Nina Johnson Gallery “Judy Chicago: Atmospheres”
Nina Johnson recently expanded her Little Haiti complex of buildings and courtyard, painting them bright white like a tiny Grecian village. Right now they house some impressive shows. Upstairs in the back building is a surprising photography exhibit that coincides with the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami’s major survey of the ground-breaking feminist artist Judy Chicago. Here at Johnson’s gallery, Chicago’s photo prints from 1968-74 and 2012 on are featured. The installations include dazzling colored puffs of smoke set off in a harsh man-made human environment such as an urban street, or forbidding landscapes such as a desert, in order to “feminize” the atmospheres. These images will likely be new to those who otherwise know Chicago’s work. Another building houses a great group show “Of Purism,” a mix of modern masters and contemporary art; some are by Miami artists. Chicago will also present a site-specific fireworks performance at the ICA (icamimai.org) on Feb. 23. Exhibit open through March 2 at 6315 NW Second Ave.; ninajohnson.com.
MOCA Nomi “AfriCobra: Messages to the People”
MOCA announces its new face in 2019 with a fabulous spread of works on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the black arts movement AfriCobra, which created a a new aesthetic for the art of an emerging African-American voice. Founded by five activist artists in Chicago, and later joined by five others, their visual voice complemented the Black Power Movement and was meant to add a more nuanced and positive image of the black community. The art is political, yes — it was generated as “art for the people” — but also remarkable in its stylization, unique color palettes and use of materials. In painting, tapestry, collage and couture, these men and women forged a novel artistic look that impacts contemporary art today. Through April 7 at 770 NE 125th St.; moconomi.org.
National YoungArts Week Visual Arts
This January week at the HQ of the National YoungArts Foundation on Biscayne Boulevard is the highlight of the YoungArts year, celebrating over 160 teen finalists in performing arts, music, literature, film, design and visual arts. This year’s visual arts show, curated by Miami’s own Rosie Gordon-Wallace, includes 41 artists who work in a variety of media, including design, photography, installation and painting. The visual arts exhibit opens Friday and runs through Feb. 4 at the YoungArts Gallery and the YoungArts Jewel Box; 2100 Biscayne Boulevard. Other performances in this crammed week include a Friday writers’ reading, also at the Biscayne Boulevard campus. Performances at Miami Beach’s New World Center, 500 17th St., include classical, jazz and pop vocals on Monday, jazz and theater on Tuesday, dance and screen on Wednesday, and classical music on Thursday, all in the evenings. www.youngarts.org.
Tile Blush gallery “Twilight, Verdant Romps & Wading Pools”
The large-scale paintings from Miami-based Aramis Gutierrez are sinful, incredibly fleshy indulgences, referencing Peter Paul Rubens’ forest orgies and those of other masters (who themselves alluded to Roman bacchanalia festivals). There are plenty of folds, ample thighs and buttocks on these naked bodies frolicking in natural settings and painted in deep, rich oil coloring. As a wink, wink, some of the models are friends or acquaintances of the artist. While the works are decidedly lusty, they do not come across as pornographic but instead are an intense, engulfing visual experience of bodies and nature. Tile always includes a design element; in this case clean-lined pieces from Jonathan Gonzalez. Through Jan. 26 at 8375 NE Second Ave.; tileblush.com.
The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse New Installations
Now that all the international Basel shows have come and gone, it’s a good time to appreciate the quality of art that we have right here all year long. Margulies specializes in large installations, groupings unveiled every year that are unrivaled the world over. Take in the stellar works for example of Ibrahim Mahama, Peter Buggenhout and Gilles Barbier. The French Barbier is represented by a slightly comical but all-too-real reflection on aging in a staged set titled “L’Hospice,” or old-folks home. But the residents are not known for showing signs of infirmity, as they include Superheroes such as Superman, Wonder Woman and Captain America, using walkers or laid up on gurneys, no longer lifting buildings with one hand. Yes, time takes its toll even on the strongest among us. Through April 27 at 591 NW 27th St.; www.margulieswarehouse.com.
▪ Jan. 10: Art historian James Hicks, who works with London’s Tate and Tate Modern museums, among others, shares insights on what it takes for a city to become an art capital. Thursday evening at de la Cruz Collection, 23 NE 41st St., Design District. Free; RSVP required.delacruzcollection.org.
▪ Jan. 13: Miami-based, Haiti-born artist Edouard Duval-Carrié explores the political, social and historical themes in his work at the Frost-FIU Museum of Art, 3 p.m. RSVP at frost.fiu.edu.
NEW IN TOWN
In the past, Miami has been notoriously tough on galleries, which often struggle to draw in buyers. Three new galleries are hoping to make that old news. Both opened late last year.
▪ For Miami natives Grant Bonnier and Christina Bonnier, their new Bonnier Gallery at 3408 NW Seventh Ave. represents both a homecoming and a long-term commitment. After a stint in the Boston area, the couple returned to Miami to start a family. Their Allapattah gallery includes both local artists and international ones, thanks to longstanding connections forged through his father, New York art dealer Peder Bonnier. That explains the blue-chip artists whose works appear in the gallery, including Sol Lewitt, Robert Mangold, Donald Judd, Agnes Martin, Robert Ryman, Carl Andre and Christo. In fact, his parents met in 1983 when his father, driving the boat that ferried Christo around the not-yet-surrounded Biscayne Bay islands, saw his mother, the late Deborah Grant, who was working on one of the beaches. He used a megaphone to ask her out. thebonniergallery.com
▪ Atchugarry Art Center Miami, a combination gallery and museum space opened by Uruguayan sculptor Pablo Atchugarry and his son Piero, at 5520 NE Fourth Ave.. Inaugural presentations (through Feb. 16) include a rare exhibition of five early surrealist paintings by Afro-Cuban artist Wifredo Lam and a retrospective of work by the late José Pedro Costigliolo. Those aren’t for sale — but other works by Latin American artists, including Atchugarry himself, are. atchugarryartcenter.com.
In the Design District near ICA, Brit Inigo Philbrick has opened a space to complement his London gallery. (The weather can’t compare.) The current show includes works by Bridget Riley, Wade Guyton and Avery Singer. Through February at 112 NE 41st St., Suite 104. inigophilbrick.com.