Palette Magazine

South Florida's Fall Arts Lineup Dazzles

By Shayne Benowitz


Kinky Boots
Kinky Boots © Matthew Murphy / Courtesy of Broward Center

As fall approaches, the temperatures cool and the local art scene heats up. Art Basel and its satellite fairs loom large in the horizon, but South Florida’s museums and art galleries gear up well before December’s annual artistic blowout. The same goes for the opera, ballet, theater and symphony. Here’s a look at what the winds of autumn have in store.


The City’s Darling

Art Basel Miami Beach is back December 3-6, for a 14th year. After the success of last year’s show, featuring 267 galleries from 31 countries and drawing over 73,000 international show-goers to the Miami Beach Convention Center, the 2015 edition promises to be another splashy spectacle with cutting edge art, glitzy parties and, yes, gridlock traffic, too.


Satellite Fairs

With the convention center serving as the sun to a slew of orbiting satellite fairs, art patrons have a lot of ground to cover. Design Miami/ — Art Basel’s sister show — is the global forum uniting designers, curators and critics. SCOPE Miami Beach returns to the sands of South Beach for its 15th anniversary. Pulse Miami Beach (which moved from its downtown location last year) will celebrate its 10th anniversary at Indian Beach Park, and Art Miami and its sister show Context will hold down the fort in Midtown. Amidst these well-established fairs many rising stars have also become must-visits during that week.



The landmark Pérez Art Museum Miami will be celebrating its third anniversary this December, just in time for Art Basel. Its exciting lineup of exhibitions will include the fascinating No Boundaries: Aboriginal Australian Contemporary Abstract Painting, which brings together the works of nine artists who came to painting later in life. The works, many of them large scale pieces reflecting a wide range of influences, offer a fascinating look at the crossroads between a people living on the edge of society and the larger movements of 21st century abstract painting. Also opening this fall is Dominican born Firelei Báez’s exhibit Bloodlines, which explores the experience of the Caribbean diaspora by weaving together a pastiche of symbols that range from depictions of black women in 18th century Louisiana to signs of the tumultuous Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Báez’s hypnotic, large scale images are a flurry of color and pattern.

Founded by a Board of Trustees and the former staff of the Musuem of Contemporary Art, North Miami, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami took up temporary residence in the Design District’s Moore Building in December 2014 while awaiting the completion of its permanent home in the same neighborhood. Ever on the cutting edge, the institute’s slate of shows includes A Public Character, Shannon Ebner’s first comprehensive selection of her ongoing collection, Blackbox Collision A. Also on the calendar is a provocative solo exhibition by video and performance artist Alex Bag. The museum will display her 2001 video The Bag in the Atrium Gallery and a new site-specific installation, marking the New York artist’s first major U.S. show since 2009.

On South Beach, the Wolfsonian–FIU — dedicated to exploring the persuasive power of art and design and what it means to be modern — is gearing up for two major fall exhibitions. Philodendron: From Pan-Latin Exotic to American Modern charts the migration of tropical plants to North America and Europe and the cultural ramifications. Margin of Error explores societal responses to engineering catastrophes of the modern age, like shipwrecks, plane crashes and explosions and how those events interrupt the path of progress.

Further north, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale will explore modern art and the birth of American television with Revolution of the Eye. The museum will also host the annual GLBX fundraising event, ARTOPIA. The Palm Beach’s Norton Museum of Art will look at Israel through photography with its exhibit This Place.


Intimate Affairs

As the nerve center of Miami’s international contemporary art scene, Wynwood’s galleries are primed to present their most dynamic exhibitions as the legions descending for Art Basel roll into town. Many top galleries showcase their artists at the major fairs and also host special exhibitions. The Fredric Snitzer Gallery, which has exhibited at Art Basel in the convention center in the past, will display new works by famed street artist Kenny Scharf from November through December. New works by Miami artist Hernan Bas will be on display in January. In addition to its group show entitled Mixed Media, the Robert Fontaine Gallery will show at both Scope and the Miami Project this year. In fact, fall is the perfect time to visit one of Miami’s famed private collections like the Rubell Family Collection, the Margulies Collection at the WAREhOUSE and the de la

Cruz Collection.


A Community’s Soul

As part of Broward County’s 100th anniversary celebration, the county participated in Inside Out, The global project that turns images of everyday people into works of art. On July 25, at the the grand re-opening of Mickel Park, an Inside Out photographer snapped black and white head shots of Wilton Manors residents. Now 50 black and white images from that shoot are installed in front of city hall.

Every Inside Out project has a theme — a bigger message that is communicated to the the world. The message of the Broward 100 – Celebrating the Art of Community: Hollywood Creatives is “the real building blocks of a community.” The installation is made of disintegrating paper that can last one to five months, depending on the weather.

Another communal experience that shouldn’t be missed is the Art! Key West! festival. The six-day celebration of the local arts scene offers an insight into the island’s unique artistic heritage, along with artist panels, gallery exhibitions, performance art and music.


Timeless Pleasures

Autumn also marks the start of the performing arts season in South Florida. The Florida Grand Opera starts things off with Rossini’s The Barber of Seville at the Ziff Ballet Opera House at the Arsht Center in Miami and will later take the performance to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts’

Au-Rene Theater.

Miami City Ballet will also kick off its season at the Arsht Center with Program One: Swan Lake, Viscera and Fancy Free. As with all of the performances, the show will travel to the Broward Center and Palm Beach’s Kravis Center. Programs Two and Three will feature choreography by Twyla Tharp, George Balanchine and Justin Peck. The season ends with Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The New World Symphony’s 2015–2016 season will open with The Russian Musical Soul, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. The show features Stravinsky’s “The Fox” and “The Wedding” and Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 1, Winter Dreams.”

The Cleveland Orchestra Miami returns in November to celebrate its 10th season in the Magic City. With Giancarlo Guerrero conducting and Johannes Moser on the cello, the orchestra will start its four-weekend residence with the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony.


On Stage

Just across Biscayne Boulevard, the Arsht Center’s Broadway musical season gets off to a rollicking start with the six-time Tony Award–winning Kinky Boots. Other highlights of the season include The Sound of Music, Motown the Musical and Cabaret.

Over at the Broward Center, Tony Award winning musical Once takes the stage and the center’s dance series is scheduled to feature Momix BotanicaBlaze The Show, the Moscow Festival Ballet performing Sleeping Beauty, Pilobolus and Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.

The Kravis Center has also proposed a varied lineup, with artists and performers that range from Jerry Seinfeld and the Munich Symphony Orchestra to Blue Man Group. And the Aventura Center is sure to pack the house the day the inimitable Bernadette Peters takes the stage.

Palm Beach Dramaworks’ season of plays will engage audiences with productions like William Inge’s classic Picnic, Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Alan Bennett’s The History Boys.

For a tongue-in-cheek treat, head down to the last key. The Sexy Side of Star Wars: A Burlesque Parody will be presented by Key West Burlesque at the Waterfront Playhouse. The Conch Republic gets only slightly more serious late in the season when the Fringe Theater presents Alice’s Parlor II — four plays by Alice Gerstenberg — and the Red Barn Theatre puts on the Neil Simon comedy, Fools.