While Central Florida arts fans follow the saga of the purported Basquiats carried out of Orlando Museum of Art by the FBI, there’s an authenticated work by the artist on view just a few miles up the road from OMA’s emptied galleries.
The Rollins Museum of Art, on the Winter Park college campus, is showing a Jean-Michel Basquiat print as part of its “Trauma to Triumphs: Perceptions of The Human Body” exhibit. Basquiat’s “Academic Study of the Male Figure” is exactly as the title suggests — a look at a man’s body with distinctive Basquiat touches. Like the other works in “Trauma to Triumphs,” it comes from the museum’s large permanent collection.
But in light of the unfolding situation at Orlando Museum of Art, you may be wondering, “Can we be sure that it’s real?”
“We have all the paperwork,” says museum director Ena Heller. “We know the provenance — who owned it, where it came from.”
The museum purchased the piece in 2007; it came from a gallery that represented Basquiat.
Curated by Rollins alumna Maia Bhikarrie, the “Trauma to Triumphs” exhibition is an engrossing look at human anatomy as explored through multiple mediums by various artists — including a fascinating and colorful work by Einar and Jamex de la Torre in blown glass and mixed media. Titled “Organ Exchange,” it was inspired by traditional Mexican folk art and religious imagery. You’ll want to look closely.
And “Trauma to Triumphs” is far from the only exhibit on view.
“Pathways 2022: The Carlos Malamud Prize” marks the first time that Rollins Museum of Art and the UCF Art Gallery have collaborated. It’s an important exhibit because it supports up-and-coming Florida talent. Six artists — none of whom have had a solo museum show — were selected by an independent panel of jurors; you can find works by all six at both galleries.
And because they are emerging artists doesn’t mean they are all young.
“We have people at different stages of life,” says Rollins Museum of Art curator Gisela Carbonell. “We’re happy that we have that variety here.”
The winner of this year’s prize — $10,000 — is Eugene Ofori Agyei, a Ghana native who now lives in Gainesville.
While the money, donated by Miami-based arts supporter Carlos Malamud, is generous, the award carries more lasting significance, Carbonell says.
“It’s not just a cash prize,” she says. “It’s engagement and support.”
As the winner, Agyei will be provided marketing and networking help. He’ll serve as a juror for the next Malamud Prize, in 2024, and he’ll be featured in his own solo show at the museum next summer.
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Two other exhibitions highlight works owned by the museum.
“People don’t realize how expansive our collection is, how diverse our collection is,” Heller says.
In “Subject: Artist,” viewers take in self-portraits or works in which artists depict other creators of art. Don’t miss Gabriele Castagnola’s 1870 oil painting of Renaissance artist Fra Filippo Lippi and his lover — who’s a nun. Scandalous!
And see the latest additions to the museum’s collection in “What’s New?” That self-explanatory exhibit has a variety of photos, paintings and artistic objects.
A contemporary oil painting by Robert Freeman, “Marco Polo,” feels particularly resonant in this month of Independence Day as we continue to grapple with what it means to be American. A whimsical creation by Takashi Murakami provokes a smile as wide as the figure’s grin.
And It’s fun to imagine in what themed future exhibition these new treasures will be seen.
- Where: Rollins College, 1000 Holt Ave. in Winter Park
- When: All exhibits run through Sept. 4.
- Cost: Free
- Info: rollins.edu/rma
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