Miami Art Central (5960 Red Rd., Miami) is difficult to categorize. It's not a museum, because it has no permanent collection. It isn't a commercial gallery, because none of the works displayed are for sale; although if a patron expresses interest, the staff can help contact the artist to make arrangements. What Miami Art Central is, is fresh and different. The enormous Forties-era office building that once housed the telephone company's switchboards was allowed to keep its original, staid façade, but was painted bright red on the sides, reflecting the relationship of the building's history to its new identity as a creative space. The interior was transformed into a minimalist, industrial vision of glass, steel, and concrete. Eventually the roof will be open to the public for outdoor events with a lush view of Coral Gables. The basement will be a venue for film screenings and live music. For now the red building stands alone, an artistic haven away from other trendy art districts and museums. Why would art lovers venture so far south? Simply because Miami Art Central hosts great exhibitions that have traveled the world, giving local audiences opportunities to view art of international stature.
The latest exhibition is "The Last Picture Show: Artists Using Photography, 1960-1982," a well-traveled exhibit that puts more than 200 works by 57 international artists on display, from the first efforts of Bernd and Hilla Becher, Bruce Nauman, and Edward Ruscha, to pieces by late Seventies and early Eighties artists like Cindy Sherman, Sherrie Levine, and Richard Prince. The pictures range in subject from the tragic to the frivolous, self-portraits to landscapes, traditional photographs to art that smudges the lines between sculpture, painting, and performance. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik