Art Capsules

Tamayo: A Modern Icon Reinterpreted: This probing autopsy of Rufino Tamayo's work and life marks his first major U.S. exhibition in nearly 30 years and features close to 100 paintings culled from private and institutional collections from across the globe. The show offers an incisive look at what made the controversial Mexican master tick. Exploring 70 years of Tamayo's prolific career, the traveling exhibition is less a retrospective than a re-examination of the artist's oeuvre and enduring impact on the contemporary scene. It begins with a small group of works from the Twenties in which Tamayo first dabbled with early French Modernism. The exhibit jumps to an expansive survey of his iconic mature works from the Forties and Fifties, during which he developed his unique style of figurative abstraction. It culminates with a modest yet striking selection from his late production. Observing signature works from his mature period, created in New York during the Forties, one is struck by Tamayo's arresting ability to dynamically portray the gamut of human emotion with profoundly universal appeal. — Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through September 23. Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-3000,

Clay and Brush: The Ceramic Art of China: The Lowe's new exhibit is a penetrating historical survey of the development of Chinese ceramics from the Neolithic period to the 21st Century. The sweeping exhibition, which unfolds chronologically, includes more than 190 objects and is divided into three sections: pottery, stoneware, and porcelain. Many works — part of the Lowe's 1115-piece Chinese ceramic collection — are making their public debut in the show, which has been in the planning stages since 1975. It includes seminal examples from the Song (960-1279) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties and conveys the evolution of the ceramic art form in China, effectively addressing the development of the clay body, stylistic differences, and decorative elements such as the use of paint, incising, carving, appliqué, and glaze. — Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through September 2. Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables; 305-284-3535,

Essential Collection: In 1992 Bosnian artist Sadko Hadzihasanovic and his Orthodox Serbian wife stowed away on a cargo plane to flee Sarajevo and the specter of genocide. Since relocating to Canada in 1993, the artist has mined themes of displacement and civil strife in his work, tempering these with his experiences in a new country where he often finds escapism the popular pastime. With wry political satire, his paintings on vintage wallpaper skewer historical art figures, pop culture, and home and hearth. Massacre at Chios is a nod to Delacroix's classical painting commemorating the Turkish bloodbath that resulted in the deaths of more than 40,000 Greeks in 1822, and depicts a handful of barely rendered turbaned waifs upon a background of scarlet and gold wallpaper festooned with farmers harvesting hay. Other works feature youngsters at play waving AK-47s overhead, or starving artists feasting on Big Macs. In Super Self-Portrait as a Little Boy with David Letterman, the artist renders himself as a wee tyke sporting striped skivvies and smirking at the spectator from against sallow Eisenhower-era wallpaper covered in blue posies and rows of Letterman's leering gob. There is a sense of absence fighting to shine through in Hi My Name Is Van Gogh, I Like to Shave. In it the loosely modeled figure of a boy holds a razor aloft in his hand as he grins through a lathered face, appearing somewhat like Beaver Cleaver in the midst of a prank. These works are as loaded with biting irony as they are pitched with echoes of loss. — Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through July 12. Kunsthaus Miami Contemporary Art Space, 3312 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-438-1333,

New Paintings: In Victor Payares's paintings, abstract and figurative elements collide in whimsical, almost hallucinatory ways. Mangled cartoon trees, flaming boxcars, scooters, and pickup trucks pinwheel across a blazing sunflower yellow field. A spaceship and a skier bubble up in acid green and hot Pepto-Bismol pink swirls. Helicopter gunships battle in a fog inside a room of an old house. A piano made of bricks explodes while a family bleeds on the floor. The people, creatures, and machines in his large-scale canvases seem to defy gravity, or appear on the verge of hurtling off the world's edge. Black Cloud, the largest work in the show and nearly the size of a garage door, is awash in tarry black paint, suggesting deep space in which cotton candy nebulas shoot lightning bolts and a toy robot hitches a ride atop a car crumpled like a beer can. The artist's paintings vibrate with energy and narrative possibility, reflecting a remarkably inventive mind and a world where the laws of physics are twisted beyond belief. Even more impressive is the fact that the artist is only 21 years old, and half of the works on exhibit were snapped up by collectors during his solo debut. — Carlos Suarez De Jesus Through July 12. Lyle O. Reitzel Gallery, 2441 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-573-1333,

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Carlos Suarez De Jesus