Culturebeat 2009 | Arts & Entertainment | South Florida

Landscapes From the Age of Impressionism

Through May 10 at the Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach. Call 561-832-5196, or visit

This small but satisfying show includes just over three dozen French and American paintings that form a sort of encapsulated history of the subject, drawn from the collection of the Brooklyn Museum. There are some big names here — Renoir, Manet, Pissarro, and Courbet among the Frenchmen; Childe Hassam, William Glackens, and John Singer Sargent among the Americans. And there's a handful of to-the-point wall panels to provide context, tracing the movement from its mid-19th-century beginnings in France through its evolution and on to its American manifestations in the early 20th Century. Be warned, though: If you're among those for whom one landscape looks pretty much like the next, there's nothing here likely to convert you. If you're already a believer, however, you'll find plenty of sustenance.

"Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities"

Through May 3 at the Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach. Call 561-832-5196, or visit

As the title indicates, the pairing of Adams and O'Keeffe is a natural. But this is the first time the work of these two 20th-century titans has been presented side by side. It includes more than 40 O'Keeffe paintings and more than 50 Adams photographs. It's an extraordinary, not-to-be-missed exhibition.

"NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith"

Through May 24 at the Miami Art Museum, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami. Call 305-375-3000, or visit

This show is freighted with many of the religious beliefs of those who have migrated to South Florida from distant shores. The sprawling show corrals together 50 works by 33 artists in an arresting variety of media, ranging from sculpture to photography, assemblage, video, and performance. NeoHooDoo includes a mind-jarring range of depictions of spirituality that will bring you back to plumb its enigmatic depths.


Through April 14 at the Dot Fiftyone Gallery, 51 NW 36th St., Miami. Call 305-573-9994, or visit

Pancho Luna is no stranger to yanking perfection from the jaws of chaos. The artist often tinkers on multiple series of works at the same time, allowing his cranial crankshaft to intuitively fire the connective rods linking disparate elements of his art. The result of his cerebral shenanigans is on display in "Bazaar" at Dot Fiftyone Gallery, where Luna's pristine installations and pieces combine to reveal a witty and inventive mind.

"People, Places, and Things"

Through April 4 at the Dina Mitrani Gallery, 2620 NW Second Ave., Miami. Call 786-486-7248, or visit

Peggy Levinson Nolan's path from the projects to her first solo show at an art gallery went something like this: marriage, seven kids, dreams of becoming a photographer, shoplifting a lot of film. From there, the South Florida local taught herself to shoot and print pictures, stole more film, moved out of the projects and returned to college, got divorced, got pierced up, graduated from Florida International University, and stole some more film. Through it all, Nolan has never stopped shooting pictures. The result is this staggeringly impressive photography exhibit.

Naked Women Fully Clothed

Poet Muriel Rukeseyer once asked "What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?" If the opening-weekend audience at Naked Women Fully Clothed is any indicator, the world would share a hearty laugh. This production by the Women's Theatre Project is a series of shorts that, at their best, examine women's lives honestly and with a wink and, at their worst, indulge in subjects that are redundant or uninspired. One of the ill-fated sketches, "The Meeting," falls back on lesbian, Jewish, and feminist stereotypes in an attempt to elicit politically incorrect laughs. Another sketch, "Lorraine," pits a woman calling about her car insurance claim against a customer-service representative. Many have dealt with the hassle, but if you want the audience to want to relive it, the writing better be damned funny and creative. It's not. Not even one of the top performers of the evening, Lela Elam, playing Lorraine, could pull it off. Luckily, Elam's talents are utilized elsewhere, like in "I Am Pastrami," in which she compares womanhood to the deli meat, or "Lemonade," in which she relates tales of lost lesbian love to a class of young girls through unsubtle but funny subtexts. Other highlights include "Big Fake Breasts," which evaluates the empowering quality of having huge knockers (or wearing a Wonderbra), and "Isn't This the Truth," in which the company shares the war-zone quality of public restrooms (not a new subject for women, but the actors offer a hilarious delivery nevertheless). Erica K. Landau

"Stan Slutsky: The Shape of Things"

Slutsky is that rare creature these days, a contemporary practitioner of op art, a style that enjoyed its heyday in the mid-'60s. Op art, short for optical art, traffics in illusion — the illusion of movement and of space as generated by the use of geometric forms and the precise manipulation of color. Slutsky, a Pittsburgh native who studied at Ohio's Youngstown University before settling in South Florida in the early 1980s, is a master at it, and it's not surprising to learn that as a child, he was fascinated with magicians and magic acts. His best work, like that of such well-known op artists as Hungarian Victor Vasarely and England's Bridget Riley, prompts a quizzical "How did he do that?" reaction. In his capable hands, a style that quickly came and went becomes a noble tradition well worth preserving. Michael Mills

A Doll's House

The proto-feminist statement A Doll's House, by Henrik Ibsen, is quite powerful enough. It needs little amplification between the page and the stage. Unfortunately, this production finds Nora Helmer — the play's slowly liberated protagonist — played by Margery Lowe in a frenzy of dramatic overachievement. She is never quite believable and never anywhere near likable; in fact, you're more interested in seeing her silenced than freed. A shame too, because this production — with lovely turns from Gregg Weiner and Nanique Gheridian and a gorgeous belle epoque set by Michael Amico — could have been great. Brandon K. Thorp

"George Segal: Street Scenes"

There are 13 life-sized plaster casts of the human figure in this mini-retrospective — sometimes alone, often in pairs or groups, usually in public places re-created using found objects. Such was the approach taken by Segal, who died in 2000 at age 75, since the early 1960s, when he began producing the sculptures on which he built his reputation. This marks the first time an exhibition has taken an in-depth look at the artist's preoccupation with urban scenarios, specifically those inspired by his native New York. The works are a thicket of paradoxes, set in public spaces where utterly private moments are revealed, as much defined by human absence as by human presence. Like contemporary Duane Hanson, whose work Segal's is sometimes compared with, he was ultimately a documenter of despair, as this exceptional little show adroitly demonstrates. Michael Mills

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