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While many of us are still recovering from Miami Art Week, holiday eating and champagne toasts, three exhibitions in the Design District standout as the must-sees of this month. 

The Comet and The Glacier, an immersive large-scale installation by Alexis Gideon at Locust Projects, transports viewers into an elaborate narrative shared through video, animation, spoken word and opera.  Magnifying the ever-so-thinning line between fact and fiction, the exhibition is based on a make-believe book called The Almanac, written by an imaginary Swiss author Fredrick Otto Bühler.  Appearing to visitors by way of recessed LCD screens in cave-like sculptures, the lead character Alexis—a spitting image of the artist himself—recounts a visual exploration of memory, creative gesture and faux historical events via the screens. At times it’s hard to separate the voice of the real artist from the voice of his protagonist; yet, this self-referential work is truly part of The Comet and The Glacier’s wondrous beauty.  The exhibit closes on January 21. 

Nearby, the first Miami-based gallery specializing in Brazilian-focused fine art photography, Bossa Gallery, has been making a splash of its own.  The Pools of Maritza Caneca: Still of Time, curated by Vanda Klabin, spotlights Caneca’s deft storytelling.  A former director of photography, she, like Gideon, also examines the dialogue between fiction and reality.  According to Klabin, “the pools seem to question or summon us to undertake a sort of adventure of looking..." This exhibition opened under the title of Piscinas in her hometown of Rio de Janeiro in 2016 attracting more than 25,000 visitors at Paço Imperialas.  Pools of Maritza Caneca: Still of Time will remain on view through January 31. 

The de la Cruz Collection’s 2017 exhibition Progressive Praxis explores how contemporary artists interpret preceding art movements in the context of their technological world.  Curators explain how “Our society is conditioned to create, disseminate, and alter information as it sees fit.  The use of computers as a method of executing work is no longer a game changer for artists, as there are no traditional boundaries between the virtual and physical.”  Of the many celebrated artists in the show—luminaries such as Hernan Bas, Mark Bradford, Rachel Harrison, Rashid Johnson, Glenn Ligon, Ana Mendieta, Rob Pruitt and Sterling Ruby, to name a few—each reveal a “generational position” that reflects an artistic language of their time.  With technology progressing at such an exponential rate, a modest age gap between artists may very well appear as dog years when examining the tools they employ in their creative approach.

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