Cross Street

Two complementary urban shows don't quite add up to a whole.

The works on display at the Moore Space tend to be considerably less subtle, and some of them are downright in-your-face garish. Take, for example, one of the first pieces to greet you, California artist Richard Jackson's Dicks Deer, a large mixed-media construction on a dais that features an up-ended stag whose anatomy has been modified in various ways (including the addition of a long, thick green penis).

A couple of video installations provide a sort of soundtrack that you can pick up on as you move through the show. The Simpson Verdict, by Kota Ezawa, a German who now works in San Francisco, is a three-minute loop of vaguely South Park-style animation that relives the final moments of the O.J. Simpson trial. MGM, by New Yorker Brock Enright, endlessly plays a truncated version of the movie studio's logo (hence the "metro" in the exhibition's title). Two other videos, one by Beatriz Monteavaro, a Cuban now in Miami, another by Hank Willis Thomas of San Francisco, make humorous use of toy action figures manipulated to create miniature stories.

The only artist who successfully straddles both portions of "metro pictures" is the New York-born, Miami-based George Sánchez-Calderón, who works on a large scale to create installations that are both provocative and mysterious. At MOCA, his Niche and After Dürer are overlapping mixed-media pieces that include wood, metal, and plaster components, as well as black-and-white photo murals printed on big stretches of wall. Similarly, at Moore, his Monument/Stoop and Wishing Well feature the title objects, in wood and painted polystyrene foam, respectively, dwarfed by photo murals in which the objects also appear. My companions wondered if they "got" what the artist was getting at, while I thought the ambiguity and lack of clear resolution are the very things that make the works interesting.

Lucy Orta's Nexus Architecture: Doubtful connections in an urban setting.
Lucy Orta's Nexus Architecture: Doubtful connections in an urban setting.
Scene from Henriquez's Intertextualidad
Scene from Henriquez's Intertextualidad

Details

Part One on display through July 31 at the Moore Space, 4040 NE Second Ave., Second Floor, Miami, 305-438-1163; Part Two on display through September 17 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Joan Lehman Bldg., 770 NE 125th St., North Miami, 305-893-6211.

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But even Sánchez-Calderón's intrigue isn't enough to make "metro pictures" more than just a collection of wildly uneven works by artists who don't really seem to have much in common. Count this as one of MOCA's very rare misfires.

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