By Michael Mills
With more museums and galleries than the rest of South Florida combined, Miami-Dade County still hogs the region’s cultural conversation. And that’s not even counting the multilingual chatter Art Basel generates once a year.
Museums splinter and evolve, galleries come and go, sometimes the talk turns contentious, as it should in a living and breathing art world. Here are some of the players participating in this season’s ongoing dialogue:
Art Basel Miami Beach: Regardless of whether you think Art Basel Miami Beach is the end-all and be-all of South Florida art, or you dismiss it all as so much smoke and mirrors, there’s no denying that the annual event, now in its 14th year, has boosted the region’s art profile nationally and internationally. This year it runs Dec. 3-6.
If you know the right people, you might be able to snag an invitation to the private viewings at the beginning of the show; otherwise you can join the hoi polloi for the public days. More than 70,000 visitors are expected to check out the wares of 267 galleries from North and Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Art Basel Miami Beach is at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Drive. Hours are 3 to 8 p.m. Dec. 3, noon to 8 p.m. Dec.4 and 5, noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 6. Regular one-day tickets are $47, $30 for students and seniors, or pay $100 for all four days; free admission for ages 16 and under accompanied by an adult. Visit ArtBasel.com/Miami-Beach.
David Castillo Gallery, Miami Beach: Now open a decade, the David Castillo Gallery is one of South Florida’s top commercial galleries. On Sept. 18 it opened Its Last Move, a solo show by Robert Melee featuring painting, sculpture, photography, and mixed-media installations. The show runs through Oct. 31.
The gallery is at 420 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 8 p.m., and by appointment. Admission is free. Call 305-573-8110 or visit DavidCastilloGallery.com.
Frost Art Museum: Since its opening in 1977, the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum has grown from a gallery of less than 3,000 square feet to the 46,000-square-foot facility that opened in 2008. Like the Wolfsonian on Miami Beach, the museum is part of Florida International University.
Carlos Estevez: Celestial Traveler opened on Sept. 12 and will be on display through Jan. 3. The show takes its name from one of its works, an ornate kite.
New paintings by Jim Couper, the museum’s founding director and a professor emeritus, make up There Are No Other Everglades in the World, which focuses strictly on nature – no people. It opened Sept. 12 and goes through Nov. 1.
Rufina Santana: Cartographies of Water (Sept. 12-Dec. 13) presents works by the Spanish painter, who’s from the Canary Islands, inspired by nature, water, and memory, interpreted as abstract waterscapes.
From Oct. 10 to Jan. 3, the museum will present Walls of Color: The Murals of Hans Hofmann, the first exhibition to focus on the influential New York School painter and teacher’s murals and related drawings and mosaics.
The artists of Weird, Wild and Wonderful: The Second New York Botanical Garden Triennial Exhibition (Oct. 10-Jan. 3) departs from tradition to present strange rather than conventionally beautiful plants as subject matter for art. The show includes works in watercolor, oil, colored pencil, tempera, graphite, gouache, acrylic, aquatint etching, and pen and ink.
Carola Bravo: Blurred Borders, running from Nov. 21 to Feb. 21, features video by an artist known for her immersive site-specific installations.
In Ramón Espantaleón: The Temptation, the artist employs his own variety of pointillism to explore ideas about the origins of the world. Run dates are Nov. 21 through Jan. 10.
Ubiquitous video games are the focus of Smithsonian American Art Museum: Art of Video Games, which looks at the games through the lenses of multiple media. Runs Jan. 23 to April 17.
First Folio: The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare (Feb. 1-28) is a celebration of the book that collected 36 of Shakespeare’s plays seven years after the writer’s death in 1616. The show commemorates the 400th anniversary of that event.
The Frost Art Museum is on the Modesto Maidique Campus of Florida International University, 10975 S.W. 17th St., Miami. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun., noon to 5 p.m.; closed Mon. Admission is free. Call 305-348-2890 or visit TheFrost.FIU.edu.
Institute of Contemporary Art: From its temporary space in the historic Moore Building in the Design District, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA), awaits construction of its new 37,500-square-foot home.
Meanwhile, the show must go on. From Oct. 8 to Jan. 17, ICA will present Shannon Ebner: A Public Character featuring the photographer’s Miami-inspired work.
Alex Bag: The Van (Redux) will focus on the video and performance artist’s work critiquing the worlds of advertising, fashion, television, and art. The title video will be presented in the original customized Dodge van where it was originally performed and recorded.
From Feb. 18 to June 5, ICA will present John Miller, the first comprehensive survey of work by the American artist, critic, and musician. More than 75 works are featured, in a range of media including painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, and video.
ICA is in the Moore Building at 4040 N.E. Second Ave., Miami. Hours are Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; closed Mon. Admission is free. Call 305-5272 or visit ICAMiami.org.
Locust Projects: This nonprofit exhibition space was started in 1998 by a trio of Miami artists who converted a warehouse in the Wynwood neighborhood. The group relocated to the Design District in 2009.
From Nov. 7 through January, the gallery will present Martha Freidman: Pore, featuring the work of the New York-based sculptor and college professor.
Running simultaneously in the Project Room, Beatriz Monteavaro: Art on the Move, featuring the work of the Miami-based artist and curator, who has shown widely in group exhibitions throughout South Florida.
Locust Project is at 3852 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Admission is free. For hours and other information, call 305-576-8570 or visit LocustProjects.org.
Lowe Art Museum: The University of Miami’s Lowe Museum, which dates back to the 1950s, was the first art museum in South Florida. Today its permanent collection numbers 17,000 objects.
From Oct. 23 to Jan. 17, the Lowe will showcase The Portrait Transformed: Drawings & Oil Sketches from Jacques-Louis David to Lucian Freud. The title pretty much sums it up: 151 drawings and oil sketches by artists as varied as Aubrey Beardsley, Adolph Menzel, and Maximilien Luce.
Liliane Tomasko: Mother-Matrix-Matter (Oct. 30-Jan. 31) features an artist known for her focus on the domestic realm. Tomasko trained as a sculptor at London’s Royal Academy of Arts. Her unusual work proves involves starting with soft sculptures made of fabric, which are then photographed, then painted.
The museum is at 1301 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.; closed Monday. Admission is $10 for adults and children 12 and up, $5 for students and seniors; free admission for members, children under 12, U.S. military, and University of Miami students, faculty, and staff. Call 305-284-3535 or visit 6.Miami.edu/Lowe.
The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse: This nonprofit institution occupies a 45,000-square-foot retro-fitted warehouse in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District, where it presents exhibitions drawn from the collection of Martin Z. Margulies, one of the top collections of its kind. Although no specific exhibitions had been announced at press time, the collection is well worth visiting on its own merits.
The Margulies Collection is at 591 N.W. 27th St., Miami. Gallery hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., from late October through late April. Admission is $10 for adults; free admission for State of Florida students. Call 305-576-1051 or visit MarguliesWarehouse.com.
Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami: After its board decamped to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, in 2014, and its influential director, Bonnie Clearwater, headed north to the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, which was founded in 1996, got to keep about 500 pieces from its own collection, with the remaining 200 going to ICA.
Beijing Booster: The Art of Peter Wayne Lewis opened on Sept. 12. Like Jeff Koons, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol before him, the Jamaican-born artist worked on location in China, and here are the results.
The museum’s Project Gallery will feature, running concurrently, Chromatic Aporias, in which artist Rafael Lopez-Ramos uses the Aristotelian concept of aporia (the equality of contrary conclusions) to explore the contemporary soul of Cuba.
The museum is at 770 N.E. 125th St., North Miami. Hours are Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat., 1 to 9 p.m., Sun., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Mon. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors. Call 305-893-6211 or visit Mocanomi.org.
Pérez Art Museum: First came the Center for the fine Arts in 1984, followed by the Miami Art Museum in 1994, which morphed into the Jorge M. Pérez Art Museum of Miami-Dade County in 2013, also known as PAMM. That’s when a 30-acre Bayfront site was purchased after a large infusion of cash from the museum’s namesake beneficiary. It didn’t hurt that Herzog & de Meuron, one of the top architectural firms in the world, was brought in to design the new facility.
The museum opened No Boundaries: Aboriginal Contemporary Abstract Painting on Sept. 17; the show, which features the work of nine Australian artists who began painting later in life, will be up through Jan. 3, after which it will begin an extensive U.S. tour.
From Oct. 15 to March 6, PAMM will offer Firelei Báez: Bloodlines, the Dominican-born, New York-based artist’s series of new works delineating the history of social movements in the U.S. and the Caribbean region. The show includes paintings and drawings.
Carlos Alfonzo: Clay Works and Painted Ceramics (Nov. 5-Apr. 24) gathers works by the late Cuban-born artist who already has two public murals in Miami, one at a Metrorail station and another at FIU.
From Nov. 19 to Feb. 21, the mid-career retrospective Nari Ward: Sun Splashed will feature the Jamaican artist’s mixed-media collages, photography, assemblages, sculptures, videos, and architectural installations.
The Puerto Rican artist Beatriz Santiago Muñoz is the focus of a film and video exhibit running from Jan. 28 to Nov. 13 and focusing on Caribbean themes.
Michele Oka Doner: How I Caught a Swallow in Mid-Air runs from March 24 to Sept. 11 and traces the artist’s career from the 1960s to the present, using functional designs, works on paper, and ceramics inspired by forms found in nature.
From April 22 through July 17, Doris Salcedo includes sculptures and installations that look at civil conflicts in the artist’s native Colombia.
Pérez Art Museum Miami is at 1103 Biscayne Blvd. Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Monday. Admission is $16 for adults, $12 for seniors, students, and children 7 to 18; free admission for members, active U.S. military, and children under 6. Call 305-375-3000 or visit PAMM.org.
Rubell Family Collection: Since 1993, Miami has been home to one of the world’s largest privately owned collections of contemporary art – the Rubell Family Collection, which was established in New York in 1964, shortly after Donald and Mera Rubell got hitched. Now the collection occupies a 45,000-square-foot facility (a former DEA outpost!) and includes such big names as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker, and Andy Warhol. No specific shows had been announced at presstime, but the collection is always worth a visit.
The Rubell Family Collection is at 95 N.W. 29th St., Miami. Guided tours are offered Wednesday and Friday at 3 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students and children under 18. Call 305-573-6090 or visit RFC.museum.
The Wolfsonian: Florida International University’s Miami Beach artistic outpost, the Wolfsonian, is a combination museum, library, and research center with collections totaling some 150,000 objects from 1885 to 1945.
The museum kicks off the fall with Philodendron: From Pan-Latin Exotic to American Modern, a survey of about 150 items — from paintings and sculptures to textiles and furniture — that examine the cross-cultural influences of Latin American plant life on U.S. and European cultures. The show opens Oct. 16 and runs through Feb. 28.
Then, from Nov. 13 through May 8, the Wolfsonian presents Margin of Error, which will feature more than 200 works from the 19th and 20th centuries that look at cultural responses to the catastrophes of the modern age. Included are works by Margaret Bourke-White, Lewis Hine, Man Ray, and many others.
The Wolfsonian is at 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. Museum hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.; closed Wednesday. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, students, and children 6 to 12; free admission for members, children under 6, and State University System of Florida staff and students. Free admission for all on Fri., 6 to 9 p.m. Call 305-531-1001 or visit wolfsonian.org.