Art Museum Round-Up

From MOCA Jacksonville to the Pérez Art Museum Miami, preview six must-see exhibitions at some of Florida's most celebrated art museums

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An expansive exhibition at MOCA Jacksonville takes visitors back to 1970s manhattan 

Because the Museum of Contemporary (MOCA) Jacksonville will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2024, senior curator Ylva Rouse decided it was the right time to reminisce about an extraordinary period of creative experimentation in one of the most dynamic art capitals of the world. The result? A Walk on the Wild Side: ’70s New York in the Norman E. Fisher Collection.  

“The way societal concerns are expressed in today’s art, and the exploration of how we inhabit, perceive, and negotiate space as information, owe much to the development of art and exhibitions as a critical form that took place during this time,” explains Rouse.  

The aforementioned Fisher, who grew up in Jacksonville, became a supporter of the arts and a friend to many celebrated creatives after being introduced to the New York art world in 1969. His collection, comprising nearly 700 pieces, not only illustrates this dynamic decade in America, but also how one man’s interest in the arts blossomed into a profound passion. Through June 30, 2024 —Riki Altman-Yee

Tamara Kostianovsky dissects and re-envisions nature at The Baker Museum/ArtisNaples

For the exhibition Tamara Kostianovsky: Botanical Revolution at The Baker Museum/Artis—Naples, Kostianovsky’s first exhibition in the Southeastern United States, the Brooklyn-based artist worked with The Baker’s museum director and chief curator, Courtney McNeil, to select a broad representation of her body of work. What resulted is a collection of pastel tree stumps,  dangling farm animal carcasses, and embroidered tapestries, which were created in the wake of an inspiring visit to Naples Botanical Garden and Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.  

All the aforementioned works are made of discarded fabrics and layered with intrigue. Among the fibers are questions of how we violently treat Mother Nature and promote consumption. As the artist puts it: “When things are both beautiful and horrific, that’s what I’m after.” Through April 7, 2024 Jill Cole

Nora Maité Nieves explores new territory at West Palm Beach’s Norton Museum of Art

Architectural details, reimagined as abstract visuals rendered in rich textures and bright colors, often help to convey Nora Maité Nieves’ exploration of identity.  

Since the artist was born in Puerto Rico and now typically considers Brooklyn her home base, her previous works largely drew from those locales. But staying in West Palm Beach as part of the Norton Museum of Art’s 2023-24 Artist in Residence program inspired Nieves in new directions, all of which are explored in Clouds in the Expanded Field, her first solo exhibition in a major United States museum. 

“Clouds are ephemeral and not bound by anything,” says Nieves. “They move freely without borders in the landscape. I hope this exhibition will bring joy and captivate the visitors with a sense of belonging and freedom.” Through April 18, 2024 R.J. Eckelson

Gary Simmons speaks his mind through a buzzy retrospective at the Pérez Art Museum Miami

Racism is as pervasive in our visual culture as it’s ever been, and Gary Simmons has been shining the spotlight on it, along with questions of class and identity, since the late 1980s. Now, in an exhibition co-organized with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is presenting Gary Simmons: Public Enemy, the artist’s most in-depth presentation to date.  

Along with various large-scale wall drawings created on-site, this exhibition includes approximately 70 sculptures, paintings, photographs, works on paper, and installations, organized in sections ranging in themes from “miseducation” to “erasure” to “recurrence.” 

“Simmons compels us to confront our shared past while embracing the possibilities of our collective future,” says PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans. “[He is] a powerful reminder that art has the remarkable ability to weave together important narratives of our time.” Through April 28, 2024 —Jill Cole

The Orlando Museum of Art explores motherhood—and all its joys and sorrows—in a new exhibition 

The person who gave us life has been represented in many different ways since the beginning of recorded history yet defining her is a complicated endeavor. To that end, the Orlando Museum of Art presents A Mother, Possibly, a collection of works in a variety of mediums from eclectic artists worldwide that invites visitors to explore how mothers have been portrayed through the ages.  

Partially curated in a salon style, wherein the artworks are grouped together on a single wall, the exhibition illustrates mothers as symbols of creation, compassionate companions, and parents struggling with the burdens of domestic duties.  

“As viewers navigate this exhibition, they are encouraged to consider their own expectations, reflect on images that are familiar or challenging to them, and contemplate what may be missing,” says OMA curator Coralie Claeysen-Gleyzon. “The viewer is challenged to explore the connections between the various artworks on view, as well as their connections to works they may know from contexts beyond the walls of this museum.” Through May 5, 2024 R.J. Eckelson

At the Sarasota Art Museum, artist Judy Pfaff touches on a memorable storm and its aftermath 

It is entirely logical to presume that Sarasota Art Museum’s Judy Pfaff: Picking up the Pieces will hit close to home for any Floridian. After all, Pfaff got the idea for the massive installation after watching news coverage of Hurricane Ian in 2022.  

“Seeing with my own eyes the major impact Ian had on the land and homes completely shook me,” she says. “This exhibition is the result of that experience.” 

As a carpenter, welder, printer, painter, designer and glassblower, Pfaff expertly employs myriad materials to create her works, which range from hand-painted and digitally manipulated images to sculptural environments with surreal themes. For this solo show, her first since 2017, the artist has fashioned two- and three-dimensional works complementing the Sarasota Art Museum’s unique architecture and 30-foot ceiling.  

“I used ordinary materials and natural detritus to distill what I saw during my visit to Florida,” says Pfaff. Organizers promise visitors they can expect an extraordinary spectacle. Through March 24, 2024 —Jill Cole

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