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.)

"American Seascapes: Artists at the Shore" -- A baker's dozen pieces, culled from the thousand or so works that make up the Norton's American collection. Seven are watercolors, with the remainder evenly split among oils, etchings, and gouaches. The American impressionist Childe Hassam, currently the subject of a major retrospective at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, puts a 20th-century spin on a 15th-century Botticelli masterpiece with an etching called The Birth of Venus, Montauk (1922). And Cape Split, Maine (1941), a watercolor by Hassam's contemporary John Marin, is a turbulent interpretation of a rugged coastline that was one of Marin's frequent inspirations. Also especially noteworthy are two gouache paintings on paper by Jane Peterson: By the Water, an undated study in atmosphere featuring palm trees and a few figures, and Florida Landscape, a circa-1930s image using colors so bright they take on an almost hallucinogenic intensity. Both were painted along a stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway in the Palm Beach area, and both capture distinctly South Floridian moods. (Through August 31 at the Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach, 561-832-5196)

 
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