By Sandra Schulman
Palm Beach is counting on the arts and art lovers to rebound this season, with ambitious shows planned, and plenty of outdoor art viewing available. The Norton Museum plans to reopen this month, and the Boca Museum has been renovated and is offering several new exhibits. Palm Beach’s Worth Avenue emerges as a new gallery hotspot.
Norton Museum of Art
Reopening Nov. 20 and marking its 80th anniversary year in 2021, the Norton presents its eighth iteration of its Recognition of Art by Women (RAW) series along with María Berrío’s first solo museum exhibition Esperando mientras la noche florece (Waiting for the Night to Bloom) featuring 20 works from 2013 to today, that confront complex issues of immigration and vulnerability through lifelike depictions and magical realism. (Jan. 2-May 9, 2021)
Jose Alvarez (D.O.P.A.): Krome: These 30 ink portraits were created by South Florida-based Venezuelan artist Jose Alvarez when he was jailed in Miami’s Krome immigration detention center in 2011 for identity fraud. He began drawing other inmates as a creative outlet, amassing a moving portrait of men behind bars. (Jan. 2-May 9)
Art Finds a Way, a curated exhibit from the Norton’s collection featuring work by Nina Chanel Abney, Hank Willis Thomas, Faith Ringgold, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, and Jaye Rhee with art that examines persistent issues of racial injustice during the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jan. 2-May 9)
Celebrating the Norton: Eighty Years, an examination of the Museum’s 80-year history presents never-before-seen documents, photographs, and highlights from the collection. (Feb. 5-June 13)
The museum announced Monday that it would be reopening Nov. 20, with special weekend preview for members set for Friday through Sunday. Shows on view will be a Robert Rauschenberg retrospective (through Dec. 13); works by three photographers in competition for the Rudin Prize for Emerging Photographers (through Dec. 6); Photo +: Mixed Media and the Photographic Image (through Jan. 24); Divine Beings, an exhibit of Asian art created in response to spiritual ideas (through Jan. 31); George Cohen: Artist of the Chicago Avant-Garde (through Feb. 28); Where? A Brief History of Photography Through Landscape (through Feb. 28); and The Collection of Esther N. and Sumner L. Feldberg, prints and drawings by Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and others (through March 18).
The museum will continue to offer new and exciting Norton From Home virtual programs including artist talks and podcasts; at-home art activities; Art After Dark events, and more. [Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach; Norton.org, 561-832-5196]
Boca Raton Museum of Art
Three new exhibits kick off the Boca season, with more to follow in January.
Trine Lise Nedreaas: The Entertainers, curated by Kathleen Goncharov, the senior curator of the museum, is an unusual one in that it is video-based, with eight installations by the Norwegian filmmaker. Prepare to see large screens filling an entire gallery of clowns, a bizarre contortionist, a hit-at-parties sword swallower, a hula-hoop champion, a ventriloquist dummy, a show-stopping dwarf maestro of smoke-filled bubbles, and an elderly woman singing off-key to Frank Sinatra’s My Way.
Reflecting the empty audience current reality, performers are filmed while they are removed from any spectators. When there is no one to watch what does that mean to the performer and the performance? One of the videos, The Mask, creepily shows the clown character actually creating his mask across three giant screens to be used for physical and spiritual protection. Benches provide seating to take in the whole show. Through Jan. 3.
My Presidents and Other Recent Acquisitions: This new exhibition on the ground floor features works by seven artists from current additions to the museum’s collection. Curated by the Museum’s assistant curator, Kelli Bodle, these works explore Ben Patterson’s graphic illustration astrological analysis of 13 presidents, and Jeanne Silverthorne’s amusing rather than alarming sculptures of fire extinguishers. Patterson is a founding member of the Fluxus art movement, and its only Black member. He voluntarily left the USA in 1960 as he could not secure a job as an orchestral musician due to racism. Using presidential portraits, he juxtaposes Roosevelt through Obama in Fluxus fashion. Through Jan. 3.
The Signing, a 15-foot long photograph that places people of color in various eras of clothing where the Founding Fathers stood is on special loan from the artist, through June 1. Created by Renee Cox, a photographer, artist, lecturer, and political activist, she creates a revisionist look at the founding of the nation, re-interpreting Howard Chandler Christy’s iconic painting Scene at The Signing of the Constitution of the United States.
Jeff Whyman: Out of Nature: As part of a continuing series by artists in the region, ceramicist Jeff Whyman shows his technique of making the finished piece all in one session, using the potter’s wheel to throw his creations at the same time he adds sea glass, Chinese crystals, mineral oxides, and other objects to create forms that resemble ocean floor corals or volcanic gem studded rocks. A looping video shows his muscular technique.
Glasstress Boca Raton 2021 headlines the second wave of three new shows that open Jan. 26. A sequel to 2016 Glasstress exhibition, the 2021 edition features new artists and 33 new works by some of the world’s leading contemporary artists, who paired with master glass artisans at Berengo Studio on the island of Murano in the Venetian lagoon.
Ai Weiwei’s spectacular Blossom Chandelier sculpture will travel by boat from Italy to Boca Raton for Glasstress 2021. This intricate explosive chandelier bursts with white glass flowers, menacing handcuffs, Twitter birds, security cameras, and the artist’s own hands flashing his middle finger – a not-so-subtle sign to the Chinese government that imprisoned him. Also opening on Jan. 26, the museum debuts two more exhibitions for its new season with An Irresistible Urge to Create: The Monroe Family Collection of Florida Outsider Art and Paul Gervais: Faces and Forms. (Boca Raton Musuem of Art, bocamuseum.org, 561-392-2500)
Society of the Four Arts
The venerable Palm Beach institution plans a regular season of art exhibits, with the proviso that occupancy is being reduced, the auditorium and classrooms are being reconfigured, and guests are expected to wear masks at all times. The Society notes that this could change at any time. But as of now, these are the planned art exhibits:
In God We Trust: Early Bible Printings and Founding Documents from the David M. Rubenstein Americana Collection: An exhibit of rare historic American Bibles and religious texts featuring 18 books from the Americana Collection of David Rubenstein, a prominent American businessman and philanthropist. The exhibition’s centerpiece is the Bay Psalm Book, America’s first book, produced by English settlers who brought a printing press across the ocean to be able to print in their new land. Music from one of the hymnbooks has been recorded by students from Palm Beach Atlantic University and will be played throughout. (Nov. 14-Feb. 28)
Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence: This exhibition features paintings in beads by six women of a rural South African community. Called ndwangos, the paintings consist of stretched black cloth which is then colored with Czech glass beads. (Nov. 14-Jan. 17)
Charles and Jackson Pollock: A Four Arts-curated exhibition of works by Jackson Pollock’s elder brother Charles, who studied with Thomas Hart Benton, paired with a series of little-known works by the enfant terrible of abstract expressionism, including his only known sculpture. (Jan. 30-March 28)
Also, the Society hosts painted fiberglass sculptures by Philip Haas in the Sculpture Garden through the end of this year, and from Jan. 11-16, features an outdoor recreation of Gen. George Washington’s battlefield tent during his days as the chief military commander during the Revolutionary War. Includes living history demonstrations and a close-up look at the tent and his equipment. (Society of the Four Arts, fourarts.org, 561-655-7226)
The winter exhibition at Henry Flagler’s mansion on Palm Beach has been extended and will be on view until further notice, museum officials say. Walk This Way: Historic Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection explores how shoes have transcended their basic purpose to become representations of culture. Featuring 100 pairs of shoes from designer Stuart Weitzman’s private collection assembled over three decades, the exhibition covers larger trends in American economic history, from industrialization to the rise of consumer culture, with a focus on women’s contributions as producers, consumers, designers, and entrepreneurs. (Flagler Museum, Palm Beach, flaglermuseum.us, 561-665-2833)
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
Collecting Stories focuses on works drawn from the Morikami’s permanent collection, which will be featured in a series of mini-exhibitions “representing diverse perspectives for interpreting the narrative of any object,” the museum says. For this fall and upcoming winter season, the museum presents Stroll for Well-Being, a free garden-walking initiative that promotes self-care and heightens physical and emotional wellness. Strollers also enjoy a one-year dual membership they can enjoy with another guest.
“Through this pandemic, we have realized an even greater need to make our programming more accessible to members of our community dealing with anxiety, stress and mental exhaustion,” Wendy Lo, curator of education at the museum west of Delray Beach, said in a news release. “Health-care providers and first responders are struggling in ways that threaten their mental health like never before and we hope to provide a channel by which participants can find some time for reflection and serenity.”
(Morikami Museum, www.morikami.org, 561-495-0233)
Cultural Council for Palm Beach County
How Do We Move Forward? Ten visual and spoken word Black artists will provide multimedia content that covers four centuries of racial turmoil and social and civil injustice. Participating visual artists are Dariel Donovan, Anthony Burks, Sr., Tracy Guiteau, Kianga Jinaki and Turgo Bastien. Nov. 17-Dec. 12.
Reflections: For this enlightening show, the art exhibited depends on light to complete it. Works include objects captured on film by a pinhole camera lens and a stained-glass piece casting rainbows on the walls. Through Jan. 2.
Also in January, the Cultural Council will partner with the ATB Group in a Harlem Renaissance-style exhibition, Karibu: A Celebration of Black Artists in Palm Beach County. Karibu means “Welcome, come in” in Swahili and will feature work in various media. (Cultural Council for Palm Beach County, PalmBeachCulture.com; 561-471-2901)
Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens
The Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens will be going through renovations during the 2020 -2021 season. Outdoor events and programs include the 4th Annual Sculpture in Motion, honoring Gold Star Families of Palm Beach County and veterans, on Nov. 14. The Gardens’ 2-acre campus plans to fully reopen April 17 with the exhibition Artists At Home: Photography of Historic Artists’ Homes & Studios Program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. (Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, www.ansg.org, 561-832-5328)
Palm Beach New Galleries
As New Yorkers leave for less restricted cities, New York galleries are following them south to Palm Beach.
Pace Gallery will open in Palm Beach on Nov. 9 with a presentation dedicated to aperture wall installations by California artist James Turrell, followed by a series of solo and group shows by artists including Alexander Calder, Mary Corse, Tara Donovan, and Sam Gilliam. Pace plans to stay in the space at least until spring 2021. (Pacegallery.com)
Another New York Gallery, Acquavella, opens its first physical gallery outside of New York in its 99-year history. The inaugural show, Masterworks: From Cézanne to Thiebaud, opens Nov. 1. Acquavella and Sotheby’s new private sales office will both occupy the Royal Poinciana Plaza, a landmarked architectural building. (acquavellagalleries.com)
Longtime dealer Sarah Gavlak has been in Palm Beach since 2005 before launching a location in Los Angeles, and last year opened a newer space in Palm Beach. Her season opens with Maynard Monrow: Vox Populi through Nov. 29. (GavlakGallery.com)