Piotr Uklanski's solo at the Bass showcases works from his wide-ranging practice, which includes sculpture, painting, photography, performance, and film. The show's title, "ESL," speaks to a South Florida audience, says museum executive director and chief curator Silvia Karman Cubiñá; it references "the sociopolitical relevance of an exhibition [called] 'ESL' (English as a second language) in a city such as Miami." Uklanski, a Polish artist, first earned notoriety when his series Untitled (The Nazis) nearly caused a riot when it was exhibited in the Photographers' Gallery in London in 1998. But at the Bass, the polemic vibe at the core of his earlier works has been decidedly toned down. Instead, the exhibit reflects the artist's uneasy relationship with the American dream and immigrant status. Centered on a single tie-dyed painting of an American flag, the sprawling survey unfolds in a series of rooms, containing paintings, sculptures, and site-specific murals that are at once formal and conceptual, appropriating '60s and '70s tie dye, art historical references, and pop imagery, Cubiñá informs. Craft also plays a major role in the show, the curator adds. Don't miss Uklanski's giant eyeball made of fabric and textile, dangling from its blue-and-red nerve endings, earning pride of place in a room of its own.
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