Asian Art from the Bass Museum Collection and Treasures from the Bass Museum of Art: With a bushel of blue-ribbon shows, the Bass has embarked on perhaps its busiest programming season. Deciding on which shows to see among the museum's expansive menu might be as slippery as handling a hog in a greased-pig contest. But that is bell-clanging news. The Bass is featuring everything from Renaissance altarpieces to embroidered silk robes from the Chinese Imperial court and, like a country fair, boasting something for everyone. Carlos Suarez De Jesus Ongoing. Bass Museum of Art, 2121 Park Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7530, www.bassmuseum.org.
I'm So Much Better than You: Magnus Sigurdarson's installation features four tons of Miami New Times papers interlocked like bricks to form a curving hip-high wall. It houses a DVD player and monitor where the artist is seen performing a puppet show in Xiamen, China. Sigurdarson, who was born in Iceland, filmed the performance during a three-month residency there last autumn. Ironically Sigurdarson's installation at Javogue's space, with its imposing mass and volume, evokes a sense of the wall erected to separate China from the rest of the world. The work shares a relevancy with plans for a wall cutting off the United States from its neighbors to the south. Carlos Suarez De Jesus Ongoing; by appointment only. Emmanuel Javogue Fine Arts, 123 NW 23rd St., Miami; 305-573-3904, www.ejfa.net.
Karel Appel: In Memoriam: Nothing like kicking the bucket to make others appreciate a person and this is doubly true for artists. In May the death of the Dutch abstract expressionist who helped found an art movement known as CoBrA (an acronym for the initial letters of the founders' cities of origin: Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam) inspired "Karel Appel: In Memoriam." As far as memorials go, this is an intimate one, composed of just eleven works from the museum's permanent collection. Despite its size, the exhibit not only honors the artist but also provides examples of his work in a variety of media. Though his work may be labeled abstract, it is not strictly so. Even in the pieces that come the closest to being nonrepresentational, there is at least the hint of object. With vivid colors applied in thick swipes and swirls, one untitled, undated oil painting (which is more nonspecific than abstract) might be construed as a portrait: Dark blue splotches suggest eyes; the rectangle at the bottom could be a mouth. Most works are abstract in the art term's original meaning the reduction of the subject to a simplified form. The works exhibited have a childlike quality in their simplicity, expressiveness, and playfulness. Marya Summers Through May 1. Museum of Art|Fort Lauderdale, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-525-5500, www.moafl.org.