Spring Arts Preview: Visual Arts 

The best exhibits, art shows and more.

Don’t miss…

Post Coital. Nobody in St. Petersburg knows how to raise eyebrows quite as genteelly as Mindy Solomon, who periodically devotes her posh storefront just off Beach Drive to artworks that explore humanity’s lustiest urges. The gallery owner’s latest exhibition tackles the topic of sex from a variety of aesthetic entry-points. Keep an eye peeled for Swiss artist Georgine Ingold’s enigmatic oil paintings, inspired in part by the film Last Tango in Paris; Christina West’s faintly comic and technically stunning ceramic nudes; Marta Soul’s photographs of Italian lovers coupling in domestic settings; and L.A. photographer Scot Sothern’s frankly erotic documentary shots; as well as sculptures by Rebekah Bogard and photography by Muir Vidler and Becky Flanders. Feb. 9-March 23, Mindy Solomon Gallery, 124 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg, 727-502-0852, mindysolomon.com.

To See as Artists See: American Art from the Phillips Collection. Culled from the esteemed Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., this exhibition brings 107 paintings made by American artists from the 1850s through the 1960s to the Tampa Museum of Art. The showcase traces the progression of modern art and the dawn of abstraction through works by Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Jacob Lawrence, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. Highlights include selections from Lawrence’s “The Migration Series,” which portrays in vivid tempera paint the mass migration of African-Americans from South to North during the early 20th century, and Hopper’s “Sunday” (1926), an evocative Depression-era street scene. Feb. 2-April 28, Tampa Museum of Art, 120 W. Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, 813-274-8130, tampamuseum.org.

Philip Pearlstein’s People, Places, Things. A year shy of his 90th birthday, Pearlstein — who is famous for the sinuous, candid nudes he painted during abstraction’s heydey — endures as an icon of 20th century art. See more than 60 of his paintings, drawings and prints in this survey at St. Pete’s MFA. A friend to Andy Warhol, with whom he shared several roach-infested apartments in New York City, Pearlstein championed realistic painting at the height of Abstract Expressionism. But rather than adopting traditional conventions for depicting the human body, he rewrote the genre by positioning figures in unusual and often un-idealizing poses. The art world responded by enshrining his works in collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian. March 2-June 16, Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg, 727-896-2667, fine-arts.org.

Also on the radar…

Highpoint Prints. A trio of exhibitions at DFAC celebrates the art of printmaking, including this selection of editions by Julie Mehretu, Carlos Amorales, Mary Esch and others from Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis. Jan. 18-March 3, Dunedin Fine Art Center, 1143 Michigan Blvd., Dunedin, 727-298-3322, dfac.org.

Ric Savid: Photographer Laureate. Tampa’s ninth photo laureate turns his lens on the city’s people, creating black-and-white portraits with traditional darkroom techniques. Jan. 24-March 28, AIA Tampa Bay, 200 N. Tampa St., #100, Tampa, 813-274-8531, tampagov.net/arts.

Chuck Close — A Couple of Ways of Doing Something. Fifteen daguerreotypes by the renowned artist — each a portrait of another leading contemporary artist, e.g., Cindy Sherman — pair with poems by Bob Holman for an intriguing and intimate exhibition. Jan. 31-March 31, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, 400 N. Ashley Drive, Cube 200, Tampa, 813-221-2222, fmopa.org.

Best of Flex. C. Emerson offers up a rare treat: adventurous short films, drawn from FLEXfest, Gainesville’s annual Florida Experimental Film/Video Festival. Fri., Feb. 1, 7-9 p.m., C. Emerson Fine Arts, 909 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-898-6068, c-emersonfinearts.com.

There Goes the Neighborhood … Recent Work by Taylor Pilote. Pilote emerged from USF’s MFA program last year as a sculptor to watch. Expect witty transformations of hyper-masculine materials like construction blockades. Feb. 15-March 8, Tempus Projects, 5132 N Florida Ave., Tampa, 813-340-9056, tempus-projects.com.

Strange Fruit: An Exhibition by Missy Roll and Allen Leper Hampton. Hampton may still be wearing a scarlet letter for his Martin Luther King, Jr., mural faux pas at Collective last year, but the guy’s got talent. Look for a comeback at this Bluelucy show — or even more controversy. Feb. 23-March 16, Bluelucy Gallery, 653 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, bluelucy.net.

Suzanne Camp Crosby: Suzanne Revealed. The Tampa-based photographer and former photo laureate uses everyday objects to construct surreal images. March 18-May 2, HCC Dale Mabry Gallery 221, 4001 W. Tampa Bay Blvd., Learning Resource Center, 2nd Floor, Tampa, 813-253-7386, hccfl.edu/gallery221.

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