Chia's Pets

It’s not easy to make sense of the artwork of Sandro Chia. For instance, in 1979, he painted this idyllic, inscrutable scene: a goat grazes in a garden while a figure in black leather sits behind the animal with an arm stuck way into its anus. Another from around the same time opens onto a little girl playing the piano on a zebra’s hindquarters. Explicable or not, a ponderous gaze at these paintings -- with their neon colors and brazen broadstrokes -- electrifies the imagination.

Indeed, for those in need of some electro-art therapy, an exhibition of 200 paintings by Chia — plus seven bronze statues — is at the Boca Raton Museum of Art (501 Plaza Real, Boca) until January 13. The title of the showing, “God and Heroes,” underlines Chia’s artistic temperament. He’s the transfigurehead, so to speak, of the Transvanguardia movement in Italy, which committed itself to the heroic, mythical, and grandly metaphorical leitmotifs of pre-modern art — though not to the exclusion of barnyard proctology. Admission costs $8-20. Call 561-392-2500, or visit
Nov. 25-Jan. 19, 2007

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Penn Bullock