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Current Art Shows

Once a year, the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale puts together a show featuring the work of some of its instructors. This year, the show had some competition in the form of Hurricane Frances, whose impending arrival forced the cancellation of the scheduled September 3 opening. But like the rest of us, the Art Institute regrouped, and so the 27th Annual Faculty Art Exhibition was rescheduled. About 30 of the school's nearly 300 faculty members participated, contributing 60 or so works in a variety of media old and new. Some of the art tries too hard: cartoonish little clay sculptures of John Kerry and George W. Bush, facing off astride a donkey and an elephant, respectively; a triptych of fashion designs suggesting a deranged hybrid of Gustav Klimt and computer-generated imagery; an oil painting that uses a flayed animal carcass ( la Rembrandt, Soutine, and Bacon) hanging among meat hooks and chains to comment on the low-carb diet mania. Many of the best pieces are relatively simple, straightforward, and traditional. Jim Radford goes for unadorned realism with Masai, a graceful, beautifully detailed wax sculpture, a foot or so tall, of an African hunter with a spear resting on his shoulders. The photograph Where Acorns Come From is Nancy Doyle's subtle take on an "old Florida" landscape, with an oak and palm trees captured in sepia tones. And three small collages by Janet Gold are wonderfully disorienting -- she reassembles photographic fragments of houses, canals, boats, and the like using skewed perspectives that render them simultaneously alien and familiar. If Artbeat were awarding a Best in Show, it would go to Eastern Star by Trina Renee Nicklas, who uses a rich palette of gray charcoals and acrylics for a remarkably expressive image of a tug boat pulling a much larger ship. The show is slated to remain on display in the institute's Mark K. Wheeler Gallery through October 7, although that run may be extended to compensate for the delayed opening. (The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale is at 1799 SE 17th St.Cswy., Fort Lauderdale, 954-463-3000.) -- Michael Mills

Now on Display

Two Views: The logo rules! We're used to late capitalism's distinctive images of consumption, but we don't notice that we too are increasingly becoming codified -- and that's the whole point. What happens when life itself is standardized? Using photo collage and symbol instructions, Arnaldo Simn's work in this studio show invites a reflection on how we perceive our actions and identity in a world increasingly design-homogeneous. Also on display among the nine resident artists of this new collective is photographer Pedro Portal's installation in which the female body, water, blue, and sky all go together. Introverted and sensual images they are. Portal is ready for more overt unleashing of the female body. Look for this line, wrapped around a chest on the floor: "Whenever you go to the sea, I'll tell you a secret." (Through September 20, 801 Art Studios, 801 SW Third Ave., Miami. By appointment at 786-314-5443)


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