River of Grass could easily be mistaken for just another small home landscaping center. It's not. Yes, landscaping is a big part of the business. There's a large outdoor area featuring rugged furniture, big urns and fountains, and chunks of volcanic rock called laterite that can be sculpted into planters and other garden paraphernalia. But beyond that outdoor area is a 1,700-square-foot showroom full of exotica: marble sinks worth remodeling a bathroom around; furniture ranging from odd tables and bookcases to full dining room suites; Buddhas and Buddha heads made of wood, stone, ceramic; decorative accessories such as lamps, baskets, vases, even bow-and-arrow sets. And everywhere there is teak -- so much of the hardwood, in fact, that a better name for the place might be River of Teak. This heavy, earthy wood is elegant enough for indoor furniture, and durable enough to survive outside. River of Grass has rough-hewn teak benches and table-and-chair sets for outdoor use, along with a massive backyard bar made from recycled odds and ends of the versatile wood. There are also items fashioned from bamboo, coarse fabrics, hand-made papers, and a rattan variant woven from a certain kind of water hyacinth. Almost everything on display is functional as well as aesthetically appealing, and it runs the gamut from rustic to refined. Co-owner F. Bruce Corneal says he and partner Karen Kennedy get most of their inventory from Thailand, with some pieces coming from other countries in Southeast Asia. The operation, which has been in its present location about a year, is slated for an expansion into the adjacent lot that will more than double the indoor space, making room for more of everything currently available, as well as for the addition of some huge murals on order from Cambodia. (River of Grass is at 1147 NE Fourth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-523-1117.) -- Michael Mills
Now on Display
27th Annual Faculty Art Exhibition: About 30 of the nearly 300 instructors at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale participated in this show, contributing 60 or so works in a variety of media old and new. Some of the art tries too hard, as in cartoonish political commentary and pieces that too obviously allude to their influences. The best work, however, is relatively simple, straightforward, and traditional: Jim Radford's pleasingly old-fashioned, realistic sculpture; three wonderfully disorienting collages by Janet Gold; a remarkably rich charcoal and acrylic rendering of a tug pulling a ship, by Trina Renée Nicklas. Thanks to Hurricane Frances, the show's opening was delayed, and its run may be extended. Call to confirm. (Through October 7 at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Mark K. Wheeler Gallery, 1799 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale, 954-463-3000.)
Adhesive 44: Fulfilling art writer John Berger's prediction that museums of the future would ultimately disappear and be replaced by personal arrangements of reproductions and printed ephemera, Brazilian artist Jac Leirner unpacks her decalcomania at the Miami Art Museum. Composed of hundreds of stickers adhered to two rows of window panes, and extending some 40 feet in length, Adhesive 44 exposes a universe of archetypal images that flicker in the mind's eye like constellations. This work speaks to the obsession with brands and logos by which humans organize themselves into groups and tribes. (Through October 10 at the Miami Art Museum, 100 W Flagler St., Miami, 305-375-3000.)
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