You just may be surprised by this very underrated, Smithsonian-affiliated collection way out west on the Florida International University campus (but less of an odyssey than you might expect—just hop on the Dolphin Expressway). The permanent collection includes 20th-century American and Latin American art by the likes of Robert Motherwell, Rufino Tamayo, and Robert Rauschenberg, along with ancient pieces from Africa, Asia, and the pre-Columbian Americas. The rotating exhibitions are usually stimulating, such as 2013’s “Concealed Spaces,” which made me think anew about famous paintings such as Da Vinci’s Last Supper and Botticelli’s Birth of Venus by taking out all the people. Others have local and/or topical links, including Bang! by French-born Robert Einbeck, an exploration in painting of gun violence, and Eugene Savage’s early-20th-century paintings of the Florida Everglades Seminoles. And parents, there’s even something here that kids can relate to: Off the lobby is a small interactive center that teaches about art and how/why it’s made (actually, pretty cool for grownups, too).
- David Paul Appell