A Latin lover, a mysterious coven of wild women, a frolic in a candy-colored fun house, and an all-female group show riffing on how the unseen can powerfully shape perception, are just a few of the offerings making this weekend's Second Saturday Art Walk. It's a sizzling ticket before the dog days of summer.
For those who have never been, the art romp happens in Wynwood (between 22 and 29 streets along NW Second Ave.) and in the Design District (roughly 35 to 41 streets between NE Second and N. Miami avenues). Here are our picks of the cream of what's on tap this weekend.
Sleeping Giant: When Shaun El C. Leonardo (the self-assumed middle name stands for "El Conquistador") is not wearing a mask, cape, and tights while flying through the air lucha libre style, you'll find him as chulo papi, sporting a snazzy suit and patent leather kicks while wildly wiggling his hips to a searing meringue beat to impress the ladies.
In his first solo exhibition in the Magic City, Leonardo explores Latin machismo via paintings of armor-clad warriors, hulking athletes, and iconic superheroes. Leonardo hopes to get Wynwood's collective ass quaking with his Self-portrait Remix performance in which he plays a Latin Lothario scored to a soundtrack of salsa and the Bee Gees. Praxis International Art (2219 NW Second Ave., Miami). Call 305-573-2900 or visit praxis-art.com.
Myakka: Naomi Fisher's long-anticipated exhibit represents a group of women's mytho-poetic journey into the Florida wilderness. Its haunting nature is reminiscent of the ancient mystery cults in which priestesses conducted Arcadian rituals for the rebirth of nature from generation to generation.
Fisher's 16-minute video, Myakka, filmed over a two-week period at the Myakka River State Park, depicts the women roaming the wetland and prairies. They wear torn T-shirts, diaphanous thrift-store garb, and fierce face paint as they gather under a dense tangle of trees. Fisher exhibits an accompanying suite of paintings and drawings inspired by the video, which is projected on a gallery wall. Fredric Snitzer Gallery (2247 NW First Pl., Miami). Call 305-448-8976 or visit snitzer.com.
Let's Play: Adrian Sonni's Rainbow Brite-hued fun house chock full of happy murals, peppy paintings, whimsical watercolors, drawings, and sculptures leaves spectators recalling those carefree hours spent finger-painting in kindergarten. The event at 7 p.m. is free and will crank up the good vibes with complimentary beverages by Bacardi. Primary Projects (4141 NE Second Ave.,, Ste. 104, Miami). Call 954-801-3945 or visit primaryflight.com.
Sum of the Parts: This group show of female artists represented by the David Castillo Gallery, features new works by Kate Gilmore, Quisqueya Henriquez, Susan Lee-Chun, Jillian Mayer, and Xaviera Simmons. Gilmore's Walk This Way depicts what appears to be a woman's high-heeled shoe busting through a gallery wall. Lee-Chun weighs in with Split Pedestal, a large sculpture punctuated by a pair of female legs peeking from its bottom, suggesting the shapely stems of a prima ballerina trapped inside the pedestal's base. The works on display combine to challenge the spectator's sense of perception and the gaps of information or accuracy the mind seeks. David Castillo Gallery (2234 NW Second Ave., Miami). Call 305-573-8110 or visit davidcastillogallery.com.
Blighted Eden: Mark Messersmith presents narrative canvases weaving a tale of man's destructive intrusion of Florida's pristine natural splendor. Rather than evoking a specific place, his landscapes transport viewers to a raped eco-zone somewhere between the urban sprawl, shopping mall or trailer park or other man-made eyesores you can find outside your office window or dotting the nation's highways and roads. Bernice Steinbaum Gallery (3550 N. Miami Ave., Miami). Call 305-573-2700 or visit bernicesteinbaum.com.
Indigo: This collaborative exhibit by Chicago's Laura Kina and Vadadora and India-based artist Shelly Jyoti is built around the plant that has long-been symbolic of England's colonial heritage in the region. Working together since 2008, the artist's mutual interest in textiles is reflected in the show seamlessly.
Jyoti's Indigo Narratives employ traditional embroidery and embellishments belonging to traveling ethnic communities in coastal Gujarat while Kina's Devon Avenue Sampler series focuses on a contemporary Desi/Jewish community in Chicago. Their show includes new works in mediums such as hand-embroidery on khadi, acrylic on fabric, hand-stenciled Sanskrit calligraphy and textile embroidery on canvas. Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts (2043 N. Miami Ave., Miami). Call 305-576-1804 or visit dlfinearts.com.
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The Fabulous Bunny Yeager: This can't miss exhibit at the Harold Golen Gallery marks the first ever gallery show featuring the iconic photographer as its subject. Yeager's stunning self portraits from the '50s and '60s have never before been exhibited publically and include dreamy snaps of the curvy blonde bombshell clad in a frilly black negligee or sitting on a furry white rug sporting one of her trademark homemade bikinis.
Most people know Yeager as the shutterbug who snapped the infamous Bettie Page pics for the holiday-themed centerfold during Playboy's infancy. What they don't know is that Yeager herself was one of South Florida's most photographed beauties and earned the title of the "world's prettiest photographer," after turning her talents from posing for the camera to lensing some of the era's most drool-worthy pinups. Harold Golen Gallery (2294 NW Second Ave., Miami). Call 305-989-3359 or visit haroldgolengallery.com.