You could stay home and read comics all day, but you should really leave your cave and enjoy a dash of culture with your cartoons. "Art in the 'Toon Age" opens today at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood (1650 Harrison St., Hollywood). On loan from Michigan State University's Kresge Art Museum, the exhibit features the works of more than 30 fine artists and cartoonists, and reflects three generations of comic, pop, and commercial art. You can spend hours staring at Yoshitomo Nara's scowling children or Takashi Murakami's happy flowers, as well as works by R. Crumb, Art Spiegelman, and Chris Ware.
Curator Samantha Salzinger thinks this exhibit will appeal to a large audience. "It's a colorful, bright, sink-your-teeth-into-looking show." There is a resurgence of lowbrow and pop art, Salzinger points out, and quickly adds it's no surprise that "California and South Florida are the places where this art is most popular." The center is open today from 10:00 to 5:00, and the exhibit runs through January 15. Admission ranges from three to five dollars. Call 954-921-3274, or visit www.artandculturecenter.org. Lyssa Oberkreser
Talkin' Trash Art
Undeniably a kindred spirit to the endearing, fire-chugging, scrotum-stapling Jackass Steve-O, German artist Albert Oehlen forces the parameters of formal Modernism to the extreme. The painter has been hailed for deploying unsavory color combinations, half-baked imagery, and decorative adornments in confounding works critics describe as resembling "a colorful wad of trash compressed by the hydraulic jaws of a garbage truck."
His first major U.S. exhibit "Albert Oehlen: I Know Whom You Showed Last Summer," opening tonight at 7:00 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (770 NE 125th St., North Miami) features 30 canvases from 1988 to 2003, spanking the notions of good painting. The stunner offers the most extreme examples of the envelope-pusher's work, promises MoCA curator Bonnie Clearwater, who adds, "In these paintings he sets up impossible situations that he ultimately resolves with great intelligence, humor, and finesse." If a hard-core art experience tickles your fancy, don't miss this wild man's challenging paintings that land on the noggin with the force of a brick and are well worth the five-dollar admission. Call 305-893-6211, or visit www.mocanomi.org. Carlos Suarez De Jesus
Travel with MAM on its latest exhibition
Holding on to one's bearings while navigating a topsy-turvy world can seem daunting, as the legacy of the Spanish explorers have shown us. After making it back with maps charting his discovery of the New World, Columbus opened up a can of worms by divulging the best spots to score some rum, tobacco, and a tan while mingling with exotic natives. The mariner unwittingly launched the race to build condos on every unclaimed patch of paradise and spawned the invasion of European backpackers toting dog-eared copies of Lonely Planet on our shores.
"Mapping Space: Selections from the Permanent Collection," opening tonight at 7:00 at the Miami Art Museum (101 W. Flagler St., Miami), shows ways artists use lines, images, and actual maps to chart physical, psychological, and metaphorical spaces, placing how we negotiate our environment into the foreground. The exhibit, curated by Peter Boswell, features 30 artworks drawn from MAM's holdings and local private collections, including a large wall installation by Miguel Angel Rios recently donated to the museum.
The work, Plumed Crest, captures a sense of the sixteenth-century Spanish maps of South America, rendered in distorted proportions as if sketched from the creaky crow's-nest of a wave-tossed galleon, conceptually echoing the historical lack of understanding of the region. A Gordon Matta-Clark video, Splitting, depicts a dwelling the artist sliced down the middle with a chain saw. A sliver of sunlight filters through the building's breach, which some developer has likely plugged with a high-rise. From abstract architectural perspectives to artists' musings on traversing urban landscapes, this show upends the ground upon which we trod. Call 305-375-3000, or visit www.miamiartmuseum.org. Carlos Suarez de Jesus
Catch the Rave
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Ecstacy-fueled raves are so Nineties, but tonight's opening of "Rave," a multimedia exhibit featuring the eclectic works of Alette Simmons-Jiménez and Rosario Rivera-Bond, reflects a totally modern commentary and won't leave you feeling rundown and dehydrated. Rivera-Bond's vivid paintings vibrantly dance off the canvas to do-si-do with the curlicue sculptures and curiously adorable scratching-mouse video installation by Simmons-Jiménez. Start rolling tonight from 7:00 to 10:00 at Artformz, 130 NE 40th St., #2, Miami. The exhibit runs through December 31. Call 305-572-0040, or visit www.artformz.net. Lyssa Oberkreser
If you're the kind of viewer who likes to pick a film's characters apart, few movies offer darker mulch than A Streetcar Named Desire. Tennessee Williams's drama is bursting with bruised souls. Thanks to the Florida Psychoanalytic Society's "Psychoanalyzing the Movies" screening series, aspiring analysts can enjoy an intense discussion with Dr. Steven Levy tonight at 7:30 at the MIAMIntelligence Center, 2000 S. Dixie Hwy., Miami. Admission is ten dollars. Call 305-860-2499, or visit www.miamintelligence.com. Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik