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"Looking at Art: A Primer"

Are you one of those who needs to ride the short bus to art school? "Looking at Art: A Primer" offers a crash course in art's elements and principles — 15 terms in all — taught by informational placards and exemplified by the masters. Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Joan Miró are among the artists demonstrating how such things as "line," "shape," and "repetition" come together in great art. Thanks to Crayola, we all know what "color" is. But Natvar Bhavsar's Bharga III gives us the big picture; his large field of graduated reds and yellows provides a lesson in intensity (purity of color) and value (light and dark). If you're one who makes the common mistake of using form and shape interchangeably, the exhibit will instruct you in the correct use of those terms, using the sculpture of Agustin Cárdenas and Joel Shapiro to exemplify the first term and the painting of Armando Morales, the latter. The 20 works that compose the exhibit range from pre-Columbian pottery to contemporary American photography, proof that art's elements and principles are universal and enduring. In a nook on the southeast side of the museum's main gallery, "Looking at Art" is keeping a low profile in the Education Gallery. Last time we checked, it wasn't even mentioned on the museum's website. The seeming secrecy heightens its charm, making it feel more like a discovery of a private display of treasures rather than anything as obvious as "exhibitionism." (Through June 22 at Boca Museum of Art, 501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. Call 561-392-2500.)

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