At the Rollins Museum of Art, the authentic Basquiat and much more

As Central Florida art lovers follow the FBI-led saga of the so-called Basquiats at the Orlando Museum of Art, an authenticated work by the artist is on display a few miles from the emptied galleries of OMA.

The Rollins Museum of Art on the University’s Winter Park campus is displaying a print by Jean-Michel Basquiat as part of its “Trauma to Triumphs: Perceptions of The Human Body” exhibition. 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 of “Trauma to Triumphs”, it comes from the large permanent collection of the museum.

But in light of the situation unfolding at the Orlando Museum of Art, you might be wondering, “Can we be sure this is 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’ former student Maia Bhikarrie, the ‘Trauma to Triumphs’ exhibition is a captivating 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. Entitled “Organ Swapping,” it draws inspiration from traditional Mexican folk art and religious imagery. You’ll want to watch closely.

And “Trauma to Triumphs” is far from the only exhibition in sight.

“Pathways 2022: The Carlos Malamud Prize” marks the first collaboration between the Rollins Museum of Art and the UCF Art Gallery. It’s an important exhibition because it supports up-and-coming talent in Florida. Six artists – none of whom had a personal exhibition in a museum – were selected by an independent jury; you can find works from all six in both galleries.

And just because they’re emerging artists doesn’t mean they’re all young.

“We have people at different stages of life,” says Gisela Carbonell, curator of the Rollins Museum of Art. “We are happy to have this variety here.”

The winner of this year’s prize — $10,000 — is Eugene Ofori Agyei, originally from Ghana who now lives in Gainesville.

While the money, donated by Carlos Malamud, a Miami-based arts supporter, is generous, the award has more lasting significance, Carbonell says.

“It’s not just a cash prize,” she said. “It’s commitment and support.”

As the winner, Agyei will receive marketing and networking assistance. He will be a member of the jury for the next Malamud Prize, in 2024, and he will be featured in his own personal exhibition at the museum next summer.

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Two other exhibitions highlight works belonging to the museum.

“People don’t realize how vast our collection is, how diverse our collection is,” says Heller.

In “Subject: Artist”, viewers can see self-portraits or works in which artists represent other art creators. Don’t miss Gabriele Castagnola’s 1870 oil painting of Renaissance artist Fra Filippo Lippi and his lover, who is a nun. Scandalous!

And discover the latest additions to the museum’s collection in “What’s New?” This self-explanatory exhibition features a variety of photos, paintings and artistic objects.

A contemporary oil painting by Robert Freeman, “Marco Polo,” particularly resonates in this Independence Day month as we continue to grapple with what it means to be American. A whimsical creation by Takashi Murakami elicits a smile as wide as the character’s.

And it’s fun to imagine in which future thematic exhibition these new treasures will be seen.

  • Where: Rollins College, 1000 Holt Ave. at Winter Park
  • When: All exhibitions run until September 4
  • Cost: Free
  • Information: rollins.edu/rma

Find me on Twitter @matt_on_arts, facebook.com/matthew.j.palm or write to me at [email protected]. Want more theater and arts news and reviews? Go to orlandosentinel.com/arts. For more fun things, follow @fun.things.orlando on Instagram, Facebook and Twitterr.

About Margaret L. Portillo

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