The main gallery of the Art and Culture Center in Hollywood is currently occupied, magnificently, by "Justin H. Long: Bow Movement," a show that muses on the idea of whether sailboat racing is as much an art as it is an almost guaranteed way of losing money. It's one of three very different exhibitions by Miami-based artists that complement one another beautifully.
The massive wooden frame of a roughly 60-foot-long sailboat hangs in the center of the main display space, summoning up the boat it is meant to suggest as well as, perhaps, the skeleton of a big whale. Walking under and among its components, you certainly get what the show's introduction describes as "that feeling of satisfaction, cutting through the water, as fast and efficiently as possible."
Several cases display the ephemera of sailing: One has a 1973 tube of Marine Adhesive/Sealant 5200 — known among sailors simply as "5200" — a 3M innovation that revolutionized the marine industry, we're told, "by forever changing the way boats were manufactured and maintained." Another case includes the 2010 jacket of Sir Russell Couff, a New Zealander whose long list of accomplishments includes winning the America's Cup four times.
One wall includes four stark ink-on-wood panels that capture key moments in sailing history (there is abundant wall text). Another has a historic boat sail spilling onto the floor, while nearby a neatly folded one rests on a pedestal. Four installations of short videos capture various aspects of the sport/art.
For this inlander who never even learned to swim before coming to South Florida 26 years ago, it was perhaps more than I'd ever thought I'd want or need to know about sailboat racing. There's no denying, however, that it's an exhilarating exhibition.
Even more exhilarating in its own way is the show that takes up the center's two middle galleries. "Alex Trimino: Luminous" is a sort of forest of latter-day totem poles — maybe a dozen of them — that combines neon light tubing with elements such as crochet, knitting, and weaving that filter the colored light.
You can wander freely among the piece's components, which provide a soft, almost eerie glow to the space. The neon tubing comes in various thicknesses and has various bumps and protrusions, and it's swathed in an impressively diverse variety of materials. It's a truly magical installation.
The third and final show, in what was once called the center's Project Room, is "Lori Nozick: Walkabout," essentially a wooden slat walkway, raised a foot or so off the floor. It runs the length of the space and then sort of doubles back on itself, and at the far end, there's a crudely drawn suggestion on the wall that the walkway goes on indefinitely.
The minimalist intro refers to "the concept of a passage, a journey through the wilderness that takes place as an adolescent or young adult" and goes on to characterize life as "a walkabout in which we continually explore the unknown in order to discover one's self in relationship to the universe." The installation reminds me of Nicolas Roeg's astonishing 1971 Australian film Walkabout, one of the finest of the past 50 years.