Art was in the news this month in a way nobody would have chosen. In Charlottesville, Va., white supremacist protests against the removal of a statue honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee descended into deadly violence. A wave of removals of similar statues ensued, along with a national debate on the relationship between art, memory, and justice.
Pinellas residents will be able to join that contentious debate at a panel on art and extremism being organized by the the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. We will offer one important fact here — while the monuments in question are sometimes described as historical artifacts of the Civil War, many — including the Lee statue in Charlottesville — werenäó»t created until more than a half-century later.
Meanwhile, in Florida and the rest of the art world, life goes on. In a much more lighthearted statue controversy, Derek Jeter is having trouble getting rid of a publicly funded sculpture in the stadium of the Florida Marlins äóñ a team he recently purchased with a coalition of investors.
Two major art exhibits are opening soon in South Florida. Justin Brice Guarigliaäó»sæ”Mapping the Anthropocene” opens on Sept. 5ææin West Palm Beachäó»s Norton Museum of Art. Guarigliaäó»s art uses satellite images of melting ice sheets as source material for abstract and understated photo-canvasses, making this showäó»s location in South Florida particularly apropos. Guariglia is also a literal walking rebuttal to climate change deniers, with carbon and temperature charts tattooed on his arms.
Miamiäó»s BassæMuseum of Art has been under renovation since 2015, with its reopening already delayed twice. It finally reopens in October with a retrospective from Swiss postmodernist Ugo Rondinone. The mixed-media installations on display will include everything from uncannily lifelike clowns to windows opening onto technicolor infinity.
In Tampa Bay, theater season is getting underway, and Creative Loafingäó»s Mark Leib has put together a thorough previewæof everything coming down the pike. Leibäó»s top picks include The Threepenny Opera, Fun Homeæand local playwright Sheila Cowleyäó»s Flying.
National and Beyond
Hurricane Harvey has done serious damage to some Houston museums and art institutions, though major sites including the Menil Collection and Rothko Chapel are reportedly relatively unscathed.
Finally, as if all too aware of how badly we need some positivity, Pantone has announced a new shade of purple honoring Prince, the beloved musician who died in 2016. Itäó»s called Love Symbol #2.