April brings us closer to summer, when wealthy art lovers head to cooler climes and some of the private museum spaces take a holiday. Here in April, we’re still torn between the “Shtetl in the Sun” show at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, based on Brett Sokol’s book by the same showcasing photos by the late Andy Sweet; the sweeping exhibition of works by Purvis Young at the Rubell Family Collection; Italian textiles at the Wolfsonian Museum; the Jess T. Dugan and Vanessa Fabbre exploration of gender identity at the Frost-FIU Museum of Art; the expansive survey of NSU Museum of Arts own holdings - and even dashing up to see the new Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach. (Hint: Take the Brightline train. It only seems outrageously expensive until you spend five hours sitting in traffic.)
Four venues’ shows make it to our April must-see list, along with one of the most fun art fundraisers of the year.
“Room for Failure,” at Piero Atchugarry Gallery
There’s an impressive new gallery and art space on the block, specifically in Little Haiti, that opened in December during Art Week. Piero Atchugarry, son of the well-known Uruguayan sculpture Pablo Atchuggary, has opened a gleaming new gallery plus art center and sculpture garden. The current show, “Room for Failure,” was curated by the director of the consistently clean and tight Untitled art fair, Omar López-Chahoud. The 16 featured artists with their ultra-contemporary works hail from here (William Cordova), all over Latin America and the Caribbean (including an exemplary piece from Venezuelan expat Eugenio Espinoza) and Israel. The “Failure” in the title can refer to political and colonial systems, art movements and mental states. The second space is filled with works from Wifredo Lam, 1925-29. Through May 19.
Piero Atchugarry Gallery, 5520 NE Fourth Ave., Miami’; www.pieroatchugarry.com. 631-565-1671.
Jon Pylypchuk and Rafael Domenech+Ernesto Oroza, at The Fredric Snitzer Gallery
These two excellent shows highlight Snitzer’s latest cream of his crop. “I love you like a milkshake” is comprised of large-scale paintings and sculpture made from cast iron and old tires, culled from the last five years of the artist output of Canadian-born Jon Pylypchuk. In “La mata,” Rafael Domenech and Ernesto Oroza continue their exploration of materials, in this case vinyl, and come up with a beautiful sculptural light piece that addresses the urban function and aesthetics of such creations. Through April 15.
Frederic Snitzer Gallery, 1540 NE Miami Court; www.snitzer.com. 305-448-8976.
“Ferngully” by the Haas Brothers, at The Bass
This is the last month to catch The Bass’s big exhibition from the Los Angeles twins Nikolai and Simon Haas. The pair have made a delightful yet off-kilter world of anthropomorphic creatures, furniture, household décor, fungi -- made from hair, fur, sheepskin, beads, ceramics and myriad other materials. The brothers mix functional and exceptional craft-based skills with references to the natural environment and fantastical imagery to come up with this colorful, multi-piece installation whose theme stems from an animated children’s film about a magical rain forest. Look closely, and you can see the signs of both strife and joy of brotherly collaboration. Through April 21.
The Bass, 2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; thebass.org. 305-673-7530
The Russian Avant Garde and Marcelo Bonevardi, at the Lowe
Affection for abstract art — and particularly Russian modernist works — has swept through museums and galleries in recent year from New York to Vienna. Here at home, the University of Miami’s Lowe Art Museum is showing an exquisite selection of brooding portraits, landscapes, still lives and geometrics from the private collection of Russian Americans Maya and Anatoly Bekkerman. Though some of the best known names — Chagall, Kandinsky — aren’t represented, the paintings that are included will leave you spellbound. Don’t miss the smaller but intriguing show by Argentinan Marcelo Bonevardi, who stitches together canvases, geometric shapes and precise colors in as he explores myth and magic. Architectural influences are inescapable; both his father and son pursued the craft.
The Lowe, 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables
Locust Projects “Kaleidoscopic Spring Fling”
One of the most anticipated arts evenings is here, Locust Projects’ spring art auction/fundraiser for the oldest non-profit alternative gallery. This year the grouping of participants in vibrant, kaleidoscopic garb will intermingle with the collectors and artists in a performance-based evening of “live” arts, featuring a video projection from the always colorful Jen Stark, first premiered at the MTV Music Video Awards show; at the Moore Building, April 13, tickets starting at $150; www.locustprojects.org
Locust Projects, 3852 N. Miami Ave.