By Sandra Schulman
After an unusually hot summer, the cooler temps and invigorating new art season are more than welcome. The art offerings are heavy on photographs and Florida history with glamour shots in the spotlight at the Flagler Museum, and Sunshine State history at the Boca Raton Museum. Former President Bush makes a Florida art show bow with portraits of the military, while Florida natives Purvis Young and Edouard Duval-Carrié get some well-deserved wall space.
Norton Museum of Art: Although the West Palm Beach museum will be closed to complete its transformative expansion project until next year, Norton activities and programs will continue at Grandview Public Market, the new gourmet food hall in the city, with a space called The Living Room that exhibits art and will host a series of talks from the Norton curators with previews of the galleries and exhibitions opening in February 2019.
Talk highlights include: Light and Shadow, from Rubens to Flavin (Oct. 11); Modern and Contemporary Collection and Education Programs (Oct. 17); Traveling Artists, Tropical Landscapes (Nov. 8); American and Photography Collections (Dec. 12); Olafur Eliasson: Envisioning Spectacles (Dec. 13).
When the Norton does reopen Feb. 9, it will be with a spectacular cross-spectrum lineup of art and events. The new entrance has been moved to face Dixie Highway, with the stately 80-year old banyan tree preserved next to a kooky pop art sculpture by Claes Oldenburg of an eraser on a wheel called Typewriter Eraser, Scale X, suspended on a reflecting pool. The fun piece is fitting, as the Norton has erased its old footprint and is unveiling the huge new one (Typewriter Eraser is on display through June 4).
More site-specific new art awaits inside as artist Pae White is constructing a piece for the new Great Hall. Glass artist Rob Wynne, who hand-pours glass into shapes and letters has a new work on the three-story stairway that builds upon a Wynne piece, I Remember Ceramic Castles, Mermaids & Japanese Bridges, he did for the Norton in 2012. Some short films by video artist Gregory Scott will be screening in the new Leonard and Evelyn Lauder Restaurant.
As for exhibits (all of which open Feb. 9), Going Public: Florida Collectors Celebrate the Norton, features 50 top-tier works by artists including Anselm Kiefer, Roy Lichtenstein, Edward Ruscha, Jenny Saville and Kara Walker, all from private South Florida collections. (through June 4)
Good Fortune to All: A Chinese Lantern Festival in 16th-Century Nanjing (through June 4) presents a rarely seen exhibit of six paintings from the late 16th century of the Lantern Festival in China, while Out of the Box: Camera-less Photography, with works by surrealist Man Ray and photographers including Robert Heinecken, Ellen Carey, Walead Beshty and Adam Fuss, explores how “photos” can be made without a camera (through June 16).
The museum’s important RAW (Recognition of Art by Women) series returns with a focus on the young American painter Nina Chanel Abney, whose bold, graphic work creates narratives about race and inequality (through June 25). Meanwhile, the namesake and founder of the museum, Ralph Norton, is remembered in Modern Spontaneity: Ralph Norton’s Watercolors (through May 7), which presents 15 watercolors from Norton’s own collection, including artists such as Winslow Homer and Fernand Léger.
The Norton’s regular Spotlight exhibit this season will be Ralston Crawford: Across Media, featuring two paintings and three photos by the American painter and photographer (through May 14). Finally, the Norton’s new Salzman Gallery, which is devoted to photography, will offer Who?: A Brief History of Photography Through Portraiture, with 60 photos that trace the medium’s history from its emergence in the mid-19th century to contemporary work (through May).[Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach; www.norton.org, 561-832-5196]
Society of the Four Arts: The venerable Palm Beach cultural society, which is something like a small liberal arts college in the breadth of its offerings, presents two major exhibits in its intimate O’Keeffe Gallery each season. Last season featured the paper sculptures of the Belgian designer Isabel de Borchgrave; this year, the Society opens with another show inspired by the materials of the everyday with The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design. Chairs can tell us stories about the people sitting in them and the times they were made in. The 43 chairs pulled up in this exhibit are more than furniture, they have tales of the design, craftsmanship and eras they were created for. (Dec. 8-Jan. 20)
The second Four Arts show is likely to be a major draw. It’s Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors, a collection of 66 portraits and a four-panel mural by former President George W. Bush depicting military men and women who have served since 9/11. Alongside each painting is the story of the person depicted, written by President Bush himself. Bush’s portraits are straightforward and attractive, and their back stories give these pictures poignancy and a sense of uncluttered patriotism. (Feb. 2 to March 31)[Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, www.fourarts.org; 561-655-7226]
Boca Raton Museum of Art: The big museum on Federal Highway at Mizner Park takes up much of its season with an ambitious undertaking to put an artful spotlight solely on the people, places, flora, and fauna of Florida. Imagining Florida: History and Myth in the Sunshine State offers more than 200 artworks of high caliber that show the state through the eyes of artists from its complex, sun-drenched myth and more prosaic reality in works by only-in-Florida creatives such as the loose collection of mid-century African-American landscape artists known as the The Highwaymen and pinup subject and photographer Bunny Yeager. (Nov. 13-March 24)
New York City photographer Daniel Faust found inspiration in the 1980s when he made several trips to Florida, taking thousands of photographs of the kitschy museums and tourist attractions. Daniel Faust: Florida Photos From The 1980s, his unusual solo exhibition, is an installation of 12 mural size sheets of archival photographic paper that squeeze in 658 images. The exhibition includes images taken by his mother, Edith Faust, from 1938, as well as Instamatic snapshots he took on his first visit to Florida with his parents in 1965. (Nov. 13-March 24)
Artist Michael Smith has an alter-ego “Mike,” a sort of Everyman, through whom he lives a double life through with live performances, video, photography, drawings, and installations in museums and happenings worldwide. Smith’s Mike is a bit hapless as he goes about his artful journey at a disco ball, the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park in St. Augustine, and a trip to KidZania, but the result, as seen in Excuse Me!?! I’m Looking for the “Fountain of Youth,” is always an eyeful. (Nov. 13-March 24)[Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton; bocamuseum.org; 561-392-2500.]
Flagler Museum: The Gilded Age will soon be the subject of a new TV series, but if you can’t wait for the premiere, Henry Flagler’s 1902 Whitehall mansion has been an excellent place to get an informal graduate education in the lifestyle and the arts of that complicated era.
The first of the Flagler’s two seasonal art exhibits takes a close look at one of the great photographers of the early 20th century in Star Power: Edward Steichen’s Glamour Photography. This is an exhibition of 74 style-drenched portraits of celebrities and fashion models from the Jazz Age of the 1920s and 30s, such as Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, George Gershwin and even Walt Disney. Steichen (1879-1973) was prolific, influential, and controversial in his role as chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair. The brightest names of literature, journalism, dance, sport, politics, theater, and film were shot in glam trappings of that became the genesis of high-style portraiture. (Oct. 16-Jan. 6).
For the new year, the exhibit will be Maker and Muse: Women and Early 20th-Century Art Jewelry. This exhibit, a touring show from Chicago’s relatively new Richard Driehaus Museum (which, like the Flagler, is an institution that explores the Gilded Age), celebrates women and their contribution to jewelry as makers and as inspiration. More than 200 pieces of jewelry are in the show, made by luminaries such as Louis Comfort Tiffany, René Lalique and Charlotte Newman. The exhibit takes a look at the jewelry as it appeared in two American cities, Chicago and New York, and three European countries: the United Kingdom, France and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. (Jan. 29-May 26)[Flagler Museum, Palm Beach, flaglermuseum.us; 561-665-2833]
Morikami Museum: Like the Flagler, the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens west of Delray Beach is a specialist institution, and over the decades has offered numerous illuminating shows highlighting the visual arts of Japan.
Hard Bodies: Contemporary Japanese Lacquer Sculpture (opened Sept. 29, runs through March 31) gives the ancient craft of lacquer art a new perspective. Artisans in East Asia have always been drawn to the allure of the shiny surface, coating bowls, cups, boxes, and baskets with the sap of Rhus verniciflua, the lacquer tree. Since the late 1980s, a new group of lacquer artists have glossed over the medium and brushed it in entirely new and dynamic directions such as creating large-scale sculptures. Kofushiwaki Tsukasa’s Fallen Moon I is 13 feet long, a scale made possible by the kanshitsu technique, in which a base of lacquer-saturated hemp fiber is created with a mold. Others use polystyrene, a lightweight, flexible material, as demonstrated in Aoki Chie’s Body 09-1. For The Dual Sun, Kurimoto Natsuki used an even more modern base: an automobile hood.
The inventive sculptures of Sayaka Ganz, a Yokohama-born sculptor who now lives in Indiana, take reclaimed plastic objects such as discarded utensils and turn them into objects of upcycled wonder. She describes her style as “3-D impressionism.” Sculptures in the exhibition include recent installations of animals in motion like seagulls that stream in the wind. Sayaka Ganz: Reclaimed Creations runs from Feb. 16 to March 31.[Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach, www.morikami.org; 561-495-0233]
Cultural Council of Palm Beach County: Just take a look at how many cooking channels and star chefs there are these days, and you can draw only one conclusion: Food is hot. In the Cultural Council’s opening exhibit, Play With Your Food!, 21 artists are encouraged to do just that, and create works of art in all media.
Artists included are Bruce Helander, Nicole Newsted (whose husband, Jason, best-known as the bassist of Metallica, had a one-man show at the Council last year), Ray Gross and Manon Sander. “As cultures have crossed paths quickly over last few decades, food has a new relationship, not just in a top chef’s life, but also in the home cook’s,” Nichole Hickey, manager of artist services at the Council, said in a prepared statement. “This exhibition takes that mentality: the seriousness of a high-end commercial photographer (Michelin star status) to the playful hands-on sculptor (the home-schooled baker).”
Accompanying the free exhibit at the Council’s home in a restored movie theater on Lake Avenue in Lake Worth will be a related lecture series; October’s speakers include Marilyn Walter, Gillian Kennedy Wright, Manon Sander and Anita Lovitt. (opened Sept. 14, runs through Nov. 3)
Graffiti as an art form has been a few decades in the making, as it went from being considered vandalism to gradually curated as public murals and then street art. (Maybe even cavemen were considered graffiti artists.) But now whole neighborhoods are defined and even created by their colorful walls. X Marks the Spot spotlights the local Florida artists who are being tapped as the next generation of graffitists. (Nov. 16-Feb. 2)
Right after Valentine’s Day, the Council offers Modern Love, an exhibit examining everyone’s favorite topic through colors, sensations, nature, technology, dance and beyond. (Feb. 15-May 18). The 2019 edition of the Armory Biennial winds up the season with a show juried by Melanie Johanson, curator of Contemporary Art at the Cornell Art Museum. Prizes will be awarded for first, second, third and People’s Choice. (May 31–Aug. 10)
Cultural Council art shows are accompanied by smaller shows devoted to solo exhibitions. Getting the spotlight this year are Dorotha Lemeh and Nelson Babilonia (Nov. 10-Dec. 8); Ben Georgia (Dec. 15-Jan. 12); Dina Baker (Jan. 19-Feb. 16); Philip Butera and Kathryn Carlyle, and Joan Eiley (Feb. 23-March 23); Janet Rogers and Shannon Torrence (March 30-April 27). Also getting a show from May 4 through June 1 will be the winner of this year’s grant from the Dina Baker Fund for Mature Artists.[Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, Lake Worth; PalmBeachCulture.com, 561-471-2901]
Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens: The home of Ann Norton, an artist who also was the wife of the Norton Museum founder, has been offering a wider range of indoor exhibits in recent years at its beautiful site in West Palm Beach.
First up is David Kapp: Crossing the Grid, open now and running through Dec. 9. New Yorker Kapp paints street scenes and contemporary urban landscapes. Like Edward Hopper on speed, his impressionist style captures a certain city bustle, where movement is constant and the light filters between skyscrapers.
The island of Murano in Venice is the world center of decorative glass, and Murano Mosaic: Persistence and Evolution, showcases 20 pieces from the best of the best in styles that show the range and beauty of this sand-and-heat-derived fine art. (Dec. 19-Feb. 3).
Back outside, the gardens will open the new year with the work of American sculptor Gino Miles, whose lyrical abstract steel sculptures are regularly featured in South Florida art shows such as Art Miami and Art Palm Beach. Miles has enjoyed a 40-year career of making large-scale work cites influences such as Brancusi and Moore in his pieces. (Jan. 10-May 12)
Another date to note for the Gardens this year is Dec. 14, when the 97-year-old designer Iris Apfel will be the focus of An Evening with Iris Apfel: Celebrating a Geriatric Starlet. A visionary fashion exotic bird whose oversize glasses and giant jewelry have become her trademark, her work was memorably featured in 2005 at the Costume Institute of New York’s Metropolitan Museum, which staged Rara Avis, a blockbuster exhibition of her clothing and accessories.[Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, West Palm Beach; www.ansg.org, 561-832-5328]
Cornell Art Museum: Not to be confused with the similarly named museum at Rollins College in Winter Park, this Cornell is part of the Old School Square arts complex in Delray Beach and has just been renovated.
Tech Effect, which opened Oct. 5, explores the way that technology has influenced contemporary art. Twelve artists who grapple with this topic will offer tech-influenced work featuring things such as code, augmented reality and interactive touch. (Through Feb. 17)[Cornell Museum at Old School Square, Delray Beach; Oldschoolsquare.org, 561-243-7922]
The Lighthouse Art Center: The gallery and school in Tequesta also has increased the breadth and depth of its exhibitions recently, and its major fall show, Art of the Figure, examines the work of three native Floridians, Sam Perry, Terre Rybovich and Purvis Young.
The three artists translate their individual life experiences using only pencils and paint on paper and canvas, or in the case of Purvis Young, anything he could get his hands on. The most celebrated of these is Young, born in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood. He has become a major figure in the world of outsider art; his work may be found in the collections of the American Folk Art Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the High Museum of Art, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and more. Young painted and drew on the detritus of the day – found wood, discarded cardboard, doors, old utility bills, and printed pages from books.
Perry, who teaches at the Armory Art Center and Palm Beach Atlantic University, paints gently abstract portraits and scenes from urban life, while Rybovich is best-know for her body-imprint works in charcoal, which give her figures an air of mystery and remove. This exhibit was on display at the Capitol in Tallahassee from May through August. (Dec. 3-Jan. 5)[Lighthouse ArtCenter, Tequesta; lighthousearts.org, 561-746-3101]
Armory Art Center: The art school in West Palm Beach often features works by its instructors and students, and on Sept. 8, it opened New and Now, a multimedia exhibition features work by new faculty members who will join the Armory Art Center starting this fall. Exhibitors include the new 2018-2019 artists-in-residence. (Through Oct. 12)
Mankind: What Happened, a solo show by faculty member Mark Cohen, asks viewers to question human-caused disasters and what can be done to fix them. (Nov. 30-Dec. 29). With the new year comes BraveHEARTS, an exhibit of multimedia art by military veterans in residence at the Armory. (Jan. 12-Feb. 1)
Three artists were chosen for the 9-month residency program at the Armory – Derek Decker in ceramics, Nicholas Kakavas in sculpture, and Richard Santiago in painting and drawing. Their residency work will be featured in a show from Feb. 21 to March 9.[Armory Art Center, West Palm Beach; ArmoryArt.org, 561-832-1776]
Florida Atlantic University: Each year the South Florida Cultural Consortium awards twelve $15,000 or $7,500 visual and media arts fellowships, hotly sought after each year by the region’s best visual and media artists. New Art 2018 presents recent work by the 12 winners at the Schmidt Center Gallery on the FAU campus in Boca Raton. The University Galleries will publish a catalog to document the exhibition. Artists include We Are Nice N Easy LLC (aka Alison Matherly and Jeffrey Noble), Eddie Arroyo, Cristine Brache, Leo Castaneda, Rosa Garmendia, Kat Hernandez, Joseriberto Perez; Marielle Plaisir, Samantha Salzinger, Keisha Witherspoon; Rick Newton and Linda Finch. (Opened Sept. 15, runs through Oct. 27)
Edouard Duval-Carrié is having a high-profile season. This internationally significant Miami-based Haitian-born artist creates colorful, socially and politically oriented narrative art that channels his knowledge and fascination with Haitian history, spiritual beliefs and folklore. For Decolonizing Refinement, Duval-Carrié’s art is combined with historical artifacts related to Florida’s agricultural labor history, borrowed from South Florida regional historical collections. A sister exhibition and public programs will be presented concurrently at the S.D. Spady Cultural Heritage Museum in Delray Beach. (Schmidt Center Gallery, Nov. 9-Feb. 2)[Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton; fau.edu, 561-297-3000]
CityPlace: Here’s something fun that is likely to bring big crowds to the West Palm Beach regional retail center. Following a widely acclaimed New York City run, Downton Abbey: The Exhibition makes its second stop in West Palm Beach. The exhibition, presented by NBCUniversal, offers an immersion in Julian Fellowes’s hugely popular TV series about a wealthy Edwardian England estate family facing a world in upheaval. More than 50 of the show’s costumes will be on display, from actors Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville and Maggie Smith, and visitors will be able to walk through the sets of the drama, including the downstairs kitchen, the family dining room and Lady Mary’s bedroom. Also included is exclusive footage and exhibits about British culture at the time. It’s a clever way to stoke the fan base for a beloved show that will now await the forthcoming movie. (Opens Nov. 10; runs through at least New Year’s Day)[CityPlace, 575 S. Rosemary Ave, West Palm Beach]
Art fairs: With two major art fairs now, it only makes the Palm Beach County art scene more rewarding for art lovers.
The Palm Beach Modern and Contemporary Fair gets the jump on the action for a third year in a 65,000-square-foot pavilion conveniently located and nestled between CityPlace and the Palm Beach Convention Center on Okeechobee Boulevard. The owners are the dynamic folks behind Art Miami so the caliber of art and artists is always high. They have a particular soft spot for musician artists as they have previously exhibited Jason Newsted and Elton John’s lyricist, Bernie Taupin. (Jan. 10-13; www.artpbfair.com, 305-517-7977]
Art Palm Beach enters its 22nd year at the Palm Beach Convention Center the week after, from Jan. 16-20. Last year they stepped up their game with street art exhibits and live painting. They pulled from some top cutting-edge galleries in South Florida and cleaned up the layout for an engaging experience. Expect some more of the unexpected. [www.nextlevelfairs.com, 305-490-4584]
The Box Gallery: Rolando Chang Barrero is a one-man art change agent who has worked diligently since coming north from Miami a few years back to build an organic art scene in the county, first at his complex on Industrial Avenue in Boynton Beach and now at his gallery on Belvedere Road in West Palm Beach.
Chang Barrero has a few shows lined up for the season with more being added soon. First up for the season is Commentaries: The Art of Text and American Culture (Now through Oct. 30), which explores wordplay in contemporary culture. And artist Skip Hartzell is featured in Dogs Are Always in the Moment (Feb. 9-March 9). These inventive depictions of man’s best friend make up a feel-good exhibition where the love of dogs in unlimited configurations are joined in his paintings, works on paper and four-legged sculptures. “Although I love dogs, my art is about much more, it is about form, movement and mostly about the painterly expression and texture of the surface,” Hartzell says.[The Box Gallery, West Palm Beach; Theboxgallery.info, 786-521-1199]