During the 1970s, Miami artist Martin Kreloff embarked on a project to promote arts involving a cross-section of the Florida city’s community leaders and residents speaking the word “art.” The exhibit, Miami Says Art, featured renderings of the subjects—among them Gloria Vanderbilt and former Brooklyn Museum of Art director Arnold Lehman—and some of those pieces are included in Martin Kreloff: A Retrospective, now showing at Sahara West Library.
The exhibit, which collects five decades of Kreloff’s work, shows the Brooklyn-born Las Vegan’s evolving style and undying loyalty to Pop Art. His bright, hard-edged catalog includes commissioned portraits, inks of Hollywood celebrities and endearing and exceptional portraits of his family’s martriarchs—mother, grandmother and aunt—each providing a rich glimpse into Kreloff’s Brooklyn background. Drawings feature such Las Vegas artists and community members as Anthony Bondi, Richard Hooker and Charles Morgan and Suzanne Hackett-Morgan.
Kreloff, who studied at Parsons School of Design, hits hard on time and place, chronicling and capturing the spirit of different eras in various places: Brooklyn, Miami, Hollywood, Vegas. Commissioned works for (and of) popular culture fixtures like Esther Williams and Matthew Gray Gubler sit in private collections, and magazine cover illustrations and public works for Downtown’s Cultural Corridor highlight his imprint here, where he lives with longtime partner Tim Olsen, a recurring subject in Kreloff’s work.
Meanwhile, Sahara West Library’s adjoining gallery features the sixth installment of Diane Bush’s satirical and political art project Dishing It Out. After moving through galleries like Brett Wesley and Left of Center, the project has arrived at Sahara West in the form of group show Vanity Plates. Among its don’t-miss inclusions: Sean Russell’s side-by-side photo transfers on paper, “Lowest Common Trump” and “Lowest Common Hillary,” which render the candidates hazy and almost clownish in portraits reducing their individuality to mere recognizable faces. Works by local and national artists, including Jerry Ross, Stewart Freshwater and Lance Smith, take viewers into the wild election-cycle landscape. The china cabinet of “vanity plates” features artists’ takes on Chris Christie, Ben Carson and others. Equally worth the drive over is Sandra Chamomile’s glazed ceramic “Trump Bricks,” which comments on the Republican nominee’s promise to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Martin Kreloff: A Retrospective Through August 6.
Vanity Plates Through July 24.
Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The Studio at Sahara West Library, 702-507-3630.