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December Second Saturday Art Walk Guide: Street Thugs, Existential Autopsies, and Brain Toads

Although the aerosol stench, peelers dangling on stripper poles jutting from food trucks and nude pig in a poke performances are long gone, this weekend's Second Saturday art crawl still has plenty to intoxicate art-addicted crowds.



Beginning at 6 p.m., offerings range from jumping brain circle jerks to a shutterbug's Pop retrophilia. It's the season when paintings--art's top commodity--seems to dominate the commercial gallery scene. You'll also discover scores of fresh graff murals peppering the nabe.

At the house of Rubell, explore an expansive thirty year survey of America's top contemporary names. Later you can take a gander at rising talent at the Fredric Snitzer Gallery or the Primary Projects space. In short a surfeit of exhibits left over from last weekend's orgy of excess represents a tidy gauge of the best Miami offers during the year. Here are this month's picks:

December Second Saturday Art Walk Guide: Street Thugs, Existential Autopsies, and Brain Toads

Here Lies Georges Wildenstein

For those who missed Miru Kim's highly touted Basel opus in which the artist mucked around nude with two hogs liberated from a Hialeah slaughterhouse don't fret, this group show still delivers the bacon with some of the best stuff you'll see this weekend, hands down. The exhibit is named for an influential Parisian dealer of Jewish descent who was accused of trafficking art with the Nazis and stripped of his French citizenship in 1940. True to the show's title, plenty of work with subversive content is on view. Check out Michael Vasquez's Totem, a stunning, large-scale oil on canvas depicting street thugs flashing gang signs. Manny Prieres also commands attention with his pentagram drawing depicting interlocking switchblades, as does Kenton Parker with his engraved MAC-10.

Primary Projects (4141 NE Second Ave., Ste. 104, Miami). Call 954-801-3945 or visit primaryprojectspace.com.

December Second Saturday Art Walk Guide: Street Thugs, Existential Autopsies, and Brain Toads

Travelers in Time

Back when the old masters were slinging paint if they had a beef with their royal patrons they had to keep their beaks closed or risk losing their head so they employed stealth to convey criticism instead. At the Center for Visual Communication, Lluis Barba's large-scale photos plays upon these notions by hijacking pop cultural imagery and consumer branding the artist fuses with old school masterworks to comment on hot button social issues of today. The space is also featuring imposing steel sculptures by Herbert Mehler that till the furrows between the organic and geometric while giving the impression they might take flight with the slightest breeze.

Center for Visual Communication, 541 NW 27th Street, Miami. Call 305-571-1415 or visit visual.org.

December Second Saturday Art Walk Guide: Street Thugs, Existential Autopsies, and Brain Toads

Undertow

This compelling solo, featuring over two dozen paintings by Jason Shawn Alexander, a Los Angeles-based Expressionist figurative painter and self-confessed master of existential woe, open a window into a tense, psychologically freighted world where the artist gives the impression he is conducting emotional autopsies of his subjects rather than rendering traditional portraits of them. Alexander's discomfiting canvases are theatrical in nature and ominous in mood and created in a gritty, stain covered and drippy style that brings to mind a suppurating wound.  He is also a gifted illustrator known for his work with Dark Horse Comics, Warner Brothers and DC Comics and his exhibit coincides with the publication of a new book named after the show.

101/Exhibit, 101 NE 40th St Miami. Call 305-573-6101 or visit 101exhibit.com.

 

December Second Saturday Art Walk Guide: Street Thugs, Existential Autopsies, and Brain Toads

Dream Catcher II

The second installment of the Black Square Gallery's annual December group grope features a mixed bag of mixed media works and installations by seven international artists mining the liminal boundaries of dreams. On view you'll find Pablo Lehmann's cut paper shadow installations boasting Sigmund Freud quotes alongside the SYN Group's "X-Files" project while Emilio Garcia weighs in with his hybrid brain toads. Rather than conveying a notion of a Native American amulet as the exhibit's title suggests, the quirky works on display combine to remind viewers of a bizarre Twilight Zone episode.

Black Square Gallery, 2248 NW First Place, Miami. Call 305-424-5002 or visit blacksquaregallery.com.

December Second Saturday Art Walk Guide: Street Thugs, Existential Autopsies, and Brain Toads

Change

If you somehow missed Cristina Lei Rodriguez's sculptures at the Miami Beach Convention Center or at the Nada fair during ABMB you can still catch her beguiling solo at the Frederic Snitzer Gallery and discover why people are abuzz about her new work. Rodriguez has ventured beyond her Little Shop of Horrors aesthetic and the trappings of youth glam, to create more abstract, minimalist pieces employing elements such as Swarovski crystals and black shrink wrap to convey a stripped down notion of the landscape.

Fredric Snitzer Gallery, 2247 NW 1st Place, Miami. Call 305-448-8976 or visit snitzer.com.

December Second Saturday Art Walk Guide: Street Thugs, Existential Autopsies, and Brain Toads

Before They Were Famous: Behind the Lens of William John Kennedy

The local octogenarian shutterbug's engaging suite of photos of  icons Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana Kennedy transport the peepers back to Pop's free-wheeling heydays. Kennedy, who had unprecedented access to the two legends during the ascent of their careers in the early 60s, has wallpapered the Kiwi compound with his intriguing images shot at Warhol's Factory and of Indiana at his studio in the Midwest. Many of the more than 100 images on display have never been exhibited publicly and include snaps of other high-flying, media-magnets of the period such as artists Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist, Claes Oldenburg, critic Mario Amaya and museum honchos Dorothy Miller, Henry Geldzahler, and dealer Eleanor Ward who lit the fuse.

Kiwi Arts Group, 48 NW 29th St., Miami. Call 305-200-2047 or visit kiwiartsgroup.com.

December Second Saturday Art Walk Guide: Street Thugs, Existential Autopsies, and Brain Toads

American Exuberance

This can't miss blockbuster exhibit offers a 30-year survey of the top contemporary artists working today. The Rubells' sprawling offering features nearly 200 works by 64 artists, a quarter of them created specifically for the show. Seamlessly curated and filling the collection's capacious 45,000-square-foot digs to the brim, the show boasts blue-chip names such as Mike Kelly, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Richard Prince, and Cindy Sherman presented alongside emerging art stars such as Ryan Trecartin and Sterling Ruby.

Rubell Family Collection 95 NW 29th Street, Miami. Call 573-6090 or visit rfc.museum.

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