The Season's Best Museum Exhibitions: A Preview

Gone are the days of the summer blockbuster art museum exhibits (sorry to those who missed the oh-so-Instagrammable Rain Room at MoMA). Starting in September, though, you can see well-curated exhibits across the country without waiting in line.

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Gone are the days of the summer blockbuster art museum exhibits (sorry to those who missed the oh-so-Instagrammable Rain Room at the Museum of Modern Art A). Starting in September, though, you can see well-curated exhibits across the country without waiting in line. This list is certainly not exhaustive, but it features a mix of pop, Surrealist, and Impressionist art, as well as fashion, film, and sculpture — something for almost everyone. We present The Atlantic Wire's fall museum preview.

New York

The People's UN (pUN) at the Queens Museum

The big news in New York is that the Queens Museum will reopen this fall after a massive, 50,000 square foot expansion. In the new main entrance, Pedro Reyes will launch his exhibit The People's UN (pUN), which is a nod to the building's history — it held the General Assembly of the United Nations from 1946-1950. Reyes' exhibit will be part performance art, all political statement. He's bringing together 193 people to represent the UN member states, and they will apply alternative negotiation techniques like marriage counseling, radical theater, and corporate management counseling to "solve" foreign relations issues. The end result (whatever that may be) will be presented to the real UN. (November 23)

Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938 at the MoMA

This exhibit will focus on lesser-known Magritte works from a more experimental period leading up to World War II. According to art historians, it was in the late 1920s that he decided to, in his words, "challenge the real world." (September 28. Parts of the show will also be at the Art Institute of Chicago until October 12).

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier at the Brooklyn Museum

Get to this one early before FIT students plow you over to see it. The exhibit will feature 140 of the French designer's haute couture and prêt-à-porter ensembles from when he was coming up in the 1970s to now. Gaultier is known for featuring untraditional models in his shows, and fittingly, the exhibit's mannequins will be custom-designed for the clothes. Expect gender-bending Paris street fashion as well as celebrity-worn garments (he's dressed a few pop stars in his day). (October 25.)

Robert Motherwell: Early Collages at the Guggenheim

Susan Davidson is curating this collection of Motherwell's early work from the 1940s and 1950s, in which he utilizes the papier collé technique of pasting objects into a painting. His cut, torn, and pasted collages reflect the threat of "tumult and violence" in the postwar period. Peggy Guggenheim was an early supporter of Motherwell, so this exhibit is a nod to her, as well. (September 27.)

Robert Indiana: Beyond Love at the Whitney

Robert Indiana was a pop artist who came up in the 1960s. He's also responsible for that LOVE sculpture you can find in various American cities. This exhibit will show he's more than the sculpture — used words in his art to signify "American identity, racial injustice, and the illusion and disillusion of love." (September 26.)

Washington, D.C.

Yes, No, Maybe: Artists Working at Crown Point Press at the National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery will display 125 proofs and prints created at the famous Crown Point Press in San Francisco between 1972 and 2010. You can catch work by Richard Diebenkorn, John Cage, Chuck Close, and Sol LeWitt, who had to say "yes, no, or maybe" to each version of their proofs. The focal point of this exhibit is the artist's process. (September 1.)


David Lynch at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts 

The director, known for films like Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive and, more recently, Inland Empire, also paints. And sculpts. And takes photos. These works, which have the same sense of the uncanny as his films, were curated by Robert Cozzolino for the exhibit. Lynch says he's influenced by the British Surrealist painter Francis Bacon. (September 5.)


Detroit: Artists in Residence at the Mattress Factory 

Before the Motor City's bankruptcy, Mattress Factory curators combed Detroit for artists living and working in the city. They chose six based on their "reactions to the swift socioeconomic changes . . . and their making of work in an environment burgeoning with opportunity." Steve Hocking, one of the artists, has stunning ongoing photo series entitled Detroit Nights and Detroit Love — if his work is any indication, this exhibit will as powerful as it is authentic. (September 13.)


What Vincent Saw at the Art Institute of Chicago 

Back in 1947, the Art Institute PR Counsel Peter Pollack befriended Van Gogh's nephew, Vincent Willem van Gogh. The two of them, along with the director of the Art Institute, decided to travel around and take photos of the famous scenes Van Gogh painted. This exhibit pairs those photos with the original paintings. (September 10.)

MCA DNA: Warhol and Marisol at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago 

Curated by Lynne Warren, this exhibit is a celebration of the New York art scene in the 1960s. Andy Warhol began his legendary silk screening in this era, and Marisol Escobar was wood sculpting. The two were friends who constantly influenced each other and sometimes made representations of each other in their works. Fans of the pop art movement (or even just the '60s New York party scene) will line up for this one. (September 21.)

Los Angeles

Agnès Varda in Californialand at the LACMA 

Varda, a narrative and documentary filmmaker, has been called the "godmother of New Wave." LACMA is restoring four of her films, including Black Panthers (1968). The exhibit will also feature an installation based on Varda's time in L.A. in the late 1960s, as well as a collection of her photographs. (November 3.)


The Tool at Hand at the Museum of Contemporary Craft 

Curator Ethan Lasser invited 14 artists from the U.S. and U.K. to create sculptures using just one tool. The sculptors, like Beth Lipman and Mark Lindquist, are used to working with extensive toolkits and even 3D printers. This exercise will question what it means to be skilled and the role of technology in sculpting. (October 2.)

San Francisco 

The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond, 1950–1990 at the de Young 

The de Young will display 150 of Bulgari's most precious pieces, including those worn by Elizabeth Taylor. Sketches and other bits of memorabilia will be featured as well. During the featured years, Gianni Bulgari led the company and created the brand known today by opening shops in New York, Paris, and Geneva. (September 21.)

And something to watch in Hudson, NY . . .

Performance artist Marina Abramovic got all the money she needed ($661,454) from Kickstarter on Sunday to found the Marina Abramovic Institute in Hudson, located in the scenic Hudson River Valley. The space will be a long-durational performance-art center. This news solidifies Abramovic's status as a major player in the art business. With fans like Lady Gaga and Jay Z, who knows who might turn up at the Institute — when it's finished, that is.

Photos via Reuters.

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