SunPost Best Of 2013-Arts


Best Alternative Museum
World Erotic Art Museum
1205 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
Just as colorful as her art, Naomi Wilzig curates her art museum with aplomb. Always on hand for a tour or an interesting anecdote on her collection, Wilzig’s enjoyment of her museum is evident. First time visitors will be amazed at the unusual collection of works featuring one of the largest private collections of erotic art in the world. Over 4,000 objects, paintings and sculpture, (some of them thousands of years old), include an original phallic prop from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, African fertility statues and a huge hand-carved Kama Sutra bed. Wilzig and her late husband traveled the world to collect these pieces. Definitely worth the $15 admission.

Best Cool Ticket in Town
Culture Shock Miami
Are you between the ages of 13 and 22 and attending junior hog, senior high or college? Then you can capitalize on a Miami-Dade County program known as Culture Shock Miami. These young residents can watch theater, dance, music and art shows and festivals for just a nominal admission all year long. Either buy the tickets online or got to the nearest Ticketmaster with proof of age. A little older or younger? Don’t feel left out; visit the website to find out how to score cheap or even free tickets to arts events all over Miami.

Best Philanthropist in the Arts
An anonymous benefactor has pledged $12 million in cash and $3 million in art to MAM, now known as PAMM, the future Perez Art Museum Miami. The gift comes with no strings attached. While the gift was not as substantial as that of other benefactors, we felt the fact this person has chosen to remain anonymous, shows true philanthropy. Bravo, anonymous art patron, bravo.

Best Art Complex (Miami)
561 NW 32nd Street, Miami
What started as a small artist cooperative in Coconut Grove has grown over the years to a two floor complex with 70 studios of in-residence working artists. There’s so much to see, it’s almost overwhelming. Candy wrapper-covered Barbies, life-size pencil sketches of couture, ceramic flowers, breathtaking watercolor nudes, paintings of flowers and beetles… it’s a lot to take in. But it’s amazing. There’s no better way to get acquainted with Miami’s thriving artist community than the Bakehouse.

Best Art Complex (Miami Beach)
South Florida Arts Center
800/810/924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach
ArtCenter/South Florida has served the community for 33 years on Lincoln Road by promoting local art and artists. Considered an important resource for Miami’s cultural life, the art center offers art classes and exhibitions for residents and visitors. With incredible artists working in a variety of media, it is the place to see art produced by young Miami artists. Additionally, this cornerstone of the Miami Beach arts community features numerous exhibits, classes and activities that place it in the forefront of creative life in the city.

Best Place to Take the Kids
Miami Children’s Museum
980 MacArthur Causeway, Miami
The amazing Miami Children’s Museum is dedicated to enriching the lives of all children by fostering a love of learning and enabling children to realize their high potential. Miami Children’s Museum also known as MiChiMu is a non-profit educational institution located on Watson Island, in the City of Miami.

Best Arty Kids Museum
The Young At Art Museum
751 SW 121st Ave., Davie
Young Art Museum (YAA) contains many exhibits created by contemporary artists directed at kids. In their state-of-the-art studios they offer the exciting opportunity, for children, to acquire new skills and techniques and the creative freedom to express ideas, feelings and dreams through art.

Best Incredible Art Museum
Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at FIU
10975 SW 17th St., Miami
Our SunPost team has chosen The Art Museum at Florida International University (TAM/FIU). Founded in 1977, it has grown to achieve official recognition as a major cultural institution of the State of Florida for its unprecedented collection of Latin American and 20th century American art, its innovative exhibitions that draw on or enhance the collection and its unparalleled service to South Florida’s diverse audiences. In 2003, the Art Museum at FIU was officially renamed The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum services. The Frost Art Museum is also an affiliate with the Smithsonian Affiliations program. Highlights from the Frost Art Museum’s collection include Haitian paintings, American modern sculptures, paintings and photographs.

Best Contemporary Project Space
Locust Projects
3852 N. Miami Ave.
Miami, FL 33127
Now celebrating its 15th year of exhibiting experimental contemporary art, Locust Projects, a not-for- profit exhibition space in Miami is dedicated to providing contemporary visual artists the freedom to experiment with new ideas. Locust Projects has been supporting local artists and welcoming international stars for 15 years. This year we loved the March installation by the New York-based collaborative duo Wade Kavanaugh & Stephen B. Nguyen. What also caught our attention was Jacin Giordano’s outstanding Wound, Bound, Tied and Knotted.

Best Theatre Company
The Mad Cat Theatre Company
9816 NE 2nd Ave., Miami
Mad Cat Theatre Company’s mission is to provide theatre that provokes its audience to re-imagine its surrounding world. And this past year they did just that with the hilarious production of Charming Acts of Misery which premiered as part of the South Beach Comedy Festival. So a script about British fashion muse Isabella  Blow’s life, which ended in 2007, doesn’t seem appropriate for a laugh riot such as the South Beach Comedy Festival. But Jessica Farr  managed to make this play about Blow, A fashion editor for Tattler magazine and the muse  designers Alexander McQueen  and milliner Philip Treacy , the humor transcended the pain. As director Paul Tei  succinctly put it, “There is something funny about wanting to kill yourself and not getting it right six times; there’s a natural comedic vein there. When her sister discovered her on the final suicide attempt, Issi’s concern was that she hadn’t drunk enough weed killer. When she broke her ankles on the second suicide attempt, she was devastated because she couldn’t wear high heels anymore. Before she went to kill herself [and succeeded], she said, ‘I’m going shopping.’ In all of those things, for me, there’s comedy there. And for the British, especially from a theatrical standpoint, there’s an ability to walk that fine line between tragedy and comedy that I think we found in this piece.” We couldn’t agree more.

Best Arts Benefactors
Debra and Dennis Scholl
Earlier this year, Debra and Dennis Scholl donated more than  300 pieces of their personal collection to the new Perez Art Museum of Miami. The works included Black Flag artist Raymond Pettibon; Aernout Milk, whose videos show border police arresting undocumented immigrants; Simon Starling, who translates Puerto Rican housing plans into installations resembling birdhouses; and Mariko Mori, a former Japanese fashion model who performs as a Cyber-fairy.
“Our collecting is very personal,” said Debra Scholl. “We have always acquired works that represent a new dimension in how art is created.”
We just want people to know that we think the Pérez Art Museum of Miami is a wonderful place,” Dennis Scholl, vice president/arts at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation told the Miami Herald. “ I think we’ve made it clear with this gift how we feel about this institution as a repository for great art.”
And as one blogger on Artnet succinctly put it: “Dennis and Debra Scholl have saved the new Miami Art Museum from swallowing “a single person’s taste as well as his name”

Best Private Art Collection
Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection at CIFO
1018 North Miami Avenue, Miami
CIFO founder Ella Fontanals-Cisneros began collecting art in the early 1970s, with a primary interest in works from Latin America. Over the ensuing years, as the collection has developed and grown, its scope has broadened. Her collection is broken into four sections including Video, Photography, Geometric Abstraction and Contemporary Art. Artists include William Kentridge, Ana Mendieta, Ed Ruscha, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Leo Matiz, Lidy Prati, Mira Schendel, Guillermo Kuitca and Shirin Neshat to name a scant few. We were particularly inspired by the Unsaid/Spoken, Selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros and CIFO exhibit. The exhibit included 38 pieces by 24 artists from different generations and latitudes, who shared a common experience of promoting and transforming art practices. The exhibition brings together work that testifies to the tension between what is yet to be said (or cannot be uttered) and the aftermath of communication, when all has been said and done.

Best Museum Store
2399 NW 2nd Ave., Miami
A collaboration between the Bass Museum and Mauricio Gomez, Elemental is an exciting design store with an art gallery component that triggers the imagination. We love the quirky pieces that fill the store and we challenged each member of the SunPost Editorial team to pick one  Elemental piece that they could not live without. They chose the following: A Jeeves Pendant Lamp, which consists of a wool felt bowler hat hanging light designed by Jake Phipps.  A War Bowl, which is basically melted Plastic Soldiers designed by Dominic Wilcox. The Clothes Hanger Lamp, where by hanging the garment of your choice you are able to create a personal lamp! And finally the Marcel Wanders designed Swing With the Plants, which is a hanging swing where the seat of the swing can be filled with soil and seeds planted inside. As the vines grow up the ropes, it becomes a poetic resting place. We suggest you wander into Elemental and see for yourself.

Best Artistic Objects:
Plant The Future
2511 NW 2nd Ave, Miami
If you have not discovered the fascinating art of growing plants in cool fiberglass or ceramic planters, then we suggest you hit Plant The Future. They have taken the art of pot planting to a whole new level creating quirky planters with a sense of humor. We love the very chic 18″ Large Horse planter that uses Air plants to make up the horse’s mane and tail. A little too chi chi? Well then check out the Smorkin’ Labbit, a chain smoking bunny with attitude.

Best City Arts Center (Miami)
Adrienne Arsht Center for The Performing Arts
1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
Box Office 305-949-6722
This  past season the Arsht brought such a varied group of performers to Miami audiences. Standouts included Jazz with legends like Aaron Neville and Pat Metheny. Broadway shows like Les Miserables and The Blue Man Group. World Music from Kodo and dance from Savion Glover. Last week, critically acclaimed singer and songwriter Solange made her Miami debut.  This kind of varietal programming is why we named the Arsht the Best City Arts Center in South Florida. Thanks to you guys, (and many, many others) Miami is finally coming into it’s cultural best.

Best Opera Company (with a sense of humor)
Florida Grand Opera
Doral Center
8390 NW 25th St., Miami
Ticket Office 305-854-7890
America’s seventh-oldest opera company continues to be one of the most significant cultural icons in Miami. And this year, they took promoting opera to a whole new level. They kicked off their season with An Evening at the Café Momus, moved on to productions of La bohème and La traviata. But it was their other programs that earned them this award. Creating Opera Couture at Neiman Marcus, Unexpected Operas in Unexpected Places and FGO’s very own  Harlem Shake video – The FGO chorus, a group known for finding creative ways to entertain themselves backstage, put together a Harlem Shake video while backstage at the Arsht Center for a performance of La traviata. Hilarious! (To see the video go here:)

Best Rebranded Theatre Company
Miami Theater Center
9806 NE 2nd Ave., Miami Shores
MTC has always stood out as a facility creating dramatic, original theatre. And this year is no exception. This season saw MTC opening their first show for mature audiences, a sold-out run of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters; they launched the SandBox Series, an opportunity for contemporary artists to rehearse and perform new work; they redesigned and extended the in-school program for deeper engagement, launched a new series of public workshops and classes presented by the SandBox artists and they forged a partnership with O Cinema that transforms the theater into an independent, foreign, family, and art film house several days a week. Whew! We can’t wait to see what Artistic Director and Founder Stephanie Ansin has in store for the rest of the year.

Longest Running Arts Organization
Tigertail Productions
842 NW 9th Ct., Miami
For over 33 years Tigertail’s performance programs have combined an energetic mix of national and international artists of all discipline with Miami’s burgeoning regional artists. Tigertail has a reputation for discovery and for bringing deserved recognition to many artists. Created by Mary Luft, Tigertail continues to produce important, creative work like this year’s WordSpeak – Tigertail’s Teen Spoken Word Project and Nu Flamenco with Guitarist José Luis Rodriguez and  dancer Niurca Márquez.

Best Small Ballet Company
Ballet Etudes
Ballet has usually been known as an activity only the elite and sophisticated could enjoy. That all changed when dance companies started being more accessible and open to everyone. Such is the case with Miami’s own  Ballet Etudes, a longstanding local institution which has always had a younger appeal. From new sets and scenery to a full orchestra, their classical ballet performances will have your kids at full attention in anticipation of the whole production. Included also are amazing colorful costumes, lighting and choreography. All of which will have your youngsters begging to come back for more. If your little one wants to be a part of a production or simply enjoy learning ballet, Russian technique, pointe or even Flamenco, register him or her for one of their classes, it could be a life-changing experience.

Best Ballet Company
Best Miami City Ballet
2200 Liberty Ave, Miami Beach
Miami City Ballet was created in 1985 by former New York City Ballet principal dancer Edward Villella and flourishes today as one of America’s most respected and spectacular regional ballet companies. A bulk of the company’s repertoire is made up of the work of George Balanchine, Villella’s mentor, though the company also performs works by Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, Trey McIntyre and others, in addition to traditional full-length classics like Giselle and Don Quixote. In 2012, Lourdes Lopez was chosen to replace founding artistic director Edward Villella. But it was Liam Scarlett’s Euphotic, that took Miami City Ballet to a whole new level or performance.

Best World Music Concerts
RHYTHM Foundation
1395 Brickell Ave, Miami
This year to date, the Rhythm Foundation has had Miami rocking to an outstanding array of World Musicians including Tabou Combo, Marisa Monte, Stevy Mahy, KES, The Resolvers, Emeline Michel, Bajofondo, Bomba Estereo, Zuzuka Poderosa, The Hongs, Beat Machines, Krisp, Psychic Mirrors, Mr Pauer, Magnum Band, Bonerama, Bad Apples Brass Band, Pink Martini, Carimi and Femi Kuti. Whew! And the year is not even over. Expect way more incredible music and events from these folks. We personally can’t wait.

Best Author Events/Lectures
Books & Books
265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables

927 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach

Bal Harbour Shops
9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour
Books & Books is a rarity in the market today – a thoughtful, independent book seller with a focus on local authors and community-based events. Overseen by Mitch Kaplan, Books & Books is South Florida’s top literary landmark and every year they bring an eclectic and deep schedule of author events, discussion and appearances in addition to other literary and cultural programming. We love the mix of reality stars, serious authors, chefs and fitness gurus who make the cut. Keep ‘em coming…

Best Movie Art House
Miami Beach Cinematheque
1130 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
The Miami Beach Cinematheque is a playground for the true film aficionado, with smart programming and a large following. Director Dana Keith continues to surprise us with his varied Art films that often includes movie poster exhibitions and chats with the director after screening. We also love the fact that MB Cinema continues to be thought provoking and community-minded by joining forces with ECOMB to promote green living or to feature foreign film festivals like the Sicilian Film Festival.

Best Graffiti Mural
Tribute to Tony Goldman
NW 25th St., Miami
Wynwood Walls has brought the world’s greatest artists working in the graffiti and street art genre to Miami. Wynwood Walls was conceived by the renowned community revitalize and visionary, the Late Tony Goldman in 2009. He was looking for something big to transform the warehouse district of Wynwood, and he arrived at a simple idea stating: Wynwood’s large stock of warehouse buildings, all with no windows, would be my giant canvases to bring to them the greatest street art ever seen in one place. Starting with the 25th–26th Street complex of six separate buildings, his goal was to create a center where people could gravitate to and explore, and to develop the area’s pedestrian potential. Wynwood Walls has brought the world’s greatest artists working in the graffiti and street art genre to Miami. On his sad passing just before Art Basel in December, Graphic artist Shepard Fairey repainted his iconic mural to include a depiction of Goldman. We call this the Best. Thanks Tony.

Best Museum to Engage Teens
101 W. Flagler St., Miami
This year HistoryMiami did an exceptional job of creating programming to entice South Florida teens to get engaged in the history of Miami with the creation of Teen Miami, a three-year research and collections initiative. Twenty teens were selected to research and document the history of teen life and culture in Miami across generations. Their research became part of the Teen Miami Exhibition that opened at HistoryMiami in September.

Best Diversity in an Art Gallery
Gallery Art
20633 Biscayne Blvd., Aventura
Gallery Art buys and sells fine art and entire collections, and features incredible diversity in artworks. Think Warhol, Haring, Dali, Longo and Neiman among many, many others. The gallery is filled to capacity with brilliant, bright art works and also offers custom framing and has a service that helps seek out works for clients.

Best Modern Museum
Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA)
Joan Lehman Building,770 NE 125th St., North Miami
It has been an exceptional year for MOCA and the artists that have exhibited. MOCA’s commitment to encouraging artistic experimentation and risk-taking is exciting and so necessary to South Florida. We particularly loved the Bill Viola: Liber Insularum exhibition. Viola  is recognized as one of the pioneers and leading practitioners of video art and his exhibition at was inspired by The Book of the Islands of the Archipelago, authored by the Florentine ecclesiastic Cristoforo Buondelmonti in the 15th century. We want to see more!

Best Museum (Miami Beach)
Bass Museum of Art
2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
The Bass Museum showcases blockbuster exhibitions and a unique permanent collection that includes works by Renaissance and Baroque masters. What sets this museum apart is its involvement with the community. Their educational programs for adults and kids with the creation of the Lindemann Family Creativity Center is what makes the Bass stand-out as the best Miami Beach museum.

Best Collection Diversity
1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach.
The Wolfsonian is a South Beach treasure – but unlike most of its Washington Avenue neighbors, the glitz and glamour go deep beneath the surface. And this is one place that clearly values locals. Wolfsonian-FIU is always free to Beach residents. Spend a day here with the kids, your new beau or even alone. Enjoy the Art and Design in the Modern Age exhibition, which give a complete overview of the museum’s holdings of American and European artifacts from the late 19th to mid-20th centuries. Locals and tourists alike can learn about Art Deco and other movements from a variety of media including furniture, industrial-design objects, ceramics, metal work, rare books, paintings, textiles, medals and so much more. The museum also offers teacher workshops, guided tours, book club and a film series.

Best Local Interest Museum
Jewish Museum of Florida
301 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach
The history here radiates from the structure itself as the Jewish Museum of Florida is housed in a historic synagogue building. Inside, the museum details the history of the Jewish people in Florida through exhibits, objects and programming. Recently merged with FIU, we predict wonderful things to come.

Best Museum (Miami)
Lowe Art Museum
1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables
The University of Miami’s celebrated museum is buoyed by adventurous and eclectic exhibits and programming. They are known for their strong support for student artists and local artists in the community. Cultural and educational programming accentuates the vaunted permanent collection and world-class exhibits. What makes the Lowe the best in our book, is the fact that an undergrad U of M student can exhibit his work alongside a master and the Lowe will give each equal standing. This year, we particularly liked the Brian Curtis: Stonehenge Series I & II that featured his work alongside a Juried Student Competition Exhibition and the Annual Masters of Fine Arts Candidates Exhibition.

Best New Art Gallery
Williams McCall Gallery
110 Washington Ave., CU-3, Miami Beach
The Williams McCall Gallery is the newest addition to the trendy South of Fifth neighborhood of South Beach, is the first fine art gallery in the area and has become a must visit destination for art lovers and collectors. The stylishly minimalist gallery represents a diverse roster of local and international artists creating contemporary paintings, works on paper, fine art photography, encaustic collage and sculpture. Several of the artists have a strong Provincetown, Massachusetts connection — the oldest, largest, and continuous art colony in America.

Best International Gallery
Robert Fontaine Gallery
2349 NW 2nd Ave., Miami
Driving through Wynwood, the Robert Fontaine Gallery is the one that has a brightly striped exterior in a multitude of colors. This sets the tone for the art and artists represented by the gallery which boasts a diverse program of traditional, modern and contemporary fine art. Andrew Abbott, Will Coles, Scott Snyder and Ryca, to name a few. An absolute favorite of ours is the work of British artist Nick Gentry who uses old floppy disks to create portraits. It’s this mix of cultures and tone, is why we name the Robert Fontaine Gallery as the Best International Gallery in Miami.

Best High-End Gallery
Markowicz Fine Art
114 NE 40th St., Miami
Markowicz Fine Art represents the Mourlot estate in Florida and features Pop Art artists Tom Wesselmann, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and many more outstanding artists. Moreover, they are the exclusive agent in the U.S. of artist Alain Godon.

Best Theatrical Season
Broadway Across America
A classical musical, a beloved cultural phenomenon, a goofy spoof and big blue musical men – the Broadway Across America series has diversity on its side in its most recent season in South Florida. With fabulous touring productions showing both at the Arst and the Broward Center, Broadway Across America outdid itself with one of its strongest season in recent years and there is no reason to expect that to change any time soon.

Best Improv Troupe
Special In A Bad Way
Just The Funny Theater, 3119 SW 3 ., Miami
Sometimes when your at home with your loved ones, feeling safe, the heads of South Florida’s improv troupes are meeting, mafioso style, around a long table plotting their attack on a market like you. And while sometimes these meetings end as successfully as the ones in Francis Ford Coppola films, they are an undeniable indicator: Improv Comedy is legit in Miami. But no matter all the planning this suggestion-seeking oligarchy might hatch, predictability can seep into the shows of a genre that by it’s very nature is supposed to be devoid of. This has never been the case with Special In a Bad Way. Every month SIABW pushes the envelope, and the cliff’s edge isn’t just whether or not a sketch in where African-Americans own white slaves is appropriate during Black History Month, no, it’s whether the show will collapse onto itself. On one fearless occasion the group invited a member of the audience on stage, then they proceeded to barrel through an onslaught of continuous sketches and improv games that all incorporated the blind-sighted civilian. Each show has a feel of being a completely different beast. Even when they  employ tired games, there is a whimsical new approach where one can almost argue that it’s new. The expert use of audio and visual components in show is both a testimonial to their attention to detail, and the talent of their technician. SIABW is a Monty Pythonesque departure from mainstream Miami improv.

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