- Faith & Family
The Museum of Contemporary Art [MOCA], located in North Miami, is quietly making a name for itself as one of the best places for families, couples and children to see some of the world’s finest contemporary art. And a lot of the credit goes to the museum’s executive director and curator, Bonnie Clearwater. Where else can you see paintings by Overtown’s own Purvis Young whose paintings convey stories of slave ships during the Middle Passage and the abolitionist period and at the same time see a provocative exhibition by the Hungarian-born Rita Ackerman, whose works are a blend of European modernism and American culture in full bloom?
Both artists’ works are currently on display — Young’s work can be viewed in the museum lobby along with a video taken during the last years of his life. Ackerman’s work features 48 paintings, drawings and collages from 1993 to the present. Several have never been shown in public.
More about Ackerman
Two things should be noted about the work of Ackerman. First, her earlier pieces for which she garnered critical acclaim, depict the liberation of the female form. Second, one can see the influence of literature, film and philosophy as well as her fascination with American culture in her diverse body of work that ranges from expressionism to abstraction. Sometimes you will see Black nurses and other matronly figures — then you will see nymphets, outlaws and sports cars.
There were several pieces that caught this writer’s eye including “World War III Around My Skull,” a piece that is done in ballpoint pen, “African Nurse” and “The Do’s and Don’ts,” which uses images from Glamour Magazine in a collage that speaks to the pressure placed on women to follow the rules of fashion. Both exhibits will run through early May.
Programs help young people uncover their talent
Recently, MOCA has developed some exciting educational programs that target both toddlers and teens. The StART Together program is for children three to five-years-old. Children learn how to paint and express themselves and even illustrate their own book. And for teens that want to learn more about journalism, photo/journalism or have dreams of becoming an artist themselves, there are several three- or six-week intensive programs that take place each summer. They are great opportunities for motivated students to see what it takes to become an artist, a photographer or a journalist. Lark Keeler, MOCA’s curator of education, supervises the program. Interested youth must complete an application no later than June 6th.
Next Saturday, April 21, from 1 to 5 p.m., there will be a youth media activism workshop that will feature the actor Bee Vang from the film “Gran Torino” and allow youth to have their say on the complex issues of race, violence and representation that have become part of the national dialogue since the murder of Trayvon Martin.
Clearwater is guiding MOCA to new heights of excellence and innovation. Spend an afternoon there checking out the exhibitions — and have a great time.
By D. Kevin McNeir