Miami art this week: DNA cloning at the Frost


Through January 2 at the Frost Art Museum, 10975 SW 17th St., Miami; 305-348-2890; Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

Just like Richard Attenborough's character in Jurassic Park, Xavier Cortada is toying with DNA deposits as part of his work. But there is nothing primal to shriek about in "Sequentia," his weirdly clinical solo show at the Frost Art Museum, where he plans to create a live DNA strand in a petri dish with the public's aid. The exhibit features four large canvases depicting portraits of Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine, and Thymine. They are the nucleotides that compose the four bases of the DNA strand. Part of the modest science-project-like display includes a station with postcard reproductions of his abstract renditions of the nucleotides. Visitors can randomly select one, leaving their thumbprint and DNA on the card. As strangers add their DNA to Cortada's random sequence of cards, microbiologists will clone the collected specimens in a lab as part of the show.

"The International Cell Phone Photo Show"

Through November 4 at Artspace MAGQ, 7847 SW 134th St., Pinecrest; 305-282-9154;; Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The tawdry image of a frumpy, nude housewife posing next to a dildo on view at a South Dade gallery could easily have been titled "Is That a Cell Phone in Your Pocket or Are You Just Happy to See Me?" The photograph is one of more than 200 pictures on display in "The International Cell Phone Photo Show" at Artspace MAGQ in Pinecrest, where more than 50 artists from the United States, Italy, Poland, England, Brazil, Denmark, and the Netherlands submitted work to the juried exhibit. The show was organized and curated by partners Gerardo Quevedo and Mike Arnspiger, both artists themselves, who own the gallery. The images they received during their Internet call for submissions range from closeups of breakfast cereal to oil stains on concrete to architectural details to road kill. Those who made the cut have been grouped into nine distinct grids hung in the gallery. They are arranged into collage-like collections of landscapes, portraits, abstracts, street scenes, urban graffiti, gussied-up pets, a striking series of shadows, and architectural details.

"Past Is History — Future Is Mystery"

Through November 6 at the Freedom Tower, 600 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-237-7700; [email protected]. Tuesday through Friday noon to 5 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The horrors of war, totalitarian governments, and political dissent are the minefield of expression in this multimedia exhibit where more than a dozen artists tackle repressive regimes through imagery aspiring to a subversive wallop. Cuban artist Antuan Riguez's installation, Left, Right, features rows of heavy red punching bags hanging from the gallery's rafters; plastered across the bags are the leering mugs of democratically elected world leaders, tyrants, terrorists, and dictators. Alejandro Mendoza's installation depicts a life-size sculpted wooden monkey perched on a soaring ladder. The primate dangles from a leafless tree branch next to a gray, bed-sheet-size Cuban flag. Both artists' works are among the most powerful on display in the tightly curated if somewhat regional show that also includes works by Pablo Trejo, Juan-Si González, Maritza Molina, Ramon Williams, Cesar Beltran, Mariano Costa-Peuser, Nelson Garrido, and others.

Egyptian Gallery

Ongoing at the Bass Museum of Art, 2121 Park Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7530; Wednesday through Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

When the ancient working stiff was preparing for his journey into the afterlife, little did he know he would spend decades gathering dust in a musty Wynwood warehouse. But that's exactly where the Egyptian craftsman dating back to the 25th or 26th Dynasty (808-518 B.C.) was found inside a polychrome wood inner sarcophagus. The liberated mummy is on view as part of the newly inaugurated Egyptian Gallery at the Bass, which also features a modest collection of rare artifacts in the permanent display that marks the only space of its kind in Florida. The exhibit also showcases the Bass mummy's outer sarcophagus, a child's sarcophagus, and several stellar examples of Egyptian statuary, canopic jars, stela fragments, and pottery. Unfortunately, some bling-craving pharaohphiles or Tut freaks might leave the Bass feeling a bit E-gypped after experiencing the modest exhibit. Don't expect sensational gold-covered coffins or regal masks of the ancient kings and queens of Egypt. Instead, these are the types of artifacts that continue inspiring the inner Indiana Jones or armchair archaeologist in most of us and have always fueled curiosity about an enigmatic lost culture. It's well worth a visit.