When you gotta go, you gotta go — to this fun pop-up gallery in downtown Lake Worth Beach
A DOLLHOUSE WITH a tiny working television playing an episode of “The Honeymooners.”
Marbles rolling on a maze of tracks stacked in towers of wood and copper.
Paintings and sculptures of ancient Romans responding to nature’s call. (You read correctly; more on that later.)
Those are just a few of the fun, diverse and provocative works featured in the latest Lake Worth Beach pop-up gallery, set for Dec. 10 and Dec. 11 in Apt. 300 of the Fleur de Lis condominium at 1 N. Golfview Road.
“Nava Brown: A Multimedia exhibition” co-stars JoAnn Nava and Bruce Brown, longtime Lake Worth Beach artists with a flare for adventure. Brown is hosting the exhibit in his home, directly across Lake Avenue from The Gulfstream Hotel.
Artists Bruce Brown and JoAnn Nava are co-hosting a pop-up gallery of their work at Brown's apartment Dec. 10 and Dec. 11 (Joe Capozzi)
“We’re toymakers,’’ Nava said, a nod to the whimsical pieces in the exhibition.
Brown’s 1,500-square-foot home doubles as his workshop, where he uses pliers and screwdrivers to create kinetic moving art that can be addicting to watch.
But not everything in the exhibit can be considered a toy.
Take “Pissing Contest,” a canvas painting of six boys in Pompeii urinating into a chamber pot. Nava used a technique called casein painting to give the image an authentic ancient look.
The chamber pot is not part of the painting. It's an actual piece of red clay pottery saggar-fired in wood chips and seawood, in a collaboration with artist Timothy Carter, to create an authentic-looking replica of what the ancients used long before the first flush of the modern toilet.
The painting and pot are part of a one-room exhibit within the Nava Brown show called “Fountains and Puddles,’’ a name that pays homage to the basic bodily function of urinating.
Accenting the display are four actual shards of ancient pottery, obtained by Nava’s relatives in Italy, that help give the room a big-city natural history museum feel.
“The premise of ‘Fountains and Puddles’ is that our gender posture was put into place by how we urinate,’’ Nava said. “Females always had to squat to pee and to hide themselves so they wouldn't have predators whether it was men or animals. Men could stand up because they had a pipe they could just swirl around.’’
What inspired Nava to make art about peeing?
“I just got a silly notion one day and I decided to take it as far as I could,’’ she said.
Nava said she was always impressed by “The Dinner Party,” artist Judy Chicago’s provocative set of dinner plates designed to look like vaginas, hailed by critics as “a feminist magnum opus.’’
“I thought, Wouldn't it be cool to do something that would change the way people saw gender, to show that it’s part of our biology and not just about sexuality.’’
Nava finished “Fountains and Puddles” in 2019 and had a scheduled exhibition at a gallery at FAT Village in Fort Lauderdale. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. A year and a half later, when it was safe again for social gatherings like art exhibitions, the land that housed the gallery had been sold to a developer.
Undeterred, she approached Brown and suggested they host a pop-up gallery showcasing their work.
“I said, ‘You know what? This is sitting in my closet. Let’s just do a show and put things out that haven't been seen,’’’ Nava said, recalling her conversation with Brown, a long-time IT guy turned kinetic artist.
Nava and Brown are local pop-up gallery veterans. Earlier this year, in late March, they exhibited work in a weeklong show at the Lake Worth Beach home of artist Maxine Spector.
This will be the first pop-up gallery Brown has hosted. It will feature seven pieces of kinetic art, with several levels of curling and sweeping tracks where marbles roll and drop and roll. Kinetic art, from the Greek word kinein, meaning “to move,” is a sculpture or assembly with mechanical parts that can be set in motion.
Many of Brown’s pieces in the exhibit, including Marble Toy #9, have been featured at the International Kinetic Art Exhibit & Symposium in Boynton Beach.
Nava is also known for her signature dolls made of fabric and porcelain. They’ll be on display in Brown’s kitchen, on a countertop around a dollhouse with the tiny working TV.
Listen closely in between Ralph Kramden’s wisecracks and you can hear other sounds in the dollhouse, including water dripping from a faucet and a barking dog.
“It’s so many things,’’ Nava said about the multimedia exhibit.
The show will be held Dec. 10 and Dec. 11 from 3-8 p.m. in Apt. 300.
Wine will be served, from bottles with custom-made labels showing off the artwork.
Nava said she joked to Brown, “If no one comes, we’ll just have a party.’’
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About the author
Joe Capozzi is an award-winning reporter based in Lake Worth Beach. He spent more than 30 years writing for newspapers, mostly at The Palm Beach Post, where he wrote about the opioid scourge, invasive pythons, the birth of the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and Palm Beach County government. For 15 years, he covered the Miami Marlins baseball team. Joe left The Post in December 2020. View all posts by Joe Capozzi.