Latin American homo politicus -- a period that went from promise to deception to despair between the early Sixties and the late Eighties. -- AT Through March 31. Domingo Padrón Gallery, 1518 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables. 305-444-9360.

Juan Lecuona: Lecuona's art revisits decadence, but this being the 21st Century, he brings contemporary thought to his work. The result is a more detached treat. At the crossroads of Maupassant's tales and Lucienne Day's fabrics, Lecuona elaborates an art-of-the-boudoir, patternlike painting, exploring visual designs to evoke physical tickling and mental titillations. His inventions of keen coloring with refined simplicity bring to mind silk tapestry wall hangings or ribbon motifs achieved as delicate corporeal abstractions in pale blues, gold, rose, and lilac. Similar subjects drove nineteenth-century "cultivated man" to create ideals of polished style -- much out of synch with our times. -- AT Through March 31. Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts, 3080 SW 38th Ct., Coral Gables. 305-774-5969.

Francisco Luna: Are we really worse off because of globalization? Maybe it doesn't matter one way or the other; people believe what they want to believe. Argentinean Francisco Luna's No Duermas (Don't Fall Asleep) takes up the issue by steering a midcourse between Frankfurt-theory pessimism and the Zen masters' self-caution. He denounces corporate power while being frank about our surrendering to its seduction. The work is part painting, part logo, part ad, and part flat sculpture. Sleek corporate messages embedded in surfaces darkened by smudges and scribbles suggest our numbing to the oxidization of our environment. What is real and what's imagined? Look for Luna's words of caution on what the future may hold: a large landscape painting on metal, something out of William Gibson's Neuromancer. Will that be our "zone of hope"? -- AT Through March 31. Praxis International Art, 2960 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Coral Gables. 305-443-9700.

New Paintings: Emilio Perez's lush, eye-popping new work conveys a lyrical fervor that seems to echo the big-wave surfer's rush as he drops into an overhead tube. Perez romps adroitly across vibrant, churning swirls of chaos and serenity in a world all his own. This is clean, wicked stuff you won't want to miss. In the Project Room, Odalis Valdivieso's installation, Creative Destruction, tells a tale of malice in wonderland. No milk and cookies here. Digital images portraying sleeping girls camped out on the shore of a dumpsite cesspool, and a contemplative hiker breaking in his Timberlands at the foot of what seems to be Mt. Trashmore tersely navigate the region between the pastoral and apocalyptic. -- CSJ Through April 2. Rocket Projects, 3440 N. Miami Ave. 305-576-6082.

Rush and Ruggeri: "The Black Glass and Other Paintings," George Rush's collection of monochromatic work, seems an apotheosis to the banal. The exterior and interior views of a fictional house exude a discomfiting miasma of Stepford Wives suburbia. Heavy shadows, razor-sharp geometric planes, stacked computer monitors, and open boxes overflowing with the mundane oscillate between the voyeuristic and the foreboding with deft psychological and painterly effect. Gina Ruggeri's cutout Mylar paintings of rocks, clouds, and other natural elements execute a nifty legerdemain on the spectator, playing seamlessly with dimensions of volume and space. The artist successfully engages viewers in a paradoxical head game with the guile of a sylvan wood nymph who has conceptualized her own Eden. -- CSJ Through April 17. Kevin Bruk Gallery, 3900-B NE First Ave. 305-576-2000.

10 Floridians: This is more than just another exhibit. And Miami Art Central (MAC) is more than just another exhibition space. Venezuelan philanthropist Ella Fontanals Cisneros came up with the idea for the space (designed by architect Alessandro Fiorentino), and wunderkind Manuel Gonzalez (MAC's artistic director) came up with the idea for MAC's debut: Have nine well-known curators select and write about ten promising South Florida artists. The show is a success because it brings together some of Miami's best -- Mark Handforth, Dara Friedman, Adler Guerrier, Luis Gispert, José Bedia, Jacin Giordano, Glexis Novoa, Gean Moreno, Robert Chambers, and Sergio Vega. -- AT Through March 28. Miami Art Central, 5960 Red Rd., South Miami. 305-455-3333.

The Trade Dress, Value Judgment: Photographer Hank Willis Thomas slam-dunks Madison Avenue from the three-point line with "The Trade Dress, Value Judgment," a visceral imperative that induces a pumped-fist reaction. The work hypes a provocative connection between the slave and cotton industries of the antebellum South and today's big-money advertising that exploits black sports celebrities. Hangtime Circa 1923, an inkjet print of Nike's famous sky-walking Michael Jordan logo lynched from a tree, pulls no punches. The overall impact of the exhibit, however, can't rise above off-Broadway billing owing to a lack of finesse in curatorial editing. Still it's well worth a visit. -- CSJ Through March 28. Diaspora Vibe Gallery, 3938 N. Miami Ave. 305-573-4046.

Zumblick and Ramirez: Thais Zumblick's arresting self-portraits seem to straddle Georges Bataille's hinterland between masochistic acceptance and sadistic provocation with deadpan panache. "Series 9490.t" refers to the color code for purple and maybe for a mixture of black and blue. Also at Kessler: Was it Marx who said, "Man is born barefoot but everywhere he is in a pair of Nikes?" Painter Ramiro Ramirez combines a Flemish economy of space with hyperrealism in his The High Performance Machine Is About Athletic Shoes. Sneakers as commodity fetish and Joe and Jane Lunchbox agog in rapture. -- CSJ Through April 12. Marina Kessler Gallery, 2628 NW Second Ave. 305-573-6006.


Debra Cortese Open Studio: Works by 10 guest artists including Rick Cruz, Elsa Nadal, Donna Torres, and Maria McMurry, Sunday, March 21; reception, 1 p.m. Sunday, March 21. 6300 SW 50th St, South Miami, 305-665-2528.

Fernando Pessoa Gallery: "Captured Dreams," paintings by Vicente Rodriguez Bonachea, Friday, March 19, through March 31; reception, 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 19. 128 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables, 305-441-6554.

FIU Biscayne Bay Campus, Wolfe University Center Ballroom: "A Tribute to Our Ancestors," African diaspora art exhibit featuring works by Sister Feea, Tuesday, March 23, through April 15; reception, 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 23. NE 151st Street and Biscayne Boulevard, room 245, North Miami.

Fredric Snitzer Gallery: "Appalachia," a series of drawings accompanied by quilt art and found objects by Gean Moreno, Friday, March 19, through April 15; reception, 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 19. 3078 SW 38th Ct, 305-448-8976.

Women's Park: "Women in Ritual," sculptures by Christine Lush-Rodriguez, video projection by Alette Simmon-Jimenez, Friday, March 19, through May 7; reception, 7 p.m. Friday, March 19. 10251 West Flagler Street.


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