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Refreshing showers of modern art

For years I've been griping that we don't get enough good shows of contemporary art in the bay area.

That's not true at the moment.

Three fine opportunities to experience what is happening nationwide in the visual arts are in the area right now:

Tampa Museum of Art through June 4: Contemporary Art on loan from the Milwaukee Art Museum brings to our attention some significant artists of the past two decades, including Francesco Clemente, Susan Rothenberg, Elizabeth Murray and Ross Bleckner.

Salvador Dali Museum through Sept. 10: We've seen his graphics, but James Rosenquist, the bay area's celebrity artist, exhibits 19 large and vibrant pop art paintings in a local show for the first time.

Ringling Museum of Art through June 4: In this outrageously clever conceptual display, the collaborative team of Komar and Melamid show what might happen if art were subject to majority vote.

Admission to the three shows separately will cost you a total of $23. But if you're a member of any one of the museums, you can show your card at the others and get in free. Individual membership is $30 at the Dali, $35 at the Tampa Museum of Art and $30 at the Ringling. Membership also brings a year of unlimited admission, invitations, newsletters, discounts in the gift shop and reciprocity to other museums not only in Florida but throughout the United States.

Why not reserve a day and blitz all three shows?

HYDE PARK JURIED _ Up-and-coming area artists, and some who have already arrived, exhibit works in the Second Annual Juried Exhibition, judged by area critic Adrienne Golub, opening with a reception 7-10 p.m. tonight at Hyde Park Fine Arts, 937 S Howard Ave., Tampa. The 27 artists include Peg Trezevant, Thomas Murray, Brad Shanks, Guilliermo Portieles, Dennis Johnson, Angela Dickerson, Margaret Steward, Nancy Cervenka-McLaughlin and Jack Barrett. The show continues through June 10 during hours 10 a.m.-5 :30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Free. (813) 258-8883.

THE CREELEY COLLABORATIONS _ Poet Robert Creeley collaborates with noted artists Jim Dine, Alex Katz, Susan Rothenberg and others in a traveling show running Monday through July 15 at the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum. On view are more than 60 projects recognizing cross-disciplinary art forms. Free. The museum is at W Holly Drive, University of South Florida, Tampa; stop at information booth for campus map. http://www.usfcam.usf.edu; phone (813) 974-4133.

MASTERS AT MERRICK _ Merrick Gallery brings in graphics by Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist, Chuck Close and others for a show opening with a reception 6-9 p.m. today. Works are derived from private collections and in association with Graphicstudio (University of South Florida's workshop). The show runs through June 18 during gallery hours 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Free. 330 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg; (727) 896-2787.

Around the world

Tate Modern, London. The new museum, which opened to the public last Friday, is Britain's "first true museum of 20th century art" (Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle) and "comes when London is suddenly vying with New York as the mecca for contemporary art" (Michael Kimmelman, New York Times). Meanwhile, the old Tate Gallery becomes the Tate Britain, a showplace for British art.

Around the nation

1900: Art at the Crossroads, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, May 19-Sept. 10. A radical reassessment of art in the year 1900, from Bouguereau and Burne-Jones to Mondrian and Picasso. (212) 423-3500 (taped message).

Fame game

Artists Karen Phillips of San Antonio, Barbra Beeler and Paul Larned of Tampa and Lynn Merhige and M.K. Simqu of St. Petersburg are among 43 artists in the 49th annual All Florida Juried Competition and Exhibition, May 17 to July 16 at the Boca Museum, Boca Raton. The show drew more than 300 applicants. Phillips was awarded one of four prizes. . . .St. Petersburg photographer Herb Snitzer is exhibiting images of jazz greats at the Stephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto, June 8-July 8.

E-mail: margersptimes.com

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