Summer has been, by tradition, a slow time for area museums because the heat and humidity have kept many residents and tourists away. Times have changed, and with them, we have seen ambitious and important exhibitions become the summer norm instead of the exception in many of them. So before they leave in a month or two, we're revisiting a few, encouraging those who haven't seen them to go — and those who have to consider seeing them again. They're worth second looks.
My Generation: Young Chinese Artists
Through Sept. 28 at the Tampa Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg
"Historic" is overused and overblown but it's a fitting description of this exhibition for two reasons. It's the first U.S. survey of a rising wave of Chinese artists born after the repressive Cultural Revolution, which ended in the late 1970s. They are not especially politically motivated, as earlier generations were, and so their art is more free-ranging in conception and execution, making it attractive to a broader international market. We see that diversity in this exhibition. It also represents a unique partnership with two museums sharing one show, meant to be seen as a whole. Note that a combination ticket is available at both museums or through their websites.
Poseidon and the Sea: Myth, Cult and Daily Life
Through Nov. 30 at the Tampa Museum of Art
Not one but two big shows preside in the Tampa Museum. "Poseidon" builds this antiquities exhibition around its superb marble statue of the god in its permanent collection, the largest and best preserved example in the United States. It tells the story of the Greek god of the sea with objects large and small, grand and humble. Curator Seth Pevnick secured some impressive loans from major institutions to make this a must-see.
An Arts Legacy: George Inness Jr. in Tarpon Springs
Ends Aug. 31
The accomplished son of the great landscape painter George Inness Sr. was raised and lived in a sophisticated milieu, but his favorite getaway in the 1920s was a winter home in Tarpon Springs where he painted a number of lush and spiritual landscapes inspired by his surroundings. Inness (1853-1926) also created works for his and his wife's house of worship there, the Church of the Good Shepherd. They and earlier works are also part of this show.
Richard Beckman: Outside the Curve of Reason
Through Sept. 6 at the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum
Beckman (1957-2004) was essentially a sculptor, and some excellent examples of his work are on view in this show. His forms are so meticulous and mesmerizing, you don't even get to the ideas behind them for a while. But they're there: Look at them as unique personalities and then begin the conceptual dialogue.
Marvels of Illusion
Through Oct. 12 at the Dalí Museum
I wrote in an earlier review that this show "examines the artist's most famous mess-with-your-mind technique, the optical illusion. It's designed so you can just have fun or go all-out wonk with the science." It includes interactive components using Salvador Dalí's works along with new LED screens that explain how his illusions work.
New Visions: Polly Gaillard & Allison Hunter
Portraits and Places: Selections From the FMoPA's Permanent Collection
End Aug. 31 at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts
Two popular subjects, an adorable child and beautiful animals, inhabit the photographs of Gaillard and Hunter, each creating an environment in her own way. They aren't meant to be cute, though; they examine attitudes about childhood and animals. Also on view: selections from the permanent collection that range from early pictures of Tampa to contemporary photojournalism.
Contact Lennie Bennett at [email protected] or (727) 893-8293.