As part of our Guide to the Arts, which published in PRIME Magazine on Oct. 1, South Florida Sun Sentinel entertainment writer Phillip Valys gave his “Critic’s Picks” for best visual arts exhibits coming up in South Florida.
‘Pablo Picasso: Dust You Are, To Dust You Return’
Through Feb. 4, 2024; NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd. 954-525-5500 or NSUArtMuseum.org.
Picasso’s late-career dalliance with pottery began at the ripe age of 65, when he decamped to the south of France to escape the pressures of Parisian life. That’s where he paid visits to the Madoura ceramic workshop in the coastal commune of Vallauris, which had fallen on hard times after being a ceramics-producing hub since the Roman Empire. There, with permission from factory owners Suzanne and Georges Ramie, Picasso manipulated clay into vessels, bowls and plaques that take the shapes of birds, owls (yes, Picasso owned a pet owl) and mythological creatures such as minotaurs. His signature Cubist style is there in the red earthenware, such as 1964’s “Fluffy-Haired Woman,” a plaque daubed with black engobe depicting a large-nosed woman. If Picasso’s pottery pieces sound familiar, it’s because the NSU Art Museum last displayed them in 2015 (they were a 1991 gift from the late Miami Beach hotelier Bernie Bercuson). Now the museum is featuring them again for the 50th anniversary of Picasso’s death.
‘Nam June Paik: The Miami Years’
Oct. 4, 2023-Aug. 16, 2024; The Bass Museum of Art, 2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. 305-673-7530 or TheBass.org.
In the PBS American Masters documentary “Nam June Paik: Moon Is the Oldest TV,” the late Korean-American artist is seen making a bold prediction that sounds ripped from Andy Warhol’s playbook: In the future, “everybody will have his own TV channel.” A digital Nostradamus who foresaw the internet age with stunning clarity, Paik (1932-2006) preferred talking to televisions instead of sitting passively in front of them. The video pioneer’s “TV Buddha” installation from 1974 depicts the Buddha watching himself on TV. And his experiments with early synthesizers, magnets and pedals let visitors manipulate images on screens to psychedelic effect. Of course, his works about the collision of modern life with technology brought him to Miami: During the ‘90s, anyone arriving at Miami International Airport spotted two striking Paik installations, both infused with sly humor. “WING,” in the Concourse B lobby, showed 100 TV monitors assembled in a biplane-shaped neon frame, propeller included. Meanwhile “MIAMI,” near the Customs area in the Concourse E lobby, had 74 monitors arranged to spell out the city’s name. The TVs played visions of flamingos, traffic jams and bathers at the beach. Both are on display — along with many other works — at The Bass’ new retrospective, which dives deeper into his South Florida connections.
South Florida Cultural Consortium 2023
Oct. 14, 2023-Jan. 21, 2024; Art and Culture Center/Hollywood, 1650 Harrison St., Hollywood. 954-921-3274 or ArtandCultureCenter.org.
OK, we admit that South Florida Cultural Consortium is a dense tongue-twister to say out loud, but you should know this annual contest is a serious deal, saluting some of the strongest tastemakers in local art. To win, consortium winners had to compete against artists in Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties for the prize, either a $7,500 or $15,000 stipend to fund artist materials, travel and studio space. They also endured a juried process from eight different local, state and federal arts organizations, from the Broward County Cultural Division to the National Endowment for the Arts. This crafty contingent of art folks will present the works they submitted during a themed group exhibition of video, drawings, collages, paintings and photography. They include Broward’s Lou Anne Colodny, a multimedia artist who creates ethereal, unsettling photo montages and videos about fear, mystery and identity in South Florida; Miami performance artist Misael Soto, who makes public art about things we do when we’re alone (once, he cracked open beers and watched TV on a Wynwood sidewalk, inviting passersby to join him); and Palm Beach’s Molly Aubry, whose oddball geometric steel sculptures are currently on display around West Palm Beach’s hip Northwood Village.
‘Smoke and Mirrors: Magical Thinking in Contemporary Art’
Nov. 15, 2023-Apr. 14, 2024; Boca Raton Museum of Art, 501 Plaza Real. 561-392-2500 or BocaMuseum.org.
Call them conspiracy theories, alternative facts or disinformation, but the theme of curator Kathy Goncharov’s new group exhibit is the almighty lie. And there was arguably no man more adept at exposing flimflammers, tricksters, hoodwinkers and charlatans than this late Plantation resident, the Amazing Randi. Out of the 70 years the Canadian-born James Randi was a professional magician, he spent 40 of them as a skeptical crusader, relentlessly debunking faith healers, spoon-bending mentalists and psychics. When Randi wasn’t freeing himself from a straitjacket over Niagara Falls, appearing on “The Tonight Show” — he was a guest of Johnny Carson 32 times — or winning a MacArthur Foundation genius grant, Randi was on the warpath against mystics who claimed they could channel 1,000-year-old deities. (He even married one of them.) Randi is the inspiration behind Goncharov’s show, which features artists inspired by stage magic and creators of modern deep fakes. The centerpiece of the show is a commissioned installation by Tony Oursler paired with other works about noteworthy hoaxes throughout world history.
‘Gary Simmons: Public Enemy’
Opens Dec. 5, 2023; Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd. 305-375-3000 or PAMM.org.
The ghosts of race, class, identity and trauma — real and metaphorical — are wrapped up in this sweeping survey of 70 pop culture-themed works spanning 30 years by the New York City artist. There are actual haunted houses in one drawing — the homes featured in horror films “Psycho and “The Amityville Horror.” But you feel the specters of race, celebrity and imprisonment in “Lineup,” a row of gold-painted, high-top basketball kicks with no one in them against a police backdrop. “Polaroid Backdrops” is a banner collage of album covers where he name-checks ’80s and ’90s rappers Dr. Dre, Kool G Rap and Public Enemy. “Recapturing Memories of the Black Ark,” meanwhile, is a display of speakers built from wood he found in New Orleans’ Tremé neighborhood right after Hurricane Katrina.