Franklin Einspruch

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Bird drop-ins: A new show has local artists building houses for our fine feathered friends

Street Miami, June 10, 2004

It's for the Birds is an exhibition at Bernice Steinbaum Gallery for which 50 artists produced 46 works on the theme of the birdhouse. Tethered to a subject, most of the artists underperform, but there are exceptions that make the show worth a visit.

Hugo Moro made a mixed-media rooster whose insides have been done up as a church interior, complete with stained glass and gilt paintings of saints. Scrupulous attention to detail has been lavished both inside and out, applying serious, sensitive craftsmanship to a chicken that looks genuinely startled to have a church apse up its butt. (The windows can be seen under its tail feathers.)

Artists who are used to working with architectural form fare well in this show. Robert Huff produced Martin, a four-story bird condo rendered in birch, elevated on reinforced columns, and fenestrated with spare geometric shapes. Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt contributed photographs of their signature well-dressed miniature people, standing studiously in front of giant eggs nestled into a forest of verdant tropical undergrowth.

There's also a little bejeweled, sterling-silver sculpture by Rolando Dal Pezzo in which a toy figure sits in a house with Lego floors and a diamond-studded propeller on the roof, while realistically carved birds come to visit.

Other artists are served poorly by the show's theme. Glexis Novoa, for instance, with his Flying Units Checkpoint Tower (note acronym), parodies himself with such astonishing force that it calls his regular work into question. But bring along your nutty bird-watching aunt, and you ought not fly away from the exhibition without at least a few crumbs.

Word count: 265

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