"Selections From the Isadore and Kelly Friedman Bequest"

When you hear that it's part of the permanent collection, "Selections From the Isadore and Kelly Friedman Bequest" just seems sort of lazy. It feels as if the museum director asked, "By the way, what are we gonna put in the far gallery while the Trova retrospective is up?" and the chief curator shrugged and suggested, "Well, we've got some stuff lying around in storage." Before you shrug it off, consider this: Some of the works in this collection are iconic, like that picture that launched a thousand post cards -- the one of the coifed young man claiming a passionate kiss in front of the Parisian Cafe(Le Baiser de l'Hotel de Ville, Paris by Robert Doisneau). And there are other works by artists who are legendary: Lautrec, Leger, Dubuffet, Stieglitz, Hopper, and Lichtenstein among them. From the looks of the Friedmans' collection of late 19th- and 20th-century French and American art, the collectors had a particular interest in photography as the art form grew. Beginning with the earliest work, Petite Rade de Cette Mediterranean, an 1858 albumen print by Gustave le Gray, the exhibit moves into modernity with Alexander Liberman's vintage C-type print Picasso in His Studio and into post-modernity with fashion photographer Helmut Newton's gelatin silver prints of nude models. Senior curator Wendy M. Blazier reflects on the collection, stating on the wall placards that the couple learned about art as they collected, which led to "an instinctive recognition of work that is impressive and of the highest quality." In other words, it's more than just the airing of some fusty acquisitions. (Through June 3 at the Boca Museum, 501 Plaza Real, Mizner Park, Boca Raton. Call 561-392-2500.) -- Marya Summers
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