“A Tongue to Utter & Ballerinas,” by Carlos Alfonzo, at the Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami,
Within a decade after arriving in Miami via the Mariel boatlift, Carlos Alonzo was winning acclaim from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Cintas Foundation and the 1991 Whitney Biennial; he died a month before the show opened from AIDS. A chance meeting at the Miami “first communion” celebration between a collector and Miami gallerist Sergio Cernuda of Miami’s LnS Gallery led to the reunification of Alzono’s most monumental work, an 11 x 16 expressionist painting, and the three kinetic ballerina sculptures created to accompany it. The work conveyed Alonzo’s criticism of Cuban ballerina Alicia Alonso, who visited the U.S. praising the Cuban government in the 1980s. After Cernuda was asked to place the canvas, he tracked down the ballerinas. The dancers and their stunning backdrop are at the Lowe Museum until March, when they move to the European home of a private collector next year.
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“Adios Melancholy: and the Parroty of Life,” solo exhibition by Magnus Sigurdarson, through Oct. 22 at Emerson Dorsch gallery, 5900 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami; www.emersondorsch.com.
Magnus Sigurdarson is one of Miami’s most fascinating artists, infusing his profound concerns of social justice into his artworks and installations – with a touch of humor. (Well, as much humor as the native Icelander can muster.) In this mixed-media show, he has painted realistic looking parrots and created a comedic sculptural one with a hat sitting on a chair. But as he points out, native parrots were wiped out in the 1900s – the ones we see today, a symbol of tropical paradise, are often struggling immigrants trying to adjust to a new home, like so many of us, the new mascot of Miami. Adios melancholy? Maybe instead it’s time to embrace that aspect that truly makes Miami unique.
Smash & Grab, Oct. 13, at Locust Projects, 3852 N. Miami Avenue, Miami Design District; locustprojects.org
Locust Projects’ 16th annual “Smash & Grab” is a slightly zany fusion of performance art, exhibition and fundraiser. Raffle tickets are pulled randomly out of hat in rapid successful, leaving patrons flying across the room to grab their artwork of choice before someone beats them to it. Of course, often someone with a higher number has....leaving them dashing to their next choice. The 100 works are donated by local and international contemporary artists, including Karen Rifas, Frances Trombly, Ahol Sniffs Glue and Robert Chambers. The insanity does have a purpose: proceeds go to support the educational programs and cutting-edge exhibitions of 20-year-old Locust. Raffle tickets cost $625; all raffle-ticket holders go home with an artwork. Tickets for the party featuring cocktails, bites and DJ cost $50.
“Birds of Paradise and Other Anomalies, “ exhibition of works by Enrique Gomez de Molina, through Nov. 3 at Bernice Steinbaum Gallery in Coconut Grove; bernicesteinbaumgallery.com.
At first glance you may think Bernice Steinbaum has opened her home-gallery to a zoo. No, an aviary. No, an old-style cabinet of curiosities. A closer look reveals a rich trove of the fantastical feather-covered creatures divined by Miami artist Enrique Gomez de Molina. The show is the ultimate recycler’s homage to fashion. That beige-orange-brown pheasant-like bird is clearly a nod to Ralph Lauren, the spoon bill with the turkey tail of peacock features to Dior; the red-beaked blackbird with the turquoise “collar” to Chanel. No PETA concerns here; the beaks and feet are made from resin; the features discarded -- and none of endangered species, a lesson learned by the artist after previous oversight landed in him trouble. The meticulous attention to detail and sense of whimsy are reason enough to visit.
“Forever Celia,” a survey of the life, iconic costumes and gowns of Celia Cruz, at the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora, 1200 Coral Way, Miami; thecuban.org.
No entertainer has better embodied the Cuban zest for celebration than the legendary Celia Cruz. The Queen of Salsa was renown for her charisma, music (irresistable even to the rhythmically challenged) and fabulous gowns that were artworks in themselves. The exhibit opening Oct. 15 at the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora recalls her 78-year life through photographs, press clippings, her Grammies, gowns, wigs and of course, her shoes. The exhibition runs Oct. 19- March 31. You can get a preview Oct. 6 when Bacardi Women in Leadership hosts an Oct 6 fundraiser celebrating the 25th anniversary of Dress for Success Miami; tickets at https://noaf.eventbrite.com.