Now on Display

 "Steve McCurry: Photographs of Asia" -- McCurry is best-known for his haunting portrait of an Afghan girl taken for National Geographic during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. This small, excellent show puts that picture front and center. It also includes another 50 or so color shots by McCurry, who, like the best photojournalists, has an uncanny ability to capture extraordinary images on the fly, a knack for picking up on fleeting moments that resonate emotionally, even spiritually, as well as aesthetically. He rarely strays far from imagery charged by its cultural and historical context, and he reinvigorates subject matter we think we know all too well. (Through August 29 at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, 501 Plaza Real, Mizner Park, Boca Raton, 561-392-2500.)

"Julie Moos: Hat Ladies" -- Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat has nothing on the subjects of this small show that gets lots of mileage from limited material. The 18-piece exhibition, which has had its run at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach extended, is the work of the Canadian-born photographer Moos, who specializes in series of linked photos and in portraits of people in pairs. "Hat Ladies" qualifies on both counts. Its subjects are black women from the congregation of the New Pilgrim Baptist Church in Ensley, a neighborhood in Birmingham, Alabama. All are dressed in their Sunday best, which typically includes hats so dramatic that they resemble exotic birds. The formal poses might suggest stiffness if the ladies didn't project such great dignity -- they seem to have an innate sense that they're about to step into history. In this case, most of them are of an age to have witnessed, even participated in, the struggles of the civil rights era. (Through July 25 at the Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach, 561-832-5196.)

 
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