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Personal Best Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2005 - The Manly Midget

If a list of recent shows at your art museum includes retrospectives of Miró and Nevelson, to say nothing of a startling arrangement of thrift-shop clothing by an artful duo called Guerra de la Paz, you've had a good year. Samantha Salzinger, curator of exhibitions for the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, is bringing the once-unremarkable museum into the artistic mainstream.

Salzinger's favorite art is, yes, kind of carny. A 2003 show, Pamela Joseph's "The Sideshow of the Absurd" (last year's Best Solo Art Exhibition), drew heavily on carnival culture and freak shows. "Joseph had an interesting take on what she called freaks," Salzinger says. "They're like someone in a fairy tale who's gone through a test in life. The rest of us all walk around fearing something terrible will happen to us. They live with it."

Photographer Diane Arbus had a similar vision. "Her pictures of a midget," Salzinger says, "are more about him being a man than a midget."

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