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See/Be Seen

A Brutal, Human Touch

In an overview of Azaceta's work

SAT 7/9

Luis Cruz Azaceta, one of the most accomplished Cuban-American artists of the last half-century, has never shied away from tackling the ugliest aspects of human nature, often arousing the spectator with an unapologetic chokehold on the senses. Known for works that read like the yardstick of angst, he rakes the wounds of exile, AIDS, and oppression with a fine-tooth comb, filtering tragedy through his personal experience in hopes of awakening compassion.

"I want to confront the viewer with life and what we are doing to each other," Azaceta acknowledges of his oeuvre. "Although we try to manicure reality, it is actually very brutal."

"Selected Works on Paper," opening tonight from 7:30 to 10:00 at Fredric Snitzer Gallery (2247 NW First Pl., Miami), features fifteen midsize drawings from the Seventies through today, providing a fairly broad survey of Azaceta's career. Cabeza/Balsero 1994, a self-portrait sporting a raft chapeau and staring at a strand of barbed wire with the legendary "no exit" at the bottom, echoes the artist at his rawest. An abstract piece from 2001 looks more like a Willy Wonka bubble bath from a bird's-eye view, with Technicolor suds washing down a drain, perhaps gurgling, "Age mellows." Call 305-448-8976, or visit Carlos Suarez de Jesus

Bohemian Memories

Art still flourishes in the Grove

FRI 7/8

"The Grove is not what it used to be," laments Bobbie Headder. As a resident and member of the GroveHouse Artists, she has noticed the area's evolution. "The Grove isn't so much for artists anymore; it's for shops and boutiques," Headder grouses. Reminisce about the good old days with tonight's Coconut Grove gallery crawl. Begin your evening at the Coconut Grove Gallery (2790 Bird Ave.; 305-445-7401). At 6:30 p.m. Chinese brush painter Angela Chang will give a presentation about the exotic art form. Then visit the GroveHouse Artists Gallery (2911 Grand Ave.) for the last official opening at its current location. Owing to escalating real estate costs and competition within the local artistic community, the 30-strong collective is being forced to seek a new home. "We're hoping to catch the eye of some benevolent soul who would consider giving us a space," explains Headder. Art lovers and philanthropists are invited for a last hurrah tonight at 7:00. Call 786-237-9935. --Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik

A Naturally Wild Woman

Rocket blasts out another fine show

SAT 7/9

Unfettered by paintbrush envy and cocksure enough to steal some thunder from classical masters, Kristine Potter milks convention with unbridled aplomb, creating exquisite photo portraits that exude a saucy grasp of history.

In "Laws of Nature," opening tonight from 7:00 to 11:00 at Rocket Projects (3440 N. Miami Ave., Miami), Potter explores the tingle of wildness upon the nape of civilization, showering sparks of Cézanne and Vermeer in her stardust-coated solo show. "Mariah in Bandages," an Ingres-like odalisque, feet injured and dressed in gauze, rests on a ratty couch under a tattered sylvan landscape, her gaze all-enveloping. With solid back-to-back solo female exhibits and boasting a gender-balanced stable producing exceptional work, Rocket is soaring. Call 305-576-6082, or visit Carlos Suarez de Jesus

Movie-Time Coffee Talk

SUN 7/10

A good film can inspire and delight the viewing audience. After seeing a soul-stirring flick, most folks like to discuss it with a friend. At Café Cinémathque International, film buffs can enjoy their ruminations with some freshly brewed coffee, cake, and fruit. Today's movie is Lost Embrace, a bittersweet Argentine family drama. See it at 10:00 a.m. at Sunrise Cinemas 8, Intracoastal Mall, 3701 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach. Call 305-949-0064, or visit -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik


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