Don't stay away from the Coral Springs Museum of Art these days just because it's showcasing the work of the execrable Romero Britto. No, just take a sharp right when you enter the museum and make a beeline into the smaller side galleries, where you'll find the uneven but worthwhile "Louis Delsarte and Friends." The exhibition, which originated at the Old Dillard Museum in Fort Lauderdale and was curated at both venues by Derek T. Davis, includes the work of three generations of black artists. The focus is Delsarte, who was born in Brooklyn in 1944 and is now based in Atlanta, where he teaches art at Morehouse College. But the show also includes the elder statesman of South Florida's black arts community, Charles Mills, and a much younger Miami-based artist named Addonis Parker. For his part, Mills was much better served by a recent retrospective at the Broward County Main Library's Gallery Six, which included a healthy selection of the jazz portraits for which he is known. And while Parker, who works on wood panels using house paint, is clearly talented, his elders overshadow him here. Delsarte, who describes his own style as "caught between expressionism and realism," often achieves the effect of collage by combining acrylics with soft pastels that seem to bleed together. The result is a dreamy look that's especially effective in the aptly titled "I Have a Dream" series. But the artist is at his finest in his elegant portraiture, which invariably lends dignity to his subjects — he never trivializes his sitters with heart-on-your-sleeve sentimentality. And Delsarte's "Nobel Peace Prize Series," consisting of four long, horizontal panels in acrylic and mixed media, beautifully captures the sweep of modern black American history by fixing Martin Luther King Jr. at the heart of it.
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