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Best Of 2004

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Best Of :: Arts & Entertainment

Best Museum in Palm Beach

When the Boca Raton Museum of Art reopened in its spectacular new 44,000-square-foot facility in Mizner Park, it pulled out all the stops. The inaugural show was the sweeping retrospective "Picasso: Passion and Creation -- The Last Thirty Years," which raised a question: Could the museum sustain such a high level of quality? The answer, three years later, is a resounding "Yes!" The museum ended 2001 with "Arman: The Passage of Objects," a show as impressive as the Picasso. And under the stewardship of Executive Director George S. Bolge, formerly of Fort Lauderdale's Museum of Art, the Boca Museum has continued to deliver. Along with the annual "All Florida Juried Competition and Exhibition," there have been a pair of Chagall exhibitions, a show of recent work by Fort Lauderdale-based artist Matthew Carone, Richard Pousette-Dart and David Remfrey shows, and an ambitious exhibition showcasing ten contemporary Latin American artists. In the past year alone, Bolge and his diligent staff have continued their tradition of showcasing art from local private collections, as well as giving us "Frank Lloyd Wright: Windows of the Darwin D. Martin House" and the recent corporate show from the UBS Art Collection. As if all this weren't enough, the museum still maintains rotating selections from its extensive permanent collections in its second-floor galleries. Readers' Choice: Norton Museum of Art

Best Radio Show

WLRN-FM (91.3) Sounds of the Caribbean has been a presence on South Florida's airwaves since 1979, when none other than Bob Marley convinced host Clint O'Neil that he could be an important voice of island culture in Miami, a city that could be called the capital of the Caribbean. Until recently, O'Neil's Monday-through-Friday, late-night broadcasts were supplemented with two weekend editions hosted by Kevin "Ital-K" Smith, but Smith's early Sunday and Monday morning shows were replaced with BBC News by station management in October. It's a shame Smith's quick wit and sharp British accent is no longer heard, but O'Neil is still on from 2 to 7 a.m. Sundays, laying down tracks from nearly every tropical genre, from soca to rocksteady and dancehall through Afro-Cuban. Through the Internet, the station reaches listeners worldwide. The show breaks up the canned chatter and carefully calculated playlists that rule the corporately controlled medium of radio today.

Best Group Art Exhibition

The Pissarro dynasty aside, it's not often that you find more than one generation of artistic brilliance in the same family. The Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art took advantage of this art-world quirk last year with "The Smiths: Tony, Kiki, Seton," the first exhibition to encompass works by minimalist artist Tony Smith and two of his daughters. Dad was first an architect, then an art patron -- his collection included works by such abstract expressionists as Pollock and Rothko -- and finally an artist himself. The mathematical precision of architecture is prominent in Tony's works, including the huge The Keys to Given! (the title comes from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake), a large, black, steel sculpture you can actually walk through. It's too bad Tony didn't live long enough to see daughters Kiki and Seton hit their stride as artists. Kiki's fascination with the human body is evident in media as diverse as metal sculpture, ink drawing, and mixed media. The Paris-based Seton, in sharp contrast with both father and sister, works in photography, specifically large Cibachrome photographs that are, intentionally, ever-so-slightly out of focus. This beautifully assembled show, including more than 60 works created over the course of half a century, is a bracing reminder of the many ways artistic talent blossoms and flourishes.

Best Group Art Exhibition

The Pissarro dynasty aside, it's not often that you find more than one generation of artistic brilliance in the same family. The Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art took advantage of this art-world quirk last year with "The Smiths: Tony, Kiki, Seton," the first exhibition to encompass works by minimalist artist Tony Smith and two of his daughters. Dad was first an architect, then an art patron -- his collection included works by such abstract expressionists as Pollock and Rothko -- and finally an artist himself. The mathematical precision of architecture is prominent in Tony's works, including the huge The Keys to Given! (the title comes from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake), a large, black, steel sculpture you can actually walk through. It's too bad Tony didn't live long enough to see daughters Kiki and Seton hit their stride as artists. Kiki's fascination with the human body is evident in media as diverse as metal sculpture, ink drawing, and mixed media. The Paris-based Seton, in sharp contrast with both father and sister, works in photography, specifically large Cibachrome photographs that are, intentionally, ever-so-slightly out of focus. This beautifully assembled show, including more than 60 works created over the course of half a century, is a bracing reminder of the many ways artistic talent blossoms and flourishes.

Best Artist Best Solo Art Exhibition

For the past five years that she has lived in South Florida, Carol Prusa has been quietly going about her business. And that business is turning out some of the area's most distinctive art. Prusa, who teaches painting at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, specializes in imagery that looks as if it's from some sort of alien anatomy textbook: pale, ethereal forms that suggest both plants and animals, rendered in a near-monochromatic palette that includes such ingredients as gesso, sulfur, graphite, and silver. Fittingly, she studied biocommunication arts and medical illustration at the University of Illinois before going on to earn an MFA in painting with a minor in drawing at Drake University in Iowa. Since arriving in Florida, Prusa has accumulated an impressive array of awards for her work, from the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood and the Boca Raton Museum of Art, most notably. Her solo shows have been at Palm Beach Community College's Eissey campus, Broward Community College's Pembroke Pines campus, and the Coral Springs Art Museum.

Best Solo Art Exhibition "The Sideshow of the Absurd" There are installations, and then there are installations. And then there is Pamela Joseph's take on the art form that people either love or love to hate. Joseph swept into town in February 2003 with "The Sideshow of the Absurd," which converted the first floor of the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood into a series of interconnected installations and supplementary materials such as banners, sketches, and spotlights casting carny come-ons onto the walls. The Colorado-based artist draws on carnival culture and freak shows for her subject matter, which she then transforms into sly commentaries on contemporary American pop culture, usually with a feminist slant tempered with a sense of humor. Many of the "pieces" are interactive, not to mention wired for sound. Even the exhibition's catalog is outrageously over-the-top, a garish volume filled with photographs, drawings, essays, an interview with the artist, and an introduction by artist Larry Rivers, who died not long after contributing to this traveling show. The catalog also includes an interactive CD and a batch of temporary tattoos that play off the show's themes. What better way to celebrate the innate sideshow-like character of South Florida?

Best Artist Best Solo Art Exhibition

For the past five years that she has lived in South Florida, Carol Prusa has been quietly going about her business. And that business is turning out some of the area's most distinctive art. Prusa, who teaches painting at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, specializes in imagery that looks as if it's from some sort of alien anatomy textbook: pale, ethereal forms that suggest both plants and animals, rendered in a near-monochromatic palette that includes such ingredients as gesso, sulfur, graphite, and silver. Fittingly, she studied biocommunication arts and medical illustration at the University of Illinois before going on to earn an MFA in painting with a minor in drawing at Drake University in Iowa. Since arriving in Florida, Prusa has accumulated an impressive array of awards for her work, from the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood and the Boca Raton Museum of Art, most notably. Her solo shows have been at Palm Beach Community College's Eissey campus, Broward Community College's Pembroke Pines campus, and the Coral Springs Art Museum.

Best Solo Art Exhibition "The Sideshow of the Absurd" There are installations, and then there are installations. And then there is Pamela Joseph's take on the art form that people either love or love to hate. Joseph swept into town in February 2003 with "The Sideshow of the Absurd," which converted the first floor of the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood into a series of interconnected installations and supplementary materials such as banners, sketches, and spotlights casting carny come-ons onto the walls. The Colorado-based artist draws on carnival culture and freak shows for her subject matter, which she then transforms into sly commentaries on contemporary American pop culture, usually with a feminist slant tempered with a sense of humor. Many of the "pieces" are interactive, not to mention wired for sound. Even the exhibition's catalog is outrageously over-the-top, a garish volume filled with photographs, drawings, essays, an interview with the artist, and an introduction by artist Larry Rivers, who died not long after contributing to this traveling show. The catalog also includes an interactive CD and a batch of temporary tattoos that play off the show's themes. What better way to celebrate the innate sideshow-like character of South Florida?

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Best Museum in Palm Beach: Boca Raton Museum of Art Readers' Choice: Norton Museum of Art

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