Imagine a Museum

The Coral Springs Museum of Art has the right light touch

These mysterious pieces work best when seen at a distance, in the context of a big gallery full of visual contrasts. But they're no match for Foster's biomorphic stoneware forms, most of which are wall-mounted pieces on the outer perimeter of the museum. Many of these forms remind me of the visual vocabulary of Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg. They draw on the shapes of the innards of living creatures, then recast them in hard stoneware with speckled glazes and earthy colors.

The title of one Foster piece, Boney Chassis, for instance, is an apt description of his melding of organic and inorganic elements. Another untitled piece has what looks like pincers at one end, while Hooded tapers off into squidlike tentacles. Foster makes these pieces simultaneously repellent and fascinating, like fossilized souvenirs of a world that's both familiar and alien.


There's still room in the museum for another show, "Michael Joseph: New York City Embraced."Joseph lives in Fort Lauderdale, but on what must have been one incredible day in October 2000, he shot all but one of the 16 black-and-white images that make up this small show. (The exception is a soft-focus picture of Towers of Light, the commemoration of 9/11 that featured beams of light re-creating the Twin Towers.)

Joseph's specialty is inventing new ways of looking at things we think we know. Empire gives us the spire of the Empire State Building jutting into the lower right of the frame, juxtaposed with a maze of wires crisscrossing and disrupting the opposite side of the image. Central Park looks at the Mayfair Hotel through a filigree of bare tree branches. Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Plaza,and Rainbow Room -- NBC Studios have the feel of a trio of 1950s snapshots.


I can't think of another South Florida museum that would attempt to pull off four solo shows at the same time, as well as a chronicle of an ambitious artists-in-residence project. And yet the Coral Springs Museum of Art remains one of the area's most neglected arts institutions, perhaps because it's swallowed up by the city's arts center and it's in what seems a remote location. Get over it, and make the trip. It's worth it.

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