As the season winds down and the soaring temperatures threaten to crisp Wynwood's asphalt during this weekend's Second Saturday Art Walk, it seems local galleries are opting to crank up their thermometers with searing shows. Exhibits include a rabid Green Bay Packers fan protesting the government in Milwaukee's frosty climes at our city's smallest gallery and even a tribute to Kurt Schwitters, the granddaddy of installation art.
Buzz-seeking culture vultures can also expect avian attacks, Miami's glitzy Latin flavor, and uncanny word play. Keep your peepers peeled for all of these shows beginning at 6 p.m. in Wynwood (between 22 and 29 streets along NW Second Ave.) and in the Design District (roughly 35 to 41 streets between NE Second and N. Miami avenues). Enjoy the surprising number of new openings unusual for this time of year. Here are our picks:
Universal Melancholy and Super 8: Don't miss this pair of pitch-perfect shows evoking an atmospheric vision of social and political dissonance. The first features an arresting suite of portraits by Swiss shutterbug Liliane Eberle during recent visits to Tunisia, Morocco, Bali, Cuba, and Cameroon.The second, spooled in Dot's upstairs Project Room, boasts rare political art films helmed by Venezuela's Julio Neri that capture the turbulent unrest in his country and throughout Latin America during the late '70s. Dot Fiftyone Gallery, 51 NW 36th St., Miami. Call 305-573-9994 or visit dotfiftyone.com.
Merzbau to Now: This group show pays homage to the work of Kurt Schwitters who was involved with movements such as Dada and Constructivism but who is arguably best known for inventing the concept of the installation. Between 1923 and 1943, he created an architectural assemblage by plastering nearly the entire interior of his house in Hanover, Germany, with protruding, angled surfaces until it almost appeared like a cave full of wooden stalactites and stalagmites. Known as the Merzbau, his crowning opus was bombed and destroyed in 1943 during World War II but remains one of the iconic works of the early 20th Century and continues to influence artists today. At Snitzer, artists unveil works nodding to Schwitters's enduring legacy, while also reflecting the multidimensional art practices the German experimental artist explored. Fredric Snitzer Gallery, 2247 NW First Pl., Miami. Call 305-448-8976 or visit snitzer.com.
Uprooted/Transmigrations: This is a group show organized by Abelardo Mena, curator of international art at Havana's Museo de Bellas Artes, examining migration themes in the Americas. It focuses on the diaspora as one of the processes that integrate the cultural identity of American nations at a time when most countries are celebrating bicentennials of their republics, which rebelled against colonial domination. The show culls work from Pan American's holdings and is complemented by pieces specifically created for the exhibit. Pan American Art Projects, 2450 NW Second Ave., Miami. Call 305-573-2400 or visit panamericanart.com.
Noise Field: The hazy spaces where communication evolves or dissolves into nonsense is the subject of this exhibition investigating written, spoken and non-verbal languages in a variety of media. Curated by local writer, Annie Hollingsworth, the compelling group show oscillates between the meaning of words and murky images seeking expression. In her 3.2011 series, local artist Odalis Valdivieso explores the difference between digital and
darkroom photography. Meanwhile Brooklyn-based Kylin O'Brien's Monster Projects interprets childrens' conceptions of monsters and guardians. Dorsch Gallery 141 NW 24th St., Miami. Call 305 576-1278 or visit dorschgallery.com.
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Where Do Birds Go Off to Die: Taro Hattori conjures a vision of a post-apocalyptic world where menacing clouds of birds blot out the sunlight and the darkened landscape is scattered with the skeletal armatures of man's fallen flying machines. The artist's solo show features a sprawling installation of Hattori's trademark cardboard zeppelin-shaped objects, photography, video and text and light-based works, suggesting the moment when civilization fades and avian culture asserts itself atop of the pyramid in the natural order. Black Square Gallery, 2248 NW 1st Pl., Miami. Call 305-424-5002 or visit blacksquaregallery.com
Winter Collection 2011: Protester 1: The brain trust behind Miami's smallest "alt gallery" has invited Los Angeles-based artist Nate Page to bring his explorations of the American psyche and the schism between the public and domestic self to their 108-square-foot Design District window space. Page is exhibiting a chilly, ice-tray-size installation in which a lone mook, who happens to be a Green Bay Packers fan, rails against political injustice in front of the snow-spackled capitol in Madison, Wisconsin. More Funner Projects, 180 NE 39th St., First-Floor Lobby, Miami. Call 786-512-4130 or contact morefunnerprojects2gmail.com.
Mayami Son Machin: This group show, organized by Guatemala City's Proyectos Ultravioleta, explores stereotypes associated with Latin American identity refracted through the prism of the glitz and glam of the Magic City. The provocative exhibit takes its name from Latin pop diva Gloria Estefan's backup band that gained notoriety during the '70s. It riffs on our city's exoticism, notions of over inflated machismo and stereotypical, caricature-like concepts of female identity. Gallery Diet, 174 NW 23rd St., Miami. Call 305-571-2288 or visit gallerydiet.com.