Janet Batet
2019 Art Circuits’ Critic’s Choice art writer

(b. Havana, Cuba) is an independent curator, art critic, and essayist currently living in Miami. She is a former researcher and curator at the Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales (Development Center of Visual Arts) and a former professor at the Instituto Superior de Arte (Higher Institute of Art), both in Havana. She is passionate about contemporary art, Latin American art, and new technology. Her articles on art practices are regularly published in Art Nexus, Arte al Dia, Cuban Art News, Arts on Cuba, El Nuevo Herald, and now in Art Circuits.

Ready, Set, Go!

In the midst of the global wake-up call about climate crisis, the Deering Estate opens Material Nature. The exhibition by current Deering Estate Artist in Residence, Alex Nuñez and Julie Davidow, running from October 2 through January 15, is an immersive realm where art echoes the materiality and design hidden in nature. Textures, rhythms, patterns, colors, that sing the exuberant nature of South Florida are then the inspiration of the vibrant large scale abstract paintings by Alex Nuñez, inspired in the Deering Estate’s bay vistas; or the biomorphic intricate design animating Julie Davidow’s hard-edge compositions. The exhibition further connects the legacies of the Deering Estate as a natural preserve and important site for botany and ecology with contemporary art. In addition to the paintings will be archival materials relating to the early explorations of botanist John Kunkel Small during his research trips to the Deering Estate.

Alex Nuñez. Feeding Frenzy. Courtesy Deering Estate.

Opening on October 11, at the Bakehouse Art Complex (BAC), Between the legible and the opaque: Approaches to an ideal in place, focuses on various media that incorporate abstraction as both a formal and conceptual framework to render perceptions of place. Curated by Adler Guerrier, the aim of the exhibition is to reveal the process inherent in the making of abstraction as franc-parleur language facilitating a horizontal dialogue. The participating artists include Irina Dakhnovskaia-Lawton, Juan Matos, Nicole Maynard-Sahar, Tana Oshima, and Alice Quaresma.

Jude Broughan, Waikato Meeting Corner. On view at the Bakehouse Art Complex until March 31, 2020.

Opening on September 25, Fiesta and South, focus also on abstract languages. Fiesta, presented by Dot Fiftyone Gallery is the first solo exhibition in Miami by Argentinian artist Juan José Cambre. The exhibition opening on September 25 and curated by Verónica Flom, consists of a series of recent paintings, continuing with Cambre’s interest in the exploration of color and geometry. The title of the show refers to the specific concept animating the show: both art and celebration invite you to stop and enter a time of unadulterated present. Juan José Cambre is one of the most important artists in Argentina’s art scene for the last forty years.

Juan José Cambre. Untitled. Courtesy Dot Fiftyone Gallery.


Focusing on the seminal works of pioneers of Latin-American concrete art, South, presented by Artscape Lab includes artworks by Luis Tomasello, Julio Le Parc, Manuel Espinosa, Martha Boto, Jesús Rafael Soto, Mateo Manaure, Matilde Pérez, and Carlos Cruz-Diez. 


Luis Tomasello, Atmosphere Chromoplastique, 1983. South. Courtesy of Artscape Lab.

Teresita Fernández: Elemental opens at Pérez Art Museum of Miami Dade (PAMM) on October 18. Spanning from the mid-1990s to the present, the show offers a comprehensive view of Fernández’s career where the unconventional use of natural materials, deeply associated with the four elements as the basic states of matter, become the corner stone of acute commentaries on the contemporary fragmented American landscape. The exhibition will also showcase the artist’s most recent body of work, in which the artist contrasts the sublime nature of traditional landscapes with the current politically charged climate of the United States. Teresita Fernández: Elemental will be open to the public through February 9, 2020.


Teresita Fernández. Night Writing (Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai), 2011. Elemental. Courtesy PAMM. On view through February 9, 2020.

Happy! is the title of the group show curated by Bonnie Clearwater at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale that encompasses contemporary works produced by artists who aim to engage the viewer in a collective emotional catharsis. Happy! includes works by Gesner Abelard, Kathryn Andrews, Cory Arcangel, Eugene Brands, Francesco Clemente, Tracey Emin, Christina Forrer, FriendsWithYou, Félix González-Torres, Adler Guerrier, Keith Haring, Asger Jorn, Samson Kambalu, KAWS, Ragnar Kjartansson, Susan Te Kahurangi King, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, Ernesto Neto, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Yoko Ono, Jorge Pantoja, Carl-Henning Pedersen, Enoc Perez, Esther Phillips, Fernand Pierre, Richard Prince, Rob Pruitt,  Mark Rothko, Robert Saint-Brice, Kenny Scharf, Alake Shilling, Frances Trombly, Andy Warhol, and others. Cheerful and therapeutic at once. Happy! promises to be a visual feast. The exhibition runs from October 27, 2019 to July 5, 2020.


Frances Trombly. Confetti, 2019. Courtesy NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale

Two exciting solo shows are opening on October 24 at the Lowe Art Museum. Carlos Estévez, Cities of the Mind, features nine large-format circular paintings that reference the artist's fascination with city plans and ancient cartography. Inspired by his native Havana and the Medieval European cities that the artist has traveled extensively, the show is a personal cartography that becomes cosmogony that echoes contemporary global society. 

Carlos Estévez. Citadel, 2017.  Courtesy Lowe Art Museum.

Presented in collaboration with the Miami Museum of Contemporary Art of the African Diaspora (Miami MoCAAD) and guest curator Dr. Alejandro de la Fuente, DIAGO: The Pasts of this Afro-Cuban Present is a retrospective of Cuban painter and media artist Juan Roberto Diago. Leading member of the new Afro-Cuban cultural movement, Diago’s body of work is at the same time a testimony and a perpetual quest into the ethnic history and the racial tensions of contemporary Cuba.


Juan Roberto Diago. Sin título, 2011. Private Collection. Courtesy Lowe Art Museum.

On Saturday October 12, from 3pm to 7pm, The Fountainhead Studios opens to the public. This event that takes place only twice a year, is a unique opportunity to experience first-hand the process of art making and to take an intimate look into artists’ work and their art practices. The fountainhead Studios current residents are Hermes Berrio, Stephanie Hadad, Sri Prabha, Doris Kloster, Eduardo da Rosa, Bibiana Martinez, Michelle Weinberg, Olan Quattro, Sara Caruso, Emanuel Ribas, Rachel Lee, Mateo Nava, Pangea Kali Virga, Vickie Pierre, Stephen Arboite, Santiago Rubino, Erni Vales, Sara Stites, Elaine Defibaugh, Paolo Ambu, Nereida Garcia-Ferraz, Julie Davidow, Karen Starosta-Gilinski, PJ Mills, Lori Nozick, Juana Valdes, Don Lambert, David Rohn, and Claudia Calle.


Nereida García Ferraz. Canto del cisne, 2018. Fountainhead Open Studios on October 12, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

Three important transformations to the always-changing South Florida arts map are on the way. The Bakehouse Art Complex (BAC) has announced a $150,000 investment from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to create a small cohort of emerging, independent curators and artist/curators, who are committed to and conversant in socially engaged creative practices. The project aims to challenge the work and expand the practice of Bakehouse resident artists by creating opportunities that promote greater connectivity between the organization and the neighborhood in which it is embedded. The project wants to expand the scope of the BAC impact in the city by building up to 250 affordable housing units for artists in the area as part of the revitalization and housing project supported by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the City of Miami Planning Department, which is striving to construct 12,000 affordable living spaces by 2024.

On the other hand, the Rubell Familly Collection, home of 7,200 contemporary artworks by 1,000 artists, has closed its original space at Wynwood Arts District and prepares for its new venue in Allapattah. The new 100,000 square feet campus, designed by The Selldorf Architects and located at 1100 NW 23rd St. will be ready for Art Basel Miami Beach 2019. Renamed as Rubell Museum, the new museum features 53,000-square-feet of galleries, with 65% dedicated to long-term installations and 35% to special exhibitions, all drawn from the collection.

Also located on 23rd St, art collector Jorge M. Pérez announced the opening of El Espacio 23, dedicated to advancing South Florida’s arts and culture ecosystem that will open in time for Art Week 2019. El Espacio 23 will serve artists, curators, and the general public, with regular exhibitions, residencies and a variety of special projects. Named after its location on Northwest 23rd Street, El Espacio 23 includes three apartments reserved for residency programs, as well as shared workspace, and a variety of exhibition and storage areas. El Espacio 23’s inaugural exhibition, Time for Change: Art and Social Unrest in the Jorge M. Pérez Collection uses art to explore the conflicts and contradictions of contemporary society, as well as analyze historical events and reframe them within the present. An interest in the marginalized, the marginal and the margins (of society, of history) is what brings together the works in the exhibition. Envisioned by Colombian curator José Roca, in collaboration with Pérez Collection stewards Patricia M. Hanna and Anelys Alvarez, the show will feature close to 100 works by over 80 artists from around the world. Many of the works in the exhibition, due to their size of complexity, have never been exhibited and will be shown together for the first time.