Visual Arts

Miami museums will sweep you far away — even if you can’t get out of town

Photographer Deborah Jack’s “Water between us remembers, so we wear our history on our skin, long for a sea-bath and hope the salt will cure what ails us,” is part of the show “The Other Side of Now,” at the Perez Art Museum Miami through June 7, 2020.
Photographer Deborah Jack’s “Water between us remembers, so we wear our history on our skin, long for a sea-bath and hope the salt will cure what ails us,” is part of the show “The Other Side of Now,” at the Perez Art Museum Miami through June 7, 2020. Perez Art Museum Miami

Can’t get away this month? Miami museums will sweep you away in space and time with works from the Caribbean, Europe and our city’s own past.


Although we are surrounded by the Caribbean, the region often is viewed through the lens of natural catastrophes and man-made poverty and upheaval. But it has a unique past, and a future that could be equally exceptional. That is the premise of “The Other Side of Now: Foresight in Contemporary Caribbean Art,” the current exhibit at the Perez Art Museum Miami. Fourteen contemporary artists ponder the question “what might a Caribbean future look like?” and imagine the answer in newly commissioned works. Tapping into personal experiences, history and mythology, the artists have made paintings, installations and videos that address a time yet to come. It is filled with twists and turns of environmental devastation and climate change that lead, eventually, to a discovery of self reliance, resourcefulness, and pride in place. Kind of like Miami. Through June 7, 2020.

Perez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., downtown Miami; 305-376-3000;

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Cover illustration from Conrado Massaguer of Life magazine from Jan. 19, 1928. From the show “Cuban Caricature and Culture: The Art of Massaguer” at the Wolfsonian-FIU through Feb. 2, 2020.


Wolfsonian-FIU: “Cuban Caricature and Culture: The Art of Massaguer”

This lively and colorful selection of about 100 works from Cuban graphic designer, illustrator, publisher, and caricaturist Conrado Walter Massaguer evokes a lost — and sometimes fanciful — past of a Cuban playground, filled with stylish women, glamorous hotels, exotic music. A leading voice in shaping early 20th-century Cuban culture, Massaguer published the magazine Social, which popularized Art Deco and Modernism on the island. The exhibit features such covers for Social and other American magazines published during the 1930s, tourist advertisements and amazing caricatures of famous people of the day (such as Walt Disney and political leaders). Intimate examples of rare sketches and personal letters make for a fun and interesting summer fare. Through Feb. 2, 2020;

Wolfsonian FIU, 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach. 305-531-1001;

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Still from Bart Simpson’s “Brasilia: Life After Design,” part of the film series Real Utopias presented by the Museum of Art and Design at Miami Dade College. Museum of Art and Design / Miami Dade College


Museum of Art and Design at MDC: “Brasilia: Life After Design,” Aug. 6 film

The Museum of Art and Design at Miami Dade College — familiarly known as MOAD — is presenting “City of the People,” a unique, almost year-long program that explores what it means to exist in an urban community. Included are literary performances, film screenings, scholarly discussions and participatory art pieces that take place in various neighborhoods. “Brasilia” is the August film component of its monthly Real Utopias documentaries. Perhaps no other city expresses both the dreams of a modern Utopian city and the unrealistic expectations of such a dream like Brazil’s capital. Built in 1956 to shine a light on the country’s new-found democracy, Brasilia was designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer and urbanist Lúcio Costa as a backbone of a “new Brazilian citizen.” But best laid plans….today the city sits almost in the middle of nowhere, a stark and not very hospitable concrete center. Still, the city has its supporters and some 2.4 million inhabitants. The film focuses on them: an optimistic urbanist, a civil servant, a street vendor. The underlying theme: what is it like to live in someone else’s idea? On Aug. 6.

“Brasilia: Life after Design,” 7 p.m. Aug. 6, at the Tower Theater, 1508 SW 8th Street, Little Havana.; 305-237-7700;

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Detail from Gary Monroe’s 1978 image, “Sixth Street by Washington Avenue,” from the show Gary Monroe’s South Beach, 1977-1986, at the Frost-FIU Museum of Art from Aug. 17-Dec. 8, 2019. Gary Monroe


Frost-FIU: Gary Monroe’s “South Beach, 1977-1986”

“The Last Resort,” the acclaimed film about a vanished Jewish South Beach world directed by locals Dennis Scholl and Kareem Tabsch, featured images by two local photographers, the late Andy Sweet and the very-much-alive Gary Monroe. Monroe, a Miami native, returned from the University of Colorado and took aim at Miami Beach, where he started a decade-long project of documenting its unique post-war Jewish population in retirement far from the factories of the Northeast and the sometimes-horrific Europe of their past. In the tradition of famed photographer Henri Cartier-Breton, Monroe captured everyday moments, religious rites and community activities in the sun and beaches, before the inevitable processes of redevelopment, changing demographics and aging took its toll. Monroe’s solo show reflects an era special to Miami’s history and its soul. Opening Aug. 17, through Dec. 8.

“South Beach, 1977-1986: Photographs by Gary Monroe,” Frost FIU Museum of Art, 10975 SW 17th Street, Miami; 305-348-2890;

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Detail from “The Coronation of the Virgin,” 1492 collaboration by Sandro Botticelli and Domenico Ghirlandaio in tempura and oil on canvas. At The Bass through Oct. 24, 2019. Courtesy of The Bass


The Bass: “The Coronation of the Virgin”

“The Coronation of the Virgin” is a gem of a painting — and the only known remaining collaborative composition created by Italian Renaissance masters Sandro Botticelli and Domenico Ghirlandaio. Now in the permanent collection of the Bass, “The Coronation of the Virgin” was just recently restored. It also is one of Miami’s few early classic Renaissance works on view to the public. The two painters were known to work together in such august surrounds as the Sistine Chapel; this work was commissioned as part of two altarpieces and is the sole survivor. The virgin coronation was a popular subject matter: in this case the top half of the painting — the depiction of Mary and Christ — is attributed to Botticelli, while the bottom half of saints and a monk (who may have been modeled on the man who commissioned the piece) to Ghirlandaio. In the slow, hot months of August, it’s a good time to spend with an important, singular work. Through Oct. 24. Catch it while you can; the work travels to Paris in 2020 for a major Botticelli exhibit.

“The Coronation of the Virgin” at The Bass, 2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7530;