Through August 31 at Edge Zones, 47 NE 25th St., Miami; 305-576-4001; edgezones.org. Open Wednesday through Saturday noon to 3 p.m. or by appointment.
Hector Madera's stark collages on view at Edge Zones offer a discordant commentary on many artists' unease with the brutal economy. His Recession Series, featuring works titled Unhappiness makes us creative and The American dream might be a nightmare, is cobbled from old bills and masking tape; the titles are scrawled boldly as strident protests. The Puerto Rican artist's largest work on display stitches together his car rental receipts, bank statements, hospital bills, sundry sales slips, and assorted announcements for gallery shows. It suggests that in the absence of a budget for canvas, Madera has chosen to use the contents of his mailbox to vent his creative angst. The works are part of "Painting," a group show at the Wynwood nonprofit in which some of the participants approach the medium in nontraditional ways. Smartly curated, the show offers a mixed bag of styles through the work of Kyle Barnette, David Brieske, Paloma Ferreyros, Daniel Fiorda, Robert Huff, François Ilnseher, Jay Oré, Mark Osterman, Raul Perdomo, and Claudia Scalise.
Palley Pavilion for Contemporary Glass and Studio Arts
Ongoing at the Lowe Art Museum, 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables; 305-284-3535; lowemuseum.org. Open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m.
Public funding for local culture might be sinking, but philanthropists Myrna and Sheldon Palley are throwing a lifeline. Last year, the couple donated nearly half of their vast glass art collection to the Lowe, along with a $1.7 million gift for the construction of a new wing to house the work. "They are amazingly generous," says William Carlson, an internationally renowned glass artist and UM art faculty member. "At a time when government grants are dwindling and even collectors are hesitant to buy art, the Palleys have plunged headlong in supporting both the university and the community." The Palleys, who have collected glass for more than 30 years, gave the Lowe more than 150 pieces by 53 artists. Their gift is valued in excess of $3.5 million and is considered one of the nation's finest collections of studio glass. When the Palley Pavilion opened in May 2008, it marked the first expansion of the Lowe in more than a decade. The Palleys' comprehensive collection at the museum includes works by Howard Ben Tré, José Chardiet, Dale Chihuly, Dan Dailey, Michael Glancy, Harvey Littleton, Stephen Weinberg, Stanislav Labinsky, and Lino Tagliapietra, among others.
Nela Ochoa: Genetic Portraits
Through August 27 at the Frost Art Museum, 10975 SW 17th St., Miami; 305-348-2890; frostartmuseum.org. Open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
"Nela Ochoa: Genetic Portraits" features an intriguing collection of complex pieces referencing the genetic code of human and plant life. The Venezuelan artist's work embraces the intersection of art and science in bold, imaginative ways, creating provocative installations and sculptures that unravel the mysteries of DNA. Outside the museum, one of her sprawling, serpentine sculptures resembles a giant centipede squirming across the lawn. Buccaneer Helix alludes to the DNA of an endangered species of a Florida palm tree. It was crafted from 868 sawed-off plastic baseball bats that stretch more than 50 feet across the ground. The stubby bats have been encased like sausages in hot pink, turquoise, cobalt, and black Lycra skins. Each of the corresponding colors symbolizes one of the nucleotides in the sequence of the palm's DNA structure. For her intriguing pieces, Ochoa typically selects four colors, evoking the four nucleotides, A, C, G, and T — adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine — in the DNA molecule. Genes, which determine heredity information, are made up of specific sequences of nucleotides.
Through the Lens: Photography from the Permanent Collection
Arnold Newman: Photographic Legacy
Through October 4 at the Lowe Art Museum, 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables; 305-284-3535; lowemuseum.org. Open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday noon to 4 p.m.
A new exhibit at the Lowe features a rare image of the Taj Mahal photographed in 1855 by John Murray. The physician produced the 19th Century's finest visual record of historic sites around Agra. Murray's picture is part of "Through the Lens: Photography from the Permanent Collection," displaying 100 photos from more than a thousand of the Lowe's photographic holdings. The stunning collection spans the development of the art form from its earliest inception in the mid-1800s to the present day. The museum's greatest-hits parade continues in the contemporary section of the exhibit, spinning with works by Vito Acconci, Sol LeWitt, William Wegman, Cindy Sherman, John Baldessari, and Gordon Matta-Clark — among the best-known figures of the late 20th Century. Also on display, in the rear of the museum, is "Arnold Newman: Photographic Legacy." Newman, considered one of the greatest portrait photographers of his age, has created incredible studies of artists such as Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Louise Nevelson, Isamu Noguchi, and Jasper Johns at work. It's an impressive complement to the Lowe's sweeping history-of-photography exhibition.
Through September 25 at ArtSpace/Virginia Miller Galleries, 169 Madeira Ave., Coral Gables; 305-444-4493; virginiamiller.com. Open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday by appointment.
Where most dealers wouldn't dare exhibit the work of masters alongside that of relative unknowns, Virginia Miller welcomes the risk with aplomb in "Joyas Latinoamericanas," a show including paintings by titans Wifredo Lam and José Clemente Orozco smack next to whippersnappers such as Marco Tulio and Sergio Garval. The exhibit features artworks by more than a dozen Latin American artists, spanning nearly 80 years. Miller says that because of the recession, private owners are offloading long-cherished works, in some cases masterpieces, offering the general public a chance to see art previously off-limits. Among the highlights is a 1930 oil-on-canvas titled Dama Sofisticada (Sophisticated Dame), created with rough, slashing strokes by the late Mexican muralist Orozco. Also on view is a handful of Lam paintings, including an unusual early gouache-on-cardboard from 1942.
NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith
Through September 13 at the Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-375-3000; miamiartmuseum.org. Open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
"NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith" is freighted with the religious beliefs of those who have migrated here. The sprawling show corrals 50 works by 33 artists in an arresting variety of media ranging from sculpture to photography, assemblage, video, and performance. The exhibition was inspired by the African-American writer Ishmael Reed's Neo-HooDoo Manifesto, which explores the role of spirituality outside organized religion. Adding some wit and humor to the mix is Brian Jungen, who has stacked golf bags floor to ceiling to create two colossal columns reminiscent of totem poles. He does so as a critique of the commodification of native imagery. In his Beer Cooler, Jungen — who is of mixed European and Native American ancestry — carved skulls, flames, an eagle, and a dreamcatcher into the sides of a plastic cooler. By placing beer cans in the cooler and the cooler in a museum, Jungen has stated he is "giving alcohol back to the Europeans." "NeoHooDoo" includes a mind-jarring range of depictions of spirituality that will bring visitors back again and again to plumb its enigmatic depths.
Through September 13 at MoCA, 770 NE 125th St., North Miami; 305-893-6211; mocanomi.org. Open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday 1 to 9 p.m.; and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
"Convention" is an ingenious group show at MoCA that includes a series of workshops, video projects, installations, and performances. The exhibition — designed by MoCA's assistant curator, Ruba Katrib — explores the effects and roles of conventions, festivals, and other social and professional gatherings on our community. "'Convention' examines forms of gathering in our society," Katrib says. "Every artist in the exhibition is examining this phenomenon from a different perspective." She adds that the museum is "acting as a launching pad for several of the artists by creating an opportunity for them to experiment." The majority of works on display were created for the exhibition, which seeks to engage the community while challenging the format of a traditional museum show. There's lots of international and local talent, including Julieta Aranda, Fia Backström, Xavier Cha, Anne Daems and Kenneth Andrew Mroczek, Jim Drain, Fritz Haeg, Corey McCorkle, Gean Moreno, My Barbarian, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Sean Raspet, Bert Rodriguez, and Superflex and Jens Haaning.
Because I Say So
Through September 6 at the Frost Art Museum, 10975 SW 17th St., Miami; 305-348-2890; thefrost.fiu.edu. Open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
"Because I Say So" features selections from the collection of Debra and Dennis Scholl that challenge the notion of what art is. The works on display are remarkable not only for the range of materials — which include twigs, strips of fabric, hairpins, and even LPs — but also for tiptoeing around the tradition of sculpture while subverting it in arresting ways. The Scholls, who are major collectors, have offered the Frost often-unseen sculptures and installations from their impressive contemporary art trove. The couple's plucky eye for talent is on display even before visitors enter the gorgeous second-floor gallery, where the Scholls' quirky treasures are amassed.