Museum exhibitions and events are posted as a running calendar, with items added regularly. Below are two dozen listings in art and design, photography, science and more for US museums; followed by Europe; then selected events from all over the world.
EXHIBITIONS UNITED STATES
Bloomfield Hills, Mich
Through Oct 13 Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America, Cranbrook Art Museum: “Michigan architects Albert Kahn, Eero Saarinen, and Minoru Yamasaki didn’t just design buildings; they defined an era.” We, of course, think of them not as Michiganers, but as the seminal figures of 20th century design. It was a happy confluence of time and talent, as well as a surging American economy –designers and architects who defined the look of the 20th century (at least mid-century) automobile design, home and office furnishings, and great buildings: Florence Knoll, Herman Miller Company, Henry Ford, the Eames Office (Lounge Chair) Huffington Post Article
Two must-see shows at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Hippie Chic (through Nov 14) and Holland on Paper: The Age of Art Nouveau (through Feb 23, ‘14). If you were there (living) in the 1960’s, you’ll recognize that art nouveau and hippie chic (not the exhibitions) were soul mates in the Age of Aquarius. Think only of women’s (and men’s) curly, flowing hair, all-over nouveau-style printed fabrics, and Fillmore posters that adorned apartment walls with illumination by black light! Maybe it’s a coincidence that the innovative works of Dutch graphic design from the late 19th and early 20th centuries appear on exhibit at the MFA at the same time that examples of sartorial arcana (tie-dye, patchwork, beads, and fringe), ethnic and vintage clothing, and costumes of iconic rock stars and celebrities of the era (The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and Cher).
The MFA says it has been collecting Dutch art nouveau— inventive art and design – for the past 25 years. Here are 45 examples, including works by Piet Mondrian, Bart van der Leck, and Jan Toorop. It’s a stroke of curatorial genius that invites you to spend a day in two exhibitions bracketing two centuries of novel design and adornment. New York Times story
Postscript: The last Volkswagen “hippie” bus rolls off the production line in Brazil on December 31. Who knew they are still being made? They are being discontinued because they cannot be fitted with air bags and other safety device.
Oct 19- Dec 22, Patrick Dougherty, University of Virginia: Internationally known for his site-specific sculptures of twigs and saplings, Patrick Dougherty is creating a unique work for the front of the Ruth Caplin Theatre and Arts Commons at UVA. University and community volunteers are assisting in the project using local materials (under construction). “Acknowledging the biodegradable and ephemeral nature of the materials, Dougherty’s sculptures inhabit a space for only a limited time.” Learn more about the artist from the Green News Update (Books July 2013). List of his current projects. Upcoming Dougherty projects
Nov 12-Jan 27, 2014 Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine Art, Institute of Chicago: Food is a way of examining race, culture, commerce and politics. This exhibition of 75 paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the 18th through the 20th century, examines the multiple meanings and interpretations of eating in America. Artists range from Raphaelle Peale (one of the famed Peale family of artists) and William Hartnett to Edward Hopper, Andy Warhol, and Claes Oldenburg. The show includes a selection of period cookbooks, menus, trade cards, and posters, to explore the art and culture of food.
Through Dec 1 The Art Institute’s family gallery features illustrations from 16 books that have won the Caldecott Medal (2010-13), the premier award for illustration in children’s literature. Play, Pretend and Dream honors the 75th anniversary of the award (and honor books). (Left): Peter Brown’s gripping cinematic style in Creepy Carrots! has the suspicious vegetables flipping in delight after stopping their antagonist.
New York City
Through Oct 13 A Beautiful Way to Go: New York’s Green-Wood Cemetery, Museum of the City of New York. Before there was Central Park, New Yorkers in the 19th century thought of Green-Wood (in Brooklyn) as a public space they could retreat to and reflect– a bucolic landscape that also included beautiful monuments and statuary by leading artists – including Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Richard Upjohn, and Warren & Wetmore, designers of Grand Central Terminal. Like Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, Green-Wood is full of notables: Curriver & Ives, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Boss Tweed, Henry Steinway, Samuel Morse (inventor of the Morse code) and others. The exhibition on the 175th anniversary of this national landmark, includes original artifacts, sculptures, drawings, and Hudson River School paintings; historic documents; and photographs. New York Times story
Now to May 2015 Audubon Sesquicentennial, New York Historical Society: A rotating display through Oct 13, 2013, in the museum’s Audubon niche presents National Treasures—Summer Swans A-swimming for The Birds of America (1827–38). A series of three exhibitions — featuring all 474 stunning avian watercolors by Audubon in the collection– celebrates the sesquicentennial of the New-York Historical Society’s purchase of the Audubon avian watercolors. Coming up: Audubon’s Aviary: Part II of The Complete Flock (Mar 21–May 26, 2014) includes many of the water birds from his southern travels and on the Labrador Expedition. It will feature the watercolor models for Havell plates 201–305 (fascicles 36–61). Part III of The Complete Flock (Mar 13–May 10, 2015) will highlight his final groups (fascicles 62–87), when he was rushing to complete his quest and, therefore, represented western species to bookend the North American continent. (BOOK) Audubon’s Aviary: The Original Watercolors for The Birds of America, Roberta J. M. Olson. (Skira Rizzoli) 10.5 x 13 inch volume, 448 pp. 85.00. Online exhibition
Through Feb 2 2014 Chagall: Love, War, and Exile, The Jewish Museum. It’s not a large show but the first that explore Marc Chagall’s artistic oeuvre from the rise of fascism in the 1930s through 1948, years spent in Paris and then in exile in New York. Chagall (1887-19865) moved to Paris from Russia to escape the hardships following the revolution, and settled into life in Paris with wife Bella and daughter Ida. With the rise of fascism and then World War II, Chagall and family fled to New York in 1941, with assistance from Alfred Barr, the founding director of the Museum of Modern Art. “Although he never abandoned a poetic sensibility, his art of the 1930s and 1940s reflects the political reality of the time. “The sudden loss of his wife Bella left Chagall unmoored, from which he eventually recovered. But Chagall never inhabited fully his new life in New York, and returned again and again to create art from memories of his childhood and of the Bolshevik Revolution. The exhibition includes 30 paintings and 24 works on paper, as well as selected letters, poems, photos, and ephemera. The Jewish Museum and Yale University Press are co-publishing a 148-page catalogue that examines Chagall’s complex iconography and phantasmagorical style, 72 color reproductions, 27 black and white illustrations, and 11 of Chagall’s rarely seen poems. Review
Chagall’s granddaughters tell his story (New York Times)
Through Jan 5,2014 Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade 1500-1800, The Metropolitan Museum of Art: It’s a feast for the eyes, a history lesson and a take on three centuries of taste, trade and commerce. The Met has assembled 130 textiles plus 30 garments (and prints/books), mostly from its own collections. The show is described by a New York Times critic as “knock your socks off,” “drop dead moments,” and “tour de force.” –probably no exaggeration. Consider the robe a la Polonaise, which is architectural endeavor in its layers of bustle; or the mid-18th-century palampore (originally a bed or wall hanging) of bright silk on gold cotton sewed with ultra-tiny stitches. The trade (like today’s “to the trade only”) was lavish, but there are plenty of reminders of the slave trade and clashes between colonials and indigenous people. If you cannot get there, the catalogue is surely worth it ! New York Times review
Through Jan 5 Whales: Giants of the Deep, American Museum of Natural History: Did you know that whales evolved from deer-like land creatures into the largest mammals inhabiting the planet? This traveling exhibition from New Zealand features 20 whale skulls and skeletons; and outlines the history and biology of these amazing creatures. “Sniff here, too, at a chunk of ambergris, ‘gray amber,’ once used in the ancient Middle East as a spice and incense, and later as a fixative for perfumes.” Perhaps more significant is that this immersive exhibition reconstructs the human relationship with mammals, from Maori whale riding to –sadly—whalehunting, a practice that continues today. “ ‘At the peak of U.S. whaling, in 1853,’ we learn, ‘Americans killed more than 8,000 whales.’ But in the 20th century, about 350,000 blue whales were killed by the whale trade, leaving only about 2,000 alive. ‘It was estimated,’ we read, ‘that Japanese, Danish, British, Dutch and Soviet Russian fleets collectively killed a fifth of the whales in the Southern Ocean in the 1957-58 season alone.'” New York Times story
Sept 29 – Jan 5, 2014 Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris, National Gallery of Art: 100 photographs covering the arc of Charles Marville’s career (1813-1879) are assembled for the first retrospective exhibition in the US (it will travel to New York too.) City scenes, landscape and architectural studies of Europe are presented, but especially notable, his photographs of Paris and environs in the 1870’s. Named official photographer of the city of Paris in 1862, Marville was commissioned in 1865 to record the streets and buildings that the urban planner Baron Haussmann had slated for destruction. Today we may long for the pre-modern Paris, but Haussmann’s purpose was prosaic – to document how unsanitary and cramped the medieval areas were before tearing them down. (Travels to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Jan 27–May 4, 2014). Exhibition details
Oct 4- Jul 13, 2014 Dancing the Dream, National Portrait Gallery. Elegant, timeless, urbane – that’s what we think when we see images of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. This exhibition showcases generations of performers, choreographers and impresarios. The show will include images of performers: Michael Jackson, Savion Glover, George Balanchine, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Beyoncé, Isadora Duncan, Agnes de Mille and Lady Gaga. This exhibition “explores the relationship between the art of dance and the evolution of a modern American identity.
Oct 10-Mar 9 2014 Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment. Work by 11 women photojournalists on view at the National Geographic’s Museum –from the elegant landscapes of the Mongolian steppes and American West to war-torn battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan; from the last great wildernesses of Africa to the lives of people from the Arctic to the Jersey Shore. For my money, it’s Jody Cobb, who has worked in over 65 countries and produced 30 Nat Geo stories, including including the acclaimed “21st-Century Slaves.” Cobb was the first woman to be named White House Photographer of the Year. Oct 29 event: Senior Photo Editor Elizabeth Krist will explain how she selected from among thousands of National Geographic photos to create the exhibition Learn about the work that goes into curating a National Geographic exhibition as you get an insider’s tour. ($35). Exhibition details
Through Oct 13 Out of Southeast Asia: Art that Sustains, at The Textile Museum: The final exhibition in the TM’s historic mansion on S Street NW, is worth seeing if only for old timesake. The Meyers mansion will be closed and sold. The TM moves in fall 2014 to a new museum on the George Washington University campus. Historical textile art from The Textile Museum’s magnificent Southeast Asian collections—batiks from Indonesia and brocades and ikats from Laos—will be displayed alongside the work of four contemporary textile artists and designers. Out of Southeast Asia demonstrates how contemporary artists are preserving the traditional arts even as they interpret them in new and innovative ways. Event: The TM’s Annual Fall Symposium (Oct 11-12) focuses on Southeast Asian Textiles.
Through Oct 22 Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex on the Flight of Birds , National Air & Space Museum. Timed tickets needed (free admission). The Codex is opened to only one page – for obvious conservation reasons – but the exhibition features touch-screen panels of all the images and text, that allow you to view the entire hand-written document. Leonardo was fascinated by the possibility of human flight. He produced more than 35,000 words and 500 sketches dealing with flying machines, the nature of air, and bird flight. “In the Codex on the Flight of Birds Leonardo outlined a number of observations and beginning concepts that would find a place in the development of a successful airplane in the early twentieth century.”
Nov 1- Apr 27, 2014 Yousuf Karsh: American Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery. This is a celebration of a major gift to its collection of more than 100 portraits created by renowned photographer Yousuf Karsh (1908–2002), Among the portraits: artist Georgia O’Keeffe, physician and virologist Jonas Salk, singer Marian Anderson, actress Grace Kelly, businesswoman Elizabeth Arden, architect I. M. Pei and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.It is the museum’s first exhibition devoted entirely to the work of the internationally recognized portrait photographer. (The second installment: May 2 to Nov. 2, 2014. )
Through Dec 8 Cloud Terrace, Dumbarton Oaks: A temporary installation, it is a wire framework on poles that suspends 10,000 Swarovski lead-crystal pendants over a garden patio. Don’t be fooled – this work by artistic partners Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot is dazzling – transformed by light, time of day, and weather conditions. An academic and public outpost of Harvard University, Dumbarton Oaks’ horticultural fame is two-part – a fabulous library/archive and a world-class garden designed in the 1920’s by Beatrix Farrand.
NPR interview with John Beardsley, exhibition curator.
Through Jan 5, 2014 Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa, National Museum of African Art (SI). This is a sleeper of a show – just stunning if you judge by the online gallery of photographs and art works in the show. Looking through the lens of Africa, Earth Matters focuses on the very creative and visual ways in which individuals and communities negotiate complex relationships with the land beneath their feet and the earth at large. Forty artists from 24 of Africa’s 55 nations have employed media as diverse as ceramic, textile, film, drawing, printmaking, photography, wood, and mixed-media sculpture and installations (100 pieces in all) to explore the land for inspiration. The items date back as far as 1800. One section of the exhibition features three commissioned earthworks, a first for the Smithsonian Gardens and the Mall.
EXHIBITIONS IN EUROPE
Begins Sept 24: Discovery! Van Gogh’s recently confirmed painting Sunset at Montmajour goes on display for one year at the Van Gogh Museum. Read the back story in the New York Times. Link to the Van Gogh Museum
Can’t get there? You don’t have to leave home to access high-quality digital versions of 125,000 works in the Rijksmuseum collections. You can download onto a tee shirt, phone cover or even your car! New York Times business article. Portal to the Rijksstudio
Through Jan 19, 2014 Victoria & Albert Museum: Pearls. Miraculous creations of nature, pearls are sought after for their beauty, size, color and rarity. This exhibition, a joint project of the V&A and the Qatar Museums Authority, explores the history of pearls from the early Roman Empire to today. If you saw the Pearls exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History (2003), you know this will be an extraordinary show. Through Jan 19 2014. Details
Through Mar 9 2014 Tate Modern: EY Exhibition Paul Klee Making Visible. Exhibition focuses on the decade Klee spent teaching and working at the Bauhaus, the hotbed of modernist design. Paintings, drawings and watercolors from worldwide collections will be reunited and on display as Klee intended. Some are on view for the first time since Klee exhibited them himself! Details
Paris & environs
Through Feb 14, 2014 Musée des arts décoratifs (Paris) : Trompe l’oeil…sham, imitation, pastiche and other illusions.
It is the art of deception taken to the highest level. From ancient frescoes (Pomepii comes to mind) to Dutch still lifes and even American painters (Hartnett and Peto), artists and artisans have transformed plebian materials (wood, canvas) into the semblance of lacquer, velvet, gilded wood and three-dimensional objects that create vision games, optical illusions and unusual visual effect. See the web site for a panoply of masterful deceptions. Better yet, visit if you’re in Paris.
Opens Oct 22 Château de Versailles: Le Nôtre in Perspective (1613-2013). Gardener, designer, architect, engineer- hydraulics specialist, and planner, André Le Nôtre gave form to The Sun King’s (Louis XIV) myth and power by transforming the gardens at Versailles into the center of the universe. The exhibition ends a year of celebrating Le Nôtre’s 400th anniversary. Through Feb 24 2014. Details
Through Nov 4 Centre Pompidou: Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein gets his due in a retrospective organized by the Tate and Art Institute of Chicago that also traveled to the National Gallery of Art. This is the first retrospective of his work in over 20 years! Details
Barcelona and Madrid Spain
Museum of Modern Art’s huge Le Corbusier exhibition (300 works) –Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, 1887–1965, a protean figure in the world of design travels to Spain: Fundació “la Caixa” in Barcelona (Jan 28–May 11, 2014), and to Fundació “la Caixa” in Madrid (June 11–Oct 13, 2014).
Through Dec 1, Le Stanze del Vetro on San Giorgio Maggiore: Napoleone Martinuzzi: Venini 1925-1931. Two hugely important glass shows this year, Murano in Paris, and now the work of Venini’s creative director who, according to the show’s curator Marino Barovier, “…brought the tradition of Murano glass into the modern era…rich in energy and saturated with a surprisingly contemporary taste.” Check out the examples online
Sept 28 St. Louis: 12th Annual Green Homes and Great Health Festival returns to the grounds of the Missouri Botanical Garden 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The festival showcases a multitude of options for sustainable living combined with positive ways to maintain health of people and the planet. The Festival is included with Missouri Botanical Garden admission $8 for adults /children ages 12 and under free. St. Louis City/ County residents free Saturday before noon and $4 thereafter. Details
Oct 2 New York City: Innovation By Design Conference and Awards, Fast Company’s annual recognition of designers. The Fast Company folks follow Tom Watson’s mantra: “Good design is good business.” From 1200 submissions the judges have selected 54 finalists. Full day of speakers/gala ($695)
Oct 4-5 Amsterdam: A two-day day preview of the World Science Festival Amsterdam 2014 will be held in multiple venues, with science programming “designed to inspire, educate and entertain audiences of all ages.” The Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences (KNAW), the VU University Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam are participating. Details
Oct 17-20 New York City: Margaret Mead Film Festival, American Museum of Natural History. Showcase of contemporary cultural storytelling. Lineup of international documentary films with the theme See for Yourself. FEE Details
Oct 18 New Haven CT: Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University continues its 50th anniversary celebration with a talk by Umberto Eco, Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic and novelist. Eco is best known for his 1980 novel Il nome della rosa (The Name of the Rose). His other works of fiction include Il pendolo di Foucault (Foucault’s Pendulum) and Il cimitero di Praga (The Prague Cemetery) 5-6pm. FREE. Details
Nov 12-13 Hanoi Vietnam: The joint 15th Forum on Eco-innovation and the UNEP Roundtable on Eco-innovation. Theme: Cutting Waste: Resource efficiency and eco-innovation for sustainable food chains. “In 2013 the world is producing enough volume of food to feed all its population, yet paradoxically almost one billion people are still hungry and two billion are malnourished ….Contributing to these profound imbalances is the amount of food fit for consumption wasted in inefficient supply chains or at consumer-facing stages.” Organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the European Commission, Directorate General for the Environment. FREE but you must pre-register. Details and online invitation
IT’S NOT THE END — More postings on the way!