Art to Discover at U.S. Museums This Spring and Summer – The New York Times – The New York Times

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Masters like Cézanne, Matisse and Georgia O’Keeffe are on display across the country, as well as contemporary artists.
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This article is part of our latest special section on Museums, which focuses on new artists, new audiences and new ways of thinking about exhibitions.
American museums are making steady efforts to show a large range of media, styles and perspectives. But this spring and summer, the most notable diversity may be temporal: Some of the greats of the past — like Henri Matisse, Paul Cézanne and Georgia O’Keeffe — are being seen at the same time as contemporary makers now establishing their names, like Shahzia Sikander, Gio Swaby and Guo Pei.
“Set It Off”
May 22 to July 24
An exhibition with an explosive title promises big things, and given that “Set It Off” is curated by the duo of Racquel Chevremont and Mickalene Thomas — collectively known as Deux Femmes Noires — the odds are good that it will deliver. The six artists included all show a strong dedication to working across media and combining materials in surprising ways; one of Leilah Babirye’s sculptures includes washers, screws and bicycle chains. Parrish Art Museum,
“New York: 1962-1964”
July 22 to Jan. 28
This summer the Jewish Museum engages in a bit of self-reflection, using its pioneering work of the early 1960s, under the director Alan Solomon, to start a conversation about an especially fertile time in the art world’s capital. Featuring well-known names like Jasper Johns, Faith Ringgold and Merce Cunningham, it also may introduce artists like Marjorie Strider to the public. The exhibition also has the distinction of being the last one curated by the highly influential critic Germano Celant (1940-2020). Jewish Museum,
(“Matisse: The Red Studio”
May 1 to Sept. 10
Henri Matisse got a lot of mileage painting what was immediately around him, as in 1911’s “The Red Studio,” a longtime fan favorite for Museum of Modern Art viewers. It depicts his work space in Issy-les-Moulineaux, outside Paris, with his other paintings and sculptures arrayed against an intense red background (which was a last-minute addition). For this exhibition, the 10 extant works shown in the picture have been gathered, along with related drawings and archival work. Museum of Modern Art,
“Louise Bourgeois: Paintings”
Through Aug. 7
The French-born artist Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) may be best known for her work in three dimensions, particularly her looming spider sculptures, but this show trains the spotlight on her paintings instead and is the first major effort in decades to do so. Made between the late 1930s and the late 1940s, the more than 50 paintings include the oils “The House of My Brothers” (1940-42) and “Femme Maison” (1946-47). Metropolitan Museum of Art,
“The Clamor of Ornament: Exchange, Power, and Joy From the Fifteenth Century to the Present”
June 15 to Sept. 18
Some might call them busy, but the 200 works in this show, covered with a riot of color and pattern, all use design to convey specific, powerful meanings. The visual feast — which includes drawings, textiles, and objects — manages to range from a Albrecht Dürer woodcut made around 1521 to a Japanese, late 19th-century illustrated book and even up to current-day luxury logos. Your eyes won’t be bored. Drawing Center,
“Propagazioni: Giuseppe Penone at Sèvres”
Through Aug. 28
Best known for his association with the Arte Povera movement, the Italian artist Giuseppe Penone has created a one-room installation at Frick Madison, the temporary quarters of the Frick Collection. He created the 11 porcelain disks at France’s famed Sèvres manufactory, and they have never been shown publicly before. Meant to highlight a connection with the museum’s rich porcelain holdings, each disk features Mr. Penone’s fingerprint in the center, surrounded by delicate concentric lines. Frick Collection,
“Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca: Five Times Brazil”
June 30 to Oct. 9
The duo of Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca collaborate on films and videos that look at Brazilian cultural traditions, often mixing documentary and fictional elements. This show, the first survey of their work in the United States, features five of their projects including one of their best known, 2019’s “Swinguerra.” It tracks competing groups of young dancers. New Museum,
“At the Dawn of a New Age: Early Twentieth-Century American Modernism”
From May 7 to January 2023
The overlapping Whitney Biennial may get more attention, but this show looks at some of the artistic roots of the contemporary moment through more than 60 works made from 1900 to 1930. Particularly noteworthy are striking pieces that have been in storage for decades, like Yun Gee’s view of Chinatown, “Street Scene” (1926), and recent acquisitions from the period, including Henrietta Shore’s nature-inspired abstraction “Trail of Life” (1923). Whitney Museum of American Art,
“The Language of Beauty in African Art”
Through July 31
This show, organized by the Art Institute of Chicago, focuses largely on masks, figures and sculptures from sub-Saharan Africa, mostly from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It investigates intertwined ideas about beauty, ugliness and morality. The more than 200 striking pieces include “Female Face Mask (Kambanda)” from the Eastern Pende people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, made from wood, pigment, fiber and metal, and the wooden “Helmet Mask (Kponyungo)” from the Senufo culture of Ivory Coast. Kimbell Art Museum,
May 15 to Sept. 25
“Women Painting Women”
This show sets aside the long tradition of men painting the opposite sex and looks instead at depictions of women by female artists, roughly organized around four themes: the body, nature personified, color as portrait and selfhood. The 46 artists include some revered names of the recent past, such as Alice Neel and Emma Amos, but the focus is on working artists such as Natalie Frank, Dana Schutz and Lorna Simpson, who are finding new ways to explore the topic. Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth,
“Shahzia Sikander: Extraordinary Realities”
Through June 5
Born in Pakistan and now a New York resident, Shahzia Sikander is getting a midcareer retrospective, looking back at 15 years of work. Ms. Sikander may be best known for her take on the small-scale paintings of Central and South Asia known as the neo-miniature. Her work has a basis in manuscript painting, devoted to artfully bringing out the tiniest details, but she does big installations, too. And she is exploring animation, as in “Parallax,” which digitally enhances her work with sound and movement. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston,
“Francisco Toledo: Paper Fables”
May 5 to Aug. 21
The Oaxacan artist Francisco Toledo (1940-2019) is represented by 26 works in this show including watercolors, lithographs and etchings. The artist, who at his death was considered among the most important in Mexico, drew on his country’s rich storytelling traditions in his work. In an unusual twist, the exhibition includes a “poetry intervention” by a local Tucson poet, Raquel Gutiérrez, whose works will be on the walls, too. Tucson Museum of Art,
“Alberto Giacometti: Toward the Ultimate Figure”
Through June 12
The attenuated and elongated bronze figures made by the sculptor Alberto Giacometti are among the signature sculptures of the 20th century. This masterpiece exhibition features 60 works — not only sculptures, but also paintings and drawings (the few landscape oils are a nice surprise). It looks at the artist’s interest in figuration at a time when abstract art was dominant, but also at how his sculptures became associated with existentialism. Cleveland Museum of Art,
“Roy Lichtenstein: History in the Making, 1948-1960”
Through June 5
Pride of place underlies this show: Before he was famous, Roy Lichtenstein once attended and taught at Ohio State University in Columbus. The approximately 90 works show a great artist in his early years, finding his way and experimenting with styles and media. There are even works from his flirtation with pure abstraction, a far cry from the polished Pop that made his name. Columbus Museum of Art,
“Assembly Required”
Through July 31
Museum-goers who are tired of signs saying “don’t touch the art” have found their happy place with this show, which invites interaction with some of the works. Nine artists are featured, including Yoko Ono, with an emphasis on works that require collaboration from people other than the creator. Visitors will be able to reconfigure the “bichos” (critters) by Lygia Clark, which are small metal tabletop sculptures, and they can rearrange the 36 red boxes in Rasheed Araeen’s “Zero to Infinity.” Pulitzer Arts Foundation,
May 15 to Sept. 5
This summer blockbuster offers a large-scale look at the work of Paul Cézanne, who early on in his career was more appreciated by other artists, later becoming a nearly universal taste. In 90 oils and 40 watercolors and drawings, the exhibition tracks the development of a painter who could capture a view or a person with perfect economy and who could make a bowl of fruit seem riveting. It travels to the co-organizing institution, London’s Tate Modern, in the fall. Art Institute of Chicago,
“Suspended Landscapes: Thread Drawings by Amanda McCavour”
Through Sept. 11
This site-specific project celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin (delayed by the pandemic from its original 2020 date). The Toronto-based artist Amanda McCavour has created diaphanous fabric panels holding delicately sewn botanical patterns, and they hang from a three-story-high atrium topped by skylights. As the panels move gently, the installation gives the space a shimmering quality. Chazen Museum of Art,
“Our Blue Planet: Global Visions of Water”
Through May 30
There could hardly be a more universal theme than water, and this exhibition feels satisfyingly broad. Three curators collaborated on the show, mostly choosing the more than 80 works from the Seattle Art Museum’s collection. They range from comforting, more familiar depictions from the 19th century — like an Albert Bierstadt beach painting and a Hiroshige woodblock print of a whirlpool — to challenging contemporary works that examine water as an endangered or desecrated resource. Seattle Art Museum,
“Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy”
Through Sept. 5
Amid the pandemic, a little fashion escapism is called for, and it’s amply provided by China’s most famous living couturier, Guo Pei. The designer — who founded her atelier, Rose Studio, in 1997 — made a splash with a yellow dress created for Rihanna, who wore it to the 2015 Met Gala. Ms. Guo is known for intricate embroidery, as seen in “Da Jin” (“Magnificent Gold”), one of more than 80 ensembles on view in the serene classical architecture of the Legion of Honor. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco,
“Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You.”
Through July 17
Barbara Kruger turned her pointed red-and-white text works — like 1987’s “Untitled (I shop therefore I am)” — into some of the most immediately recognizable (and imitated) art around. Now this retrospective traveling show arrives in Los Angeles, where she lives. With the 33 works made over four decades, audiences will see that she goes well beyond clever graphics, also using sound installations and videos for her sharp takes on culture and society. Los Angeles County Museum of Art,
“Gaetano Pesce: My Dear Mountains”
May 27 to Oct. 9
Adding to the already impressive views around the Aspen Art Museum is an inflatable, site-specific work by the Italian-born, New York City-based artist Gaetano Pesce that will cover the building’s facade. Depicting an idyllic mountain scene, it refers to the surroundings, and to Mr. Pesce’s happy visits to the area, in a playful way that also suggests a more complicated take on how museums present themselves. Aspen Art Museum,
“Georgia O’Keeffe, Photographer”
July 3 to Nov. 6
Beloved as a painter, Georgia O’Keeffe (once married to the photography pioneer Alfred Stieglitz) devoted much time and effort to making photographs, especially later in her career. Her devotion to familiar subjects like flowers — as in the close-up “Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium)” (1964-68) — is on display in this show’s nearly 100 works, but also her interest in the abstract effects of simple geometries, like the shadows cast by a ladder leaned against a wall. Denver Art Museum,
WASHINGTON“The Woman in White: Joanna Hiffernan and James McNeill Whistler”
July 3 to Oct. 10
The work known as “Whistler’s Mother” may have endured in the public consciousness, but the American-born, London-based painter James McNeill Whistler’s frequent subject for about 20 years was his red-haired partner, Joanna Hiffernan, whom he often depicted in white — a resonant image in Victorian culture. This exhibition brings together around 60 works and most of the extant paintings of Hiffernan, including “Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl” (1862). National Gallery of Art,
“Joan Mitchell”
Through Aug. 14
Prepare to be immersed in a dazzle of color and line at this long-awaited, 70-work retrospective of the second-generation Abstract Expressionist painter Joan Mitchell, one of the few women in a male-dominated movement. She was born in Chicago but lived much of her life in France, steadily pursuing ways to turn views of nature into thickly painted canvases in a stunning variety. Baltimore Museum of Art,
“Pictures in Pictures”
Through July 17
It makes sense that artists will depict other artworks, but what may surprise from this show drawn from the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art is the variety of ways it can be done. In “Allegory of Sight (Venus and Cupid in a Picture Gallery)” (ca. 1660) by Jan Brueghel the Younger, the stacks of paintings and sculptures are making a moral point; the photograph “Na’ Marcelina, Juchitán, Oaxaca” (1984), by contrast, feels personal and intimate. Philadelphia Museum of Art,
“Philip Guston Now”
Through Sept. 11
This show of 100 works, once postponed because of controversy over depictions of Ku Klux Klan members, makes its debut at the first of four venues. Philip Guston (1913-1980) shifted his styles remarkably through his long career, working in figuration and abstraction, and ending up in a mature mode that showed lumpy figures in cartoonlike settings. His choice of subjects will likely keep this exhibition in the news. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,
“Revival: Materials and Monumental Forms”
May 26 to Sept. 5
The seasonal space of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, known as the Watershed comes alive every summer with a new project, and this one nods to the industrial heritage of the building itself, once a copper pipe and sheet metal plant. In this show, six artists take industrial materials or everyday ones to utterly transform them. Madeline Hollander’s installation takes the headlights and taillights of cars and syncs them up to the traffic outside. Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston,
“Marisol and Warhol Take New York”
Through Sept. 5
This show foregrounds the artist known as Marisol, born María Sol Escobar to Venezuelan parents in Paris, linking her career to the more familiar story of Andy Warhol. The two were good friends, making their way in the New York art world together in the 1960s, with Marisol creating some indelible works like “The Family” and “The Party.” The intent is to give Latin-American contributions to Pop their due. Pérez Art Museum Miami,
“Gio Swaby: Fresh Up”
May 28 to Oct 9
The Bahamian-born artist Gio Swaby sews portraits in fabric and thread that she has called “love letters to Black women.” She starts with a photograph of the subject, and in the series “Pretty Pretty” the resulting works are life-size for extra monumentality. The show’s more than 40 works demonstrate how Ms. Swaby emphasizes the unique personal style of her subjects, with color and pattern taking on a life of their own. Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg,
“A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration”
Through Sept. 11
This show uses the work of 12 Black contemporary artists as a prism to reflect the legacies of the Great Migration, in which about six million African Americans moved from the South to other U.S. regions in the 20th century. Zoë Charlton’s installation, “Permanent Change of Station” (2022), looks at the impact of military service on families, and Mark Bradford’s painting “500” (2022) focuses on the self-reliance of the members of a Black settlement in New Mexico. Mississippi Museum of Art,
“Bob Thompson: This House is Mine”
June 17 to Sept. 11
Bob Thompson (1937-66) had a short life and career, but the Kentucky native developed a distinctive painting style for scenes of silhouetted figures in bright colors that were heavily influenced by European masters like Goya. He was briefly an art world sensation but died at 28. This show, the first major survey of the prolific artist in 20 years, may be a pleasant surprise for viewers discovering a new name from the past. High Museum of Art,


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