Boca Raton Museum of Art — New Exhibits Open

Posted on 01 November 2020 by JLusk

By Rachel Galvin

One of the pieces from the “My Thirteen Presidents” exhibit by Benjamin Patterson.

Art looks at life in a new way at The Boca Raton Museum of Art. Three new exhibitions opened Oct. 7 and will be open through Jan. 3, 2021.

The first exhibit you will notice as you walk past the museum’s new lobby and desk (They also created a new Wolgin Education Center in their renovations) is the Benjamin Patterson collection entitled “My Thirteen Presidents”. A series of small framed works of art, each is a collage of sorts featuring a picture of a U.S. president fused onto a “body” that exemplifies the animal they are associated with in Chinese astrology. President George W. Bush is a metal dragon,  Franklin D. Roosevelt is a water monkey, Lyndon B. Johnson is a Water Tiger, etc. That image is set atop another image that correlates to their presidency, and below is info. on their presidency. He only features presidents during his lifetime –1935 to 2009. President Obama had just gotten into office when Patterson passed away. This artist was one of the founding members of the Fluxus art movement, and its only Black member. Patterson was an accomplished orchestral musician, but he felt forced to leave the U.S. in 1960 to live abroad because no symphonies would hire an African American. 

This series is part of the My Presidents and Other Recent Acquisitions exhibition curated by the museum’s Assistant Curator Kelli Bodle. Patterson’s work sits across from Jeanne Silverthorne’s sculpted fire extinguishers, and other gems.

“The Mask” by Trine Lise Nedreaas.

As you follow the wall, in front of you, you will see three huge projected films, a video series by Trine Lise Nedreaas called “The Mask”. These three panels each show a person in various stages of putting on a mask. The makeup and props they position on themselves change the way they look and their costumes further obscure them, changing their very personality it seems in the process. In this era of COVID-19, everyone has been changed, wearing masks daily– but their masks are out of necessity, for health reasons. This piece of art questions why the folks in these frames have chosen this masked life… perhaps just to entertain.

One of the “Entertainers” pieces by Trine Lise Nedreaas. This one features a contortionist and is called “Pulse”.

Speaking of entertainment, Nedreaas also has another series called “The Entertainers.” One large scale video next to those showing “The Mask” features Mac Donaldi, King of Soap Bubbles. Mac Donadi becomes a master creator as he blows life into large soap bubbles. Spheres of light bounce off each translucent bouncy globe. He manipulates them, plays with them, makes them more visible by adding white smoke to their interior, giving them essence, and then –pop– he breaks them and the white smoke escapes, evaporates and is no more. It seems to exemplify creation and destruction, evanescence and the beauty and futility perhaps of life.

Another large video around the corner showcases a series of glittery shapes, writhing about like slithering snakes… It soon becomes clear that they are moving limbs of a bedazzled contortionist, who moves her torso, her arms, her hands, her feet in different positions close up, making each part look like it is something it is not – like a shining landscape ready to be explored. That piece is entitled “Pulse”.

Nearby are smaller videos, including a drab bespectacled looking elderly woman melding into the drab beige curtains behind her as she sings Frank Sinatra’s “I Did It My Way” without much passion, and a woman taking a ventriloquist out of the box, playing with it for a bit and ultimately leaving it alone in a piece called Yana and No Name”. Back in the hallway, there are a series of “Forget Me Not” videos, including a sword swallowing girl, a man breaking boards on his head and another man scarfing up hot dogs as fast as he can. These are a few in her collection that talks about people’s desire for fame.

Some of the Jeff Whyman exhibition upstairs.

Upstairs is a new ceramics exhibition by Jeff Whyman. A video shows how he works his wheel as he mixes together a mass of materials to create outerworldly formations based in a terrestrial medium. A large collection of his work is on display.




Some of the great pieces in “Works on Paper: Drawn From the Collection”.

Make sure to review all of the exhibitions throughout the museum. There are some wonderful charcoals and other drawings in an exhibition called “Works on Paper: Drawn From the Collection.” You will find a wide array of captivating pieces, including works by Picasso, Seurat, Matisse, Modigliani, Klee and more. There are 75 pieces that were culled from their collection and include several gifts from the George and Helen Segal Foundation, The Saul Steinberg Foundation, Wojciech Szczepanski and Pamela Rockett, and John Raimondi. This 1989 donation of 65 works was one of the most important gifts in the Museum’s history. Drawings from the 2007 Isadore and Kelly Friedman Bequest are also featured.

Make sure to check out the ancient artifacts and pottery upstairs!

There are additional works throughout, including a glass and ceramic sculptures, and even ancient artifacts from Latin and South America and Pre Columbian artworks.

Also see large colorful murals in the Edward Steichen: In Exaltation of Flowers.

As of Nov. 1, a new exhibit by Renee Cox was displayed as well, including a piece called “The Signing,” which is a 15 ft. long photograph featuring men and women of color in place of the Founding Fathers.

See the large colorful murals in the Edward Steichen: In Exaltation of Flowers exhibit.

Just a cropped section of Renee Coxs “The Signing”.

For more information, visit


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