Most artists will spend Art Basel ensconced in the safety of a swanky gallery. Not the artists who will display their creative work at the Faktura Gallery (7128 NW Second Ave., Miami). You'll find them pushing shopping carts around Miami Beach, as part of a refreshing exhibit titled "Pimp My Kart." Gallery owner Jacqueline Jackson Johnston found inspiration in her Little Haiti environs. "I noticed this homeless guy who had two shopping carts connected with pieces of wood. He had built like a Modernist recliner, with storage space underneath. Talk about making the best of a bad situation," Johnston explains.
In homage to the destitute gentleman's creativity, Johnston asked up-and-coming local artists to devise shopping carts of their own. The response has been overwhelming. Before the carts hit the streets, art lovers can visit the gallery to see contraptions built by Brandon Opalka, Wendy Doscher-Smith, and the gallery owner herself. All of the artwork is up for auction, and most of the proceeds will benefit the Community Partnership for the Homeless of Miami-Dade. Tonight's opening reception begins at 7:00. Admission is five dollars, or free if you bring a donation of canned food or clean clothing. Call 305-758-9005, or visit www.fakturagallery.com. Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik
See/ Be Seen
Cubism's daddy on display
A World War I veteran, highly praised philosopher and poet, and pioneer of modern art, Georges Braque's midnight blue birds, Les Oiseaux, permanently grace the ceiling of the Louvre. Now more than 200 of his remarkable works are on display at Art+ Gallery (Village of Merrick Park, 358 San Lorenzo Ave., Coral Gables). "It's the coronation of his work," says gallery owner Jean Bernard of these sculptural gems from a stunning three-inch diamond-encrusted pendant in textured gold to a dramatic five-foot fish set in precious stones. "It's the best of Braque."
Collaborating with jeweler Heger de Lowenfeld, Braque released his two-dimensional images of soaring birds and transformed the stylized head of Circe into wearable art. Bright blue and brilliant vermeil replace the artist's brown and gray abstracts. But the Cubism he fathered with friend/rival Picasso shines through sparkling jewels, echoing the ornaments' themes in the entire collection's paintings and tapestries. Peruse "Métamorphoses" through January 20 for an idea of Braque's impact on Cartier and Duchamps. Call 786-497-1111, or visit www.artplusgallery.com. Roberta Cruger
Campos-Pons's African roots flourish in her works
Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons straddles fragmented heritage with surefooted aplomb. The noted photographer mines themes of racial and feminine identity in arresting autobiographical works. Attracted to her African roots, she weaves an Ariadne's thread, unraveling pathways to the survival of an amputated culture, people, and religion carried across the inexorable Atlantic during the slave trade, the aftermath of Cuba's sugar plantations, and the present day in the U.S.
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Campos-Pons's explorations of self often find her experimenting with altered identities in brilliantly colored large-scale Polaroids, in what might be described as a ritual investigation of history and memory. Her unique vision unfolds tonight at 7:00 at Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, 3550 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Call 305-573-2700. Carlos Suarez Suarez de Jesus
Ripe with a lush palette that the artist hopes speaks to the viewer, Herza Barjon's striking tropical Expressionism captures the flavor of her native Haiti. Her show "Beans," organized by the African-New World Studies program at Florida International University's Biscayne Bay Campus, taps into the reservoir of her homeland's sacred myths and reflects what Barjon calls "the germ that regenerates life." Meet the artist today at 4:00 at the Wolfe Gallery, 3000 NE 151st St., Miami. Call 305-919-5521. Carlos Suarez De Jesus