"Things" in art that are worth seeing

arts / Article

Anton Kannemeyer's "Very, Very Good."

The Fredric Snitzer Gallery has decided on an unorthodox way to deliver its summer group show. The works of 19 artists, some of whom are the most prominent names in contemporary art today, have been fashioned together under the title “Things Beyond Our Control.” It has been curated by Andrew Reed, who was born in 1995, which means he is 17, taking the label ‘emerging curator’ to a new level.

Some of the pieces here are simply some of the best being shown, period. Take for instance the Triptych from German painting star Jonathan Meese, three panels featuring his version of Mussolini, from 2003, an important and interesting piece. Following a similar subject matter, one of the four locally bred artists being exhibited, Bert Rodriguez, has “5 Stages,” C-prints of the artist dressed as various fascists tyrants. There is a wonderful, disconcerting painting from Greek-born Lucas Samaras, from 1962, depicting a headless, naked torso laying in the woods – it’s hard to turn your eyes away from this one. Also of note, an early black-and-white etching from Kara Walker; and “Pearly” from the great video artist Marilyn Minter, a print showing a woman eating pearls.

Jonathan Meese's "Triptych" of Mussolini.

Two 2012 works from Carlos Vega, a young Spanish artist who shows with New York’s Jack Shainman, are just lovely, especially “All That Is Hidden,” crafted from stone, stamps and oil paint. Another Shainman artist, Anton Kannemeyer, has two text-based, humorous and highly political drawings, likely the most memorable pieces in the show. Oh, but there are also pieces from Man Ray, Rashid Johnson, Keith Haring and Hank Willis Thomas.

The visuals here are remarkable, although the thread of “Things Beyond Our Control” is not so clear. The gallery notes posit that “in this specific historical moment, the works in the show raise a slightly darker prospect – that what is beyond our control is specifically our ability to imagine, in a compelling way, any sort of ‘beyond’ at all.” Not all of these works seem to fit into that vein – or, on the other hand, almost all art could fall into such a category. But the important thing here is that this is a show of some very fine art.

“Things Beyond Our Control” runs through Aug. 13 at the Fredric Snitzer Gallery, 2247 NW 1st Pl., Miami; 305-448-8976; snitzer.com.

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