Art Capsules

Excavating Egypt: Great Discoveries from the Petrie Museum

Through November 2. Lowe Art Museum, 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables; 305-284-3535, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday noon to 7 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

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. 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. 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, Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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.

Collapsing Inwards

Through November 11. Kevin Bruk Gallery, 2249 NW First Pl., Miami; 305-576-2000, Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday noon to 6 p.m.

Christian Curiel's paintings, drawings, and sculptures in "Collapsing Inwards" bring to mind the creepy old drive-in movie monster from The Blob. The youngsters in his work interact with a Pepto-Bismol-pink bloblike presence, hinting at unspoken adolescent conflicts. The slick, bright surfaces of the painted scenes belie their quixotic imagery, allowing them to worm deeply into the viewer's skull. Rather than implying a narrative, Curiel's moody passages seem disparate, vaguely connected by a fuzzy, self-reflective trawl of memories or cryptic fragments of childhood. The results are riveting in an oddly discomfiting way. The Procession, a large oil-on-canvas piece, depicts a group of boys on a frozen pond carrying a Kraken-like mass of entrails as several girls shimmy in a conga line in the background. The enigmatic nuance of Curiel's figures and his beguiling mix of curiosity, innocence, and aching exude an unmistakable sense of loss.

The Undoing

Through November 15. Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, 194 NW 30th St., Miami; 305-573-2130, Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Daniel Arsham makes you feel like you're crossing the threshold into an Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole, where elements of architecture and nature collide in a fractured utopian landscape. His immaculate gouache-on-Mylar drawings depict lush tropical settings where marble slabs, rods, and beams erupt from the earth and hurl themselves toward the horizon beyond the trees. The drawings vibrate with an eerie twilight glow that adds a chimerical quality to the scenes and suggests with subtle aplomb the collapse of civilization. One way Arsham connects with the viewer is by adroitly tinkering with the gallery walls. He has also niftily freed nature from his drawings, bringing creeping vines into the space with what appear to be marks from a blowtorch. Don't miss Corner Knot, almost imperceptibly tucked away in a corner near the exit. Arsham has cunningly created the illusion of a harmonious order between man and nature by pulling opposing gallery walls together and gift-wrapping the contents in a giant jarring bow.


Through November 15. Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, 194 NW 30th St., Miami; 305-573-2130, Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturated" marks the first solo show since 2002 for the graffiti rat turned artist and designer. It features nearly a dozen boldly colored acrylic-on-canvas works depicting Kaws's wacky interpretations of the SpongeBob SquarePants and Smurfs cartoons. KawsBob 1 is a large acrylic-on-canvas painting portraying the familiar yellow sponge dork holding a finger under his nose as he is about to sneeze. Kaws's version of the pockmarked character includes bony protuberances on either side of his head and crossed-out eyes, both typical of the artist's work. After viewing the repeated SpongeBob and Smurf imagery, spectators might fail to savor a sense of originality or irony in Kaws's work. But others would counter that Kaws is a legit pop phenom worthy of Roy Lichtenstein's mantle or that he's a talented oracle able to assimilate and regurgitate mass culture with a vision uniquely his own.

Clarence John Laughlin: Poet Photographer

Through November 21. Center for Visual Communication, 541 NW 27th St., Miami; 305-571-1415, Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday noon to 5 p.m.

Ghosts of a bygone era rise from the Big Easy in the haunting works of iconoclastic photographer Clarence John Laughlin, who is often recognized as the first American surrealist. "Clarence John Laughlin: Poet Photographer" marks the first major exhibit of the American master's work in more than 15 years and includes more than 60 of the artist's seminal images spanning the major themes of his career. Laughlin (1905-1985) was perhaps best known for his documentation of Louisiana plantations and for the astounding 17,000 negatives he produced. Some of the images that perhaps best embody his artistic vision can be found in Poems of the Interior World, a series comprising 284 images taken over a decade's time. Not surprisingly, many of the searing images still pack a potent relevance. This thought-provoking show does more than offer an engaging look at the works, words, and life of an artist rarely on view. The ghosts Laughlin still conjures might well transport viewers to a unique, entirely otherworldly realm.

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