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Overtown's van Gogh

When painter Purvis Young died of a heart attack at Jackson Memorial Hospital this past Spring, Miami ached at the loss of one its authentic cultural heroes. Young, in contrast to the ever-chipper Romero Britto, internalized and interpreted the 305’s urban strife. His paintings and murals were frantic with jagged color bursts, shaky lines, and flashes of recognizable forms: railroad tracks, horse heads, watchful eyes. Young, who never went to high school, said he got into drawing during his time in a Florida prison, where art books exposed him to Rembrandt, El Greco, and van Gogh. His paintings are exhibited nationwide and cherished by celebrities such as Jane Fonda, but Young died poor, suffering from the complications of diabetes without sufficient health care.

This Thursday, Miami Art Museum will screen Purvis of Overtown, a 2006 documentary that won Florida Film Festival’s Audience Award and Best Documentary at the San Luis Obispo Film Festival. It marks the opening of MAM’s “Focus Gallery: Purvis Young” exhibit, on display through November 7. The screening is free for museum members and $10 for nonmembers. Secure your seat by emailing
Thu., July 29, 7 p.m., 2010


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