"Ansel Adams: A Celebration of Genius" and "Clyde Butcher: Photographer of the Wilderness"

NOW ON DISPLAY

"Ansel Adams: A Celebration of Genius" and "Clyde Butcher: Photographer of the Wilderness" --Two American giants specializing in black-and-white nature photography come together in this inspired pairing. Adams is the visual poet of the American West, here represented by more than 120 small but extraordinary images, including a few portraits, still lifes, and shots of buildings along with the many gorgeous landscapes for which he is best-known. Florida-based photographer Butcher, the "Ansel Adams of the Everglades," contributes relatively few pieces, but they're monumental in scale and mesh perfectly with the work of his mentor. The lives and careers of the these two men are a study in contrasts as well as comparisons, and the show is a satisfying tribute to their mutual passion and respect for the wilderness. The Adams show will be moving on to other venues, while the Butcher show will have its run extended and additional pieces added. ("Ansel Adams," through July 5, and "Clyde Butcher," through August 31, both at the Museum of Art, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-525-5500.)

"Othoniel: Crystal Palace" -- This show, which is more or less one vast installation that takes up almost all of MoCA's display space, is a collection of 30 or so glass-based... sculptures, for lack of a better word. There are also 44 preparatory sketches in watercolor -- which oddly outshine almost everything else in the exhibition. The pieces are by celebrated young French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel, who has spent three winters in Miami Beach and professes to have found inspiration in South Florida. The exhibition's would-be pi´ce de résistance is the dramatic finale, a large work called Mon Lit (My Bed) (2003). Its frame is similar to that of Othoniel's canopy for the Paris Métro stop, with metal rods and glass beads connected by a web of rings made of molten metal. In the center rests a not-quite-square "mattress" topped with what the artist has described as a "fluffy pink felt quilt." "Crystal Palace" may well be that rare, exotic specimen in the art world: a show notable more for the ingenuity of its installation than for its content. (Through August 31 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Joan Lehman Bldg., 770 NE 125th St., North Miami, 305-893-6211.)

 
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