Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Another Good Reason to Live in Miami: Two New Exhibitions at the Frost

"The best artist is the one who makes his art a science. And the best scientist is the one who makes an art of his science." ~ Carlos Luna

If I ever lived in the Miami region I would keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening at the Patricia and Philip Frost Art Museum. This coming weekend there will be an opening reception for two shows featuring artists with international connections, Carlos Luna and Richard Sexton.

Cuban-born Carlos Luna has been making art from early youth; he recalls making a painting of his mother at the age of seven. His talent was recognized and nurtured from an early age. He attended art schools while growing up and was winning awards by the age of 15. By age 20 he had already become well-known in his native country, but facing limited opportunities in Cuba he emigrated to Puebla, Mexico, where he lived until 2002 whereupon he moved with his family to Miami.

Luna's work is being featured in a show called The Green Machine: The Art of Carlos Luna.

In another part of the gallery you will find Richard Sexton's Creole World: Photographs of New Orleans and the Latin Caribbean Sphere.

Both Carlos Luna and Richard Sexton will attend the opening reception for both exhibitions on Saturday, June 13 (4:00-7:00 p.m.) at Florida International University, 10975 S.W. 17 Street, an event that is free and open to the public.

Richard Sexton's journey began forty years ago when he left home in a Datsun station wagon to explore Latin America and the Caribbean. Many years later his adventure would manifest into a photographic journey capturing the architectural and urban similarities of Latin Caribbean cities throughout the interconnected Creole world: Haiti, Colombia, Argentina, Cuba, Ecuador, Panama and New Orleans.

The storyline for Sexton's exhibition reminds me a little of Al Milgrom's late-in-life Dinkytown Uprising, in which Milgrom's film footage of 45 years ago became the basis of an important documentary. A fermentation period of several decades may be a prerequisite for truly great art as well as wine.

Carlos Luna is part of a generation of artists who embrace their heritage and traditions but have reinvented themselves along the way. The exhibition is organized by guest curator Dr. Barbaro Martinez Ruiz and showcases Luna's cross-pollination of influences from living and working in Cuba, Mexico and now in Miami.

The exhibition spans 5,000 square feet in the museum's Grand Galleries, featuring more than 120 pieces, most shown for the first time and some created in new mediums the artist has been experimenting with during the past four years, including: Jacquard tapestries and works on metal sheets with patina and aluminum leaf, created at Magnolia Editions; Talavera ceramic plates created in Puebla, Mexico; mixed media on paper/on wood; and his large-scale oil on canvas paintings.

To see more of Luna's work visit

Sexton believes the Miami setting for this show couldn't be more suitable. “Miami is a place of great cultural relevancy now,” said Richard Sexton. “So many Miamians come from the Caribbean and Latin America, and this work is an homage to their Creole world – its sensual architecture, its bold tropical colors and foliage, and vibrant street life. Beautiful, seductive, exotic and irresistible.”

While growing up my family took several vacations to Florida. What I remember most is hot sand and sunburns on the beach. If I had the opportunity today, at the top of my to do list would be to take in the Frost Art Museum--FIU as often as I were able.

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Meantime, art goes on all around you. Engage it.

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