It's only September, but already Art Basel is looming over Miami's art scene like a purple thunderhead ready to pour mustached hipsters and oil-rich Abu Dhabi collectors all over town. So when Wynwood's Second Saturday Art Walk returns this weekend at 6 p.m., expect to see a number of spaces pushing the reset button and emerging from their summer slumber with new shows just in time for the wildly popular art and food-truck bonanza.
While Anthony Spinello inaugurates a new space just west of the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, the traditional hubs of Wynwood and the Design District will also spill over with edgy displays. Top picks for the weekend include a stable of artists taking a crack at the da Vinci code, a sprawling 3-D photo extravaganza, a sensory-jarring architectural romper room, a probing visual autopsy of our national psyche, and French royals frolicking in the Big Easy's post-Katrina landscape. The neighborhood is toppling over with just too many shows to list.
This group offering is inspired by a Leonardo da Vinci sculpture commissioned in 1482 by the Duke of Milan. Leonardo's Horse, intended to be the largest equestrian sculpture of its day, was never completed by the genius. Instead, it took five centuries before a full-scale bronze version of da Vinci's stallion was finally realized -- a tale demonstrating, the curators say, that true art can transcend time.
While you won't find a single horse on display here, the gallery's stable of emerging thoroughbreds attempt to channel the spirit of Leonardo. Take, for instance, one piece by Evan Robarts, who created a set of inflatable lungs from clear recycling bags and packaging tape. The faux organs are inflated and deflated by three fan motors to simulate slow breathing. Then there's Asif Farooq, who painstakingly fashions toy firearms out of cardboard and paper materials that poke fun at gun violence in contemporary society, while also harking back to the weapons-addled designers of earlier eras.
Primary Projects 4141 NE Second Ave., Ste. 104, Miami. Call 954-296-1675 or visit primaryprojectsspace.com
Mark Diamond's solo project hosts a sprawling survey of his attention-grabbing, three-dimensional photos. Diamond, who has earned an international reputation as a holographer, videographer, photographer, and expert practitioner of 3-D imagery for the past 30 years, will showcase a series of portraits of local artists including Robert Chambers, Jen Stark, George Sanchez-Calderon, and Christy Gast. He will also display a massive installation of what he's dubbed "3-D Wall-o-Grams," including a montage of more than a hundred images on a single gallery wall.
Swampspace Gallery 150 NE 42nd St., Miami. For more info contact firstname.lastname@example.org
This New York-based artist delivers his trademark architectural sleight of hand for his first South Florida solo show. Putnam tinkers with perception, unmooring viewers from their traditional notions of space and their surroundings through witty, ingeniously planned works. Visitors can expect to roam through cool, shadowy expanses in the gallery, where they will chance upon a collection of photographs, portraits, film stills, and other fragments of his oeuvre. Disoriented spectators can find their bearings by looking for a towering brick pillar rising from the center of the space and meant to evoke a Romanesque abbey or an ancient mosque.
A stroll through the piece mimics the "experience of finding oneself alone in an architectural immensity," Putnam says, "that falls away and recedes in perspective like fading memories and fog-enshrouded mountains."
Locust Projects 3852 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Call 305-576-8570 or visit locustprojects.org.
This can't-miss display from self-taught artist Farley Aguilar boasts brain-melting imagery depicting a cast of Goya-like grotesques that bring to mind the caricatures of bloated New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, grinning vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, and other puffed-up speakers at the Republican National Convention in Tampa last week. Aguilar's solo features a lurid romp across our national psyche, where mob mentality rules and a sense of impending doom and volatile emotional meltdowns roil across the senses like a foreboding winter fog. Often garish in tone and color, the Nicaraguan-born talent's new suite of ink-on-Mylar paintings adroitly balances his disfigured protagonists with elements of classical mythology. They're varnished with the underlying menace that a tragedy is about to occur.
Spinello Projects 2930 NW Seventh Ave., Miami. Call 786-271-4223 or visit spinelloprojects.com.
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Imagine a shimmering, steroid-juiced Lite Brite pattern depicting a cast of deviant and marginal characters, and you'll have a notion of Shonagh Adelman's peeper-popping oeuvre. Typically, Adelman employs tens of thousands of Swarovski crystals and translucent acrylic beads affixed on canvas, creating richly textured, iridescent surfaces that refract light as the viewer engages them. But it is her bizarre catalogue of grotesques that stick to the craw. Some of her canvases depict Marie Antoinette in the apocalyptic landscape of post-Katrina New Orleans, while other images transport spectators to the opulent interiors of the Palace of Versailles where marauding madams, merry minstrels, bicycling babes, and kissing cops all vie with each other to seduce the eyes.
Black Square Gallery, 2248 NW First Place, Miami. Call 305-424-5002 or visit blacksquaregallery.com.