Disappearances, Shadows & Illusions
Through September 21. Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-3000, www.miamiartmuseum.org
This exhibit, which aspires to challenge traditional notions of how the public views art, features upward of 50 works by more than 20 artists. It boasts pieces from the Miami Art Museum's permanent collection, key loans from area collectors, and several installations commissioned from local artists, who ultimately pocket the show. These include Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, Kerry Phillips, Matt Schreiber, and Tom Scicluna. The last delivers perhaps the single most cultivated device for absorbing the spirit of the show. Scicluna's amazing Shift is a freestanding wall that has been almost imperceptibly bent out of shape. He effectively subverts institutional authority by tinkering with the concept that museums themselves run the illusion game; with Shift, the artist has taken over.
Space Is the Place
Through September 25. Diaspora Vibe Gallery, 3938 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-573-4046, www.diasporavibe.net
The current show at Diaspora Vibe — combining the work of 24 artists of Latin American, Caribbean, and African heritage — features an eclectic medley of video, installation, and sound pieces. Curator Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud has succeeded in assembling art that reflects the unfettered zones of the imagination and rewards viewers who play along with the at-times cacophonous presentation. A harmonic convergence of time-based art delivers an engaging multisensory experience. Among the works is Carolina Vasquez's video 25 years in 6 mins 15 secs, which assaults the peepers with a collage of the artist's life that flashes so quickly it makes the viewer dizzy and evokes a sense of memory at once moving and intriguingly ambiguous.
Excavating Egypt: Great Discoveries from the Petrie Museum
Through November 2. Lowe Art Museum, 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables; 305-284-3535, www.lowemuseum.org
Not your garden-variety tomb raider or occultist crackpot, Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie became known as the father of Egyptian archaeology. Today his discoveries can be found in more than 120 museums across the globe. He made great breakthroughs in field excavation and invented a sequence-dating method that enabled reconstruction of history from ancient remains. This exhibit at the Lowe captures Petrie's life and times and features 221 of the scholar's finds. The show includes a treasure trove of sculptures, jewelry, pottery, painted vessels, and mummy portraits, as well as objects used in everyday life. They offer a tantalizing window into the ancient Egyptians' level of sophistication. The exhibition sprawls across the development of Egyptian archaeology from its infancy in the 1880s to the present day, and covers dozens of the sites on which Petrie worked.
20th-Century Works on Paper from the Fundación Mapfre Collection: Picasso, Tàpies, Miró, and Others
Through November 2. Bass Museum of Art, 2121 Park Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7530, www.bassmuseum.org
From expressive figurative illustrations to abstract geometrics and surrealist musings, this show boasts 80 works by Spain's renowned masters and artists from other countries whose careers were affected by that nation. The sprawling exhibit is an introduction to some of Spain's lesser-known talent, as well as a primer on the brighter lights who soared to international stature during an era when the tension between figuration and abstraction ruled the course of art. It Could Occur at Any Moment, a mystifying surrealist work by José Caballero, suggests Spain's hidden history of religious corruption. The spooky drawing is one of the most compelling on exhibit and a strong argument for catching amazing works by artists seldom on view. More often than not, it's the obscure names rather than the headliners who steal this show.