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The annual Tampa Bay museums preview

Every year about this time, I chat with my editor about our annual preview of upcoming museum exhibitions. Every year, I'm asked the same question: Is there a common theme or trend running through them? And every year I answer: No.

I cover nine art museums in west-central Florida, each with a distinct mission, all having varying sizes and budgets. Their directors are collegial but they don't sit down as a group to compare exhibition schedules. If two of them have impressionist shows, for example, it's usually through coincidence rather than intent.

There are exceptions and we'll see a significant one in 2014 when a large survey of young Chinese artists, the first in the United States, will be divided between the Tampa Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. They aren't separate exhibitions; they're designed to be viewed as a single big one and that's a big deal in the art museum world.

This preview of upcoming exhibitions will, I hope, give you a sense of the richness of resources these museums make available to us. Typically, only dense metropolitan areas have so many with such variety in easy proximity. Remember, too, that this list doesn't include our arts centers and galleries that have packed schedules. Nor does it include museums that have other missions but sometimes have exhibitions that I cover as art shows. "Charting the Land of Flowers: 500 Years of Florida Maps" opening Sept. 21 at the Tampa Bay History Center is one that promises to be exceptional.

We have much to see.

Lennie Bennett can be reached at or (727) 893-8293.


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5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota

(941) 359-5700 or


Through Oct. 27

The Sarasota School of Architecture

Sarasota was the most famous Florida arts colony in the 1950s, even giving birth to its own modernist architectural style, which is explored in this exhibition.


Through Oct. 27

Witness to War

Photographs from the museum's permanent collection and the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience at Florida State University provide a documentary of soldier photographers during World War II.


Oct. 4 through Jan. 5

Icons of Style

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston's collection of costumes, fashion illustration and photography is on loan, including pieces by John Galliano for Dior, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Olivier Theyskens for Rochas, Arnold Scaasi and Christian Lacroix, and gowns created for red-carpet celebrities.


Nov. 18 through March 23

The Philip and Nancy Kotler Glass Collection

A major gift of studio glass in 2012 is the impetus for this show, which includes works by international artists.


Nov. 22 through March 9

Unfamiliar Realities

Photography began as a documentary medium based on realistic depiction, but this exhibition illustrates its evolution as an art form in which photographers manipulate prints to create unique imagery. Included are works by Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Minor White, Wynn Bullock, Michael Kenna, Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, Patrick Nagatani and Jerry Uelsmann.


Nov. 22 through March 9

Optical Impulses

Abstract prints by Josef Albers, Victor Vasarely and Herbert Bayer and the kinetic sculptures of Jesús Rafael Soto deal with our perception of color and form.


Jan. 18 through April 6

Picturing Japan

Japan in the second half of the 19th century was on the cusp of opening to the Western world. Photographs capture its last years as an isolated preindustrial society, some of which were also hand-colored by artists to resemble traditional woodblock prints.


Jan. 31 through May 4

R. Luke DuBois — Now

The range of this contemporary artist is impossible to reduce to a brief summary, but this important show, his first solo museum exhibition, will include a body of work that includes his fusion of visual art, video and music using advanced computer programs.


May 23 through Aug. 3

Intent to Deceive: Fakes & Forgeries in the Art World

Details not yet released.


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255 Beach Drive NE

(727) 896-2667 or


Through Sept. 27

Color Acting

How we see color has long been a scientific interest and artists also began using color analytically beginning in the 1950s. This collection takes us into the mind games color plays with us.


Through Oct. 6

Pleasure Grounds and Restoring Spaces

Photographs of national parks beginning in the 19th century trace the growing public appreciation of our wide-open spaces and the development of a protective parks system, with contemporary photographers also chronicling their grand beauty.


Sept. 28, ongoing

MFA Transformed: A Landmark Renewed

Gorgeous gallery makeovers throughout the original 1965 building, which houses the permanent collection, will give viewers a fresh look at the art including a gallery dedicated to new media such as video.


Oct. 5 through Jan. 5

Mixing Metaphors: The Aesthetic, the Social and the Political in African-American Art: Works from the Bank of America Collection

Art by African-American artists, once marginalized, went mainstream and global because of the talent represented by the artists in this show, such as Benny Andrews, Romare Bearden, John Biggers, Sam Gilliam, Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, Martin Puryear, Faith Ringgold, Lorna Simpson and Carrie Mae Weems, among the 36 artists represented by more than 90 paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculptures and mixed-media works.


Oct. 26 through March 2

Recent Acquisitions: Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Donors are the lifeblood of museum collections, and this show of 40 photographs and works on paper is a small representation of the great expansion in recent years: More than 16,000 works, mostly photographs, have been added since 2008.


Jan. 18 through early summer (closing date to be determined)

New Mexico and the Arts of Enchantment featuring the Raymond James Financial Collection

New Mexico has been a mecca for artists beginning in the late 19th and into the 21st century. This show begins farther back, to pre-Hispanic pottery, and extends into contemporary works. The star around which the exhibition revolves is Georgia O'Keeffe's landscape, Grey Hills Painted Red, New Mexico (1930), a gift in 2010.


June through September 2014 (exact dates to be determined)

My Generation: Young Chinese Artists

In a very rare collaboration, MFA is sharing a group show of young Chinese artists, the first in the United States, with the Tampa Museum of Art, which means 10,000 square feet of gallery space will be devoted to this groundbreaking exhibition.


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1 Dalí Blvd. (Bayshore Drive at Fifth Avenue SE), St. Petersburg

(727) 823-3767 or


By deadline, the museum had not finalized any special exhibitions beyond a fall show of his prints; details for it have not been released. Dali's Santiago El Grande, on loan from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Canada, will be exhibited through mid April.


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120 W Gasparilla Plaza (near Ashley Drive at Polk Street)

(813) 274-8130 or


Through Sept. 15

Faded Elegance: Photographs of Havana by Michael Eastman

Haunting and beautiful, these large-scale works capture the fragility of Havana's neglected prerevolution architecture.


Through Sept. 15

Miradas: Ancient Roots in Modern and Contemporary Mexican Art, Works from the Bank of America Collection

Paintings, prints and photographs by Mexican and Mexican-American artists, beginning with the end of the Mexican Revolution in 1920 to the present day, create a cultural collage.


Oct. 5 through Jan. 19

Fragile Waters

Ansel Adams, Ernest H. Brooks II and Dorothy Kerper Monnelly are beloved both for their artistry and environmental advocacy. This show is dedicated to their black-and-white photographs of water, seen as an aesthetic subject and a natural resource in jeopardy.


Oct. 5 through Jan. 19

Arp, Calder, and Miro: Modern Masters from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Three modern masters are represented by 52 works in various media. Each made important contributions to 20th century art, sharing common interests but working in very different ways. This show brings together a sense of common cause and individual expression that helped define the modernist movement.


Oct. 5 through Jan. 19

Sea of Tranquillity

This film by Brussels-based artist Hans Op de Beeck, a combination of video recordings of actors and digitigitally generated three-dimensional environments, takes us onto an imagined high-tech luxury liner inspired by the great 20th century ships that dominated trans-Atlantic travel before World War II and raises probing questions about quality versus quantity.


Feb. 1 through May 18

Graphicstudio: Uncommon Practice

The University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2014 and has organized a large show at the Tampa Museum of Art (because it's a lot bigger). The focus is its permanent collection, which is primarily made up of editions created by important national and international artists at USF's famous atelier, Graphicstudio.


June through September 2014 (exact dates to be determined)

My Generation: Young Chinese Artists

A groundbreaking group exhibition of 27 young Chinese artists, the first in the United States, is also historic in that it will be at both the Tampa Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg simultaneously. All were born after 1976 and their art reflects the changing political, philosophical and social landscape in contemporary China.



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4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa

(813) 974-2849 or


Through Dec. 7

SubRosa: The Language of Resistance

Sub rosa is a Latin phrase translating to "under the rose," and interpreted as meaning something done in secret. Seven artists living in repressive countries are represented in works that range from quietly subversive to all-out confrontational.


Jan. 17 through March 8

CAM@25: Social Engagement

USFCAM's 25th anniversary exhibition celebrates its commitment, as both a university teaching museum and a community resource, to exhibiting art that contributes to our understanding of our culture worldwide, and its interpretation through the art of our time. Artists include Los Carpinteros (Cuba/Spain), Pedro Reyes (Mexico) and Janaina Tschape (Brazil/Germany).


March 28 through May 3

2014 MFA Graduation Exhibition

USFCAM hosts this annual exhibition featuring research projects by master of fine arts candidates in the school of art and art history.


June 6 through Sept. 27, 2014

Jia Aili and Qiu Zhijie

CAM's exhibition complements the big survey of young Chinese artists at the Tampa Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg with works by Beijing-based artists Jia Aili and Qiu Zhijie with new paintings by Aili and a site-specific installation by Zhijie.



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600 Klosterman Road, Tarpon Springs

(727) 712-5762 or


Through Sept. 15

Lin Carte: A Tribute; and Metropolis of Kotopoulis

Prints and drawings by the late artist and teacher Lin Carte and whimsical sculptures and paintings by artist Dino Kotopoulis.


Sept. 29 through Nov. 24

Tomás Marais: Artist in Exile

Artist Tomás Marais (1931-2004) was born in Cuba, studied there and left in the 1960s for Paris where his style developed into a nuevo-surrealism. Twenty years later he moved to the Tampa Bay area, into an old Tampa cigar factory, and his work brimmed with a kind of magical realism fueled by memories of his lost Cuban life, the surrealist influence and his own imagination. This retrospective exhibition, organized by Ken Rollins, former director of the Gulf Coast Museum of Art where Marais had a show in 2002, includes prints, drawings, paintings and collages.


Dec. 8 through Feb. 16

Preserving Eden: Clyde Butcher's Florida Photographs

Clyde Butcher is a beloved and lauded photographer who has transformed public perception with his large-scale black-and-white photographs of Florida's wilderness, much the way Ansel Adams did in the national parks of the American West. This show features 40 of Butcher's iconic images.


Dec. 8 through April 20

Dominique Labauvie: Sculpture and Design

Labauvie left his native France to live in Tampa with his wife, master printer Erika Greenberg-Schneider, who owns and operated Bleu Acier, a print atelier. His forged steel sculptures are in many public and private art collections, and five examples are in the show along with his ethereal drawings and prints that reference his three-dimensional works.


March 2 through April 20

SPC Art Faculty Exhibition

The visual arts faculty of St. Petersburg College, who usually promote the work of their students, get their own show annually.


May 4 through Aug. 31

An Arts Legacy: The Inness Painters in Tarpon Springs

The great American landscape painter George Inness (1825-1894) began visiting Tarpon Springs in 1890 during his acclaimed late period when his work took on a new luminosity. His son, George Inness Jr., returned to Tarpon Springs and established a winter residence from 1902 until his death in 1926.


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400 N Ashley Drive, Tampa

(813) 221-2222 or


Sept. 12 through Nov. 10

Frida and Friends: The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo and her husband, Diego Rivera, never lived or worked in a vacuum, surrounding themselves with artists, writers and intellectuals who lived in Mexico or visited them there. Work from members of Kahlo's circle includes that of Lola Álvarez Bravo, Lucienne Bloch, Imogen Cunningham, Leo Matiz, Nickolas Muray, Emmy Lou Packard and Guillermo Zamora.


Nov. 15 through Feb. 23

Pirates, Cigars, & Gangsters: A Photographic History of Tampa, 1879-1952

It was a fort and a malarial fishing village in its earliest years, but the place we now know as Tampa began to blossom in the late 19th century, which is when this show begins and continues through its mid-20th century days as a cigar capital, port and reputed center of gangster activities.



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800 E Palmetto St., Lakeland

(863) 688-7743 or


Through Oct. 5

Tibor Pataky: Into Abstraction

Tibor Pataky, a Hungarian artist who settled in Central Florida, was an unlikely champion of the very urban 1950s arts movement, abstract expressionism. But he was, as we see in this collection of drawings and paintings.


Through Oct. 5

Polk County Collects

Private collections are usually just that, so this is an interesting show that lets us glimpse the art individuals have chosen for their own pleasure.


Oct. 12 through Dec. 7

Paintings of the Space Age

In the 1960s, when NASA's big program was to send humans to the moon, the agency invited a number of artists to visit their facilities and interpret the program in whatever ways they chose. The result is a little-known art collection housed in the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.


Oct. 12 through Dec. 7

reGeneration2: Tomorrow's Photographers Today

The Aperture Foundation organized this show of 105 prints by emerging photographers from 31 countries.


Dec. 14 through March 8

Stephen Knapp: New Light

Knapp's work is already known in the Tampa Bay area; the illuminated sculptures on Tampa City Hall installed in 2006 are his. Viewers will be able to get a lot closer to his ingenious works in this show and marvel at his ability to use shards of glass and light to create his dramatic "paintings."


March 15 through June 14

Installations by Dan Gunderson and Barbara Sorensen

Dan Gunderson of DeLand and Barbara Sorensen of Winter Park collaborate on site-specific installations.


June 21 through Sept. 13, 2014

Terra Incognita: Photographs of America's Third Coast

Richard Sexton's 57 black-and-white photographs of the Gulf Coast were a 15-year project yielding stunning abstract images of familiar natural areas.


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445 N Park Ave., Winter Park

(407) 645-5311 or


Through Jan. 11, 2015

Vignette: The Art of Fountain Pens

They are now quaint objects of times past but from the 19th to early 20th century, fountain pens were a part of daily life. (And, until cartridges were invented, lots of ink-stained clothes, upholstery and furniture.) Many were much more than merely functional, transformed into beautifully crafted objects, and they still are for the rare few who continue to collect and use them. This collection dates from 1875 to 1975.


Oct. 29 through Jan. 11, 2015

Lullaby and Goodnight — Children's Literature from the Morse Collection

Late 19th century children's books by Kate Greenaway, Mary Dow Brine and Eulalie Osgood Grover seem simply charming today, but they were part of the serious aesthetic movement that advocated for beauty as a part of every aspect of one's life. In this context, we can see these books were designed to instill that concept at an early age. The books and illustrations are from the museum's permanent collection.

The annual Tampa Bay museums preview 09/05/13 [Last modified: Thursday, September 5, 2013 1:27pm]
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