December Second Saturday Art Walk Guide: Street Thugs, Existential Autopsies, and Brain Toads

Categories: Art
George Sanchez-Calderon
Crack Pipe
Although the aerosol stench, peelers dangling on stripper poles jutting from food trucks and nude pig in a poke performances are long gone, this weekend's Second Saturday art crawl still has plenty to intoxicate art-addicted crowds.

Beginning at 6 p.m., offerings range from jumping brain circle jerks to a shutterbug's Pop retrophilia. It's the season when paintings--art's top commodity--seems to dominate the commercial gallery scene. You'll also discover scores of fresh graff murals peppering the nabe.

At the house of Rubell, explore an expansive thirty year survey of America's top contemporary names. Later you can take a gander at rising talent at the Fredric Snitzer Gallery or the Primary Projects space. In short a surfeit of exhibits left over from last weekend's orgy of excess represents a tidy gauge of the best Miami offers during the year. Here are this month's picks:

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Here Lies Georges Wildenstein
For those who missed Miru Kim's highly touted Basel opus in which the artist mucked around nude with two hogs liberated from a Hialeah slaughterhouse don't fret, this group show still delivers the bacon with some of the best stuff you'll see this weekend, hands down. The exhibit is named for an influential Parisian dealer of Jewish descent who was accused of trafficking art with the Nazis and stripped of his French citizenship in 1940. True to the show's title, plenty of work with subversive content is on view. Check out Michael Vasquez's Totem, a stunning, large-scale oil on canvas depicting street thugs flashing gang signs. Manny Prieres also commands attention with his pentagram drawing depicting interlocking switchblades, as does Kenton Parker with his engraved MAC-10.

Primary Projects (4141 NE Second Ave., Ste. 104, Miami). Call 954-801-3945 or visit

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Travelers in Time
Back when the old masters were slinging paint if they had a beef with their royal patrons they had to keep their beaks closed or risk losing their head so they employed stealth to convey criticism instead. At the Center for Visual Communication, Lluis Barba's large-scale photos plays upon these notions by hijacking pop cultural imagery and consumer branding the artist fuses with old school masterworks to comment on hot button social issues of today. The space is also featuring imposing steel sculptures by Herbert Mehler that till the furrows between the organic and geometric while giving the impression they might take flight with the slightest breeze.

Center for Visual Communication, 541 NW 27th Street, Miami. Call 305-571-1415 or visit

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This compelling solo, featuring over two dozen paintings by Jason Shawn Alexander, a Los Angeles-based Expressionist figurative painter and self-confessed master of existential woe, open a window into a tense, psychologically freighted world where the artist gives the impression he is conducting emotional autopsies of his subjects rather than rendering traditional portraits of them. Alexander's discomfiting canvases are theatrical in nature and ominous in mood and created in a gritty, stain covered and drippy style that brings to mind a suppurating wound.  He is also a gifted illustrator known for his work with Dark Horse Comics, Warner Brothers and DC Comics and his exhibit coincides with the publication of a new book named after the show.

101/Exhibit, 101 NE 40th St Miami. Call 305-573-6101 or visit

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Thom Wheeler Castillo
Thom Wheeler Castillo

Actually, American Exuberance was a great highlight during Basel week. I'm going back for a third viewing.

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