The next time someone you know whines about how lackluster the South Florida art world is, give 'em a good smack and recite the list of artists who have had solo shows here in the past year alone. It includes established giants (Andrew Wyeth at the Boca Museum, Robert Rauschenberg at the Miami Art Museum, Louise Nevelson and Joan Miró at Hollywood's Art and Culture Center) and lesser names of exceptional promise (Michael Joo at the Palm Beach Institute, Zhang Huan at the Norton, Ignacio Iturria at the Boca Museum). They're all outshone, however, by "Louise Bourgeois: Stitches in Time," which enjoyed an all-too-brief run at the Museum of Contemporary Art. While not exactly a career retrospective for Bourgeois, who at 94 is still active, the exhibition was an outstanding look at an artist whose vast output has come to be seen as more and more important over the past quarter of a century. "Stitches in Time" was a landmark show for a landmark artist.

Art exhibitions with a gimmick run the risk of being too... well, gimmicky. Which is why "Birdspace: A Post-Audubon Artists' Aviary," last summer at the Norton, was especially amazing. For one thing, it was a large show that included more than 70 works by 50 artists. For another, it paid homage to an artist of great historical importance, the peerless John James Audubon. The art was limited to works connected in some way to our fine feathered friends, but beyond that, anything was fair game. And while most of the artists were Americans born in the mid-20th Century, their art was all over the map. A few stuck to fairly traditional media; others pushed boundaries and political hot buttons. Despite all these things, or maybe even because of them, it was an enormously satisfying exhibition in which an array of often fascinating parts added up to an even greater whole.

Sometimes, if you come from New York, Boston, San Francisco, Bogotá, or Buenos Aires, it seems that South Florida is a cultural wasteland. But then you visit the Norton. It's a beautiful piece of property located a stone's throw from the Intracoastal Waterway. There, you can immerse yourself in the work of Duane Hansen, Jose Bédia, Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackson Pollack, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall, and Paul Klee, among others. Indeed, the permanent collection includes more than 5,000 pieces. Founded in 1941 by an industrialist named Ralph Hubbard Norton, the Art Deco/neoclassical gem has grown like crazy in the past 12 years. It doubled in size in 1993, then added a wing in 2003 that included 14 new galleries -- and almost doubled the gallery space again. It is, in our view, the one place in this overcrowded subtropical morass where you can lose yourself in the great thoughts of great thinkers. You say you live in Fort Lauderdale or Hollywood or Boca Raton and you've never been there? Well, dumbbell, go! Maybe jump on the TriRail and pack a bag lunch. It'll be a trip you will never, ever regret, no matter how many times you do it. During the summer, the Norton is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. General admission is $8 for adults.

There's a reason so many artists resort to naming their works Untitled. Titling a work of art can be almost as tricky as creating it. You want to be clever but not too clever, striking the right balance between the evocative and the descriptive, between poetry and prose. The same goes for exhibitions, and curators don't have the luxury of leaving one without a moniker. That's why "The Inspired Moustache: An Exhibition of Diverse Expressions of Salvador Dalí through Books and Memorabilia from the Collection of Rik Pavlescak" seems to be just about perfect. The "inspired moustache" part is the poetry: an image that all at once summons the artist's appearance along with his affectations and his maniacal creativity. The rest of the title is the prose, precise and descriptive to an almost comical extreme. Best of all, it slyly alludes to Dalí's penchant for such flamboyant titles as Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate One Second Before Waking Up and Soft Construction with Boiled Beans: Premonition of Civil War.

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