13 U.S. Museum Shows to See This Fall, From Tragic Genius Matthew Wong’s First Retrospective to a Landmark Joan Didion Exhibition

These shows are all taking place outside of New York.

Kenneth Tam, Silent Spikes (2021), Installation view, Queens Museum. Courtesy the artist and Commonwealth and Council. Photo by Jason Mandella.

Museums’ fall exhibition schedules are to the arts community what pumpkin-spice lattes are to the coffee world. Without them, would we ever really know that the seasons had changed?

Given the autumnal onslaught of retrospectives and artistic debuts alike opening at museums around the U.S. (that are not in New York!), we’ve rounded up 13 of the hottest new exhibitions, from Dallas to Denver, Miami to Minneapolis. The programming this season is as robust as a pumpkin at a county fair—take your pic below.


1. “Vermeer’s Secrets” at The National Gallery of Art
October 8, 2022–January 8, 2023

Johannes Vermeer, Woman Holding a Balance (c. 1664). Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art.

One might think that historians have learned everything there is to know about Vermeer in the 350 years since the Dutch artist’s death, but new revelations about his work keep making headlines. This show, focused on four of Vermeer’s paintings at the National Gallery, looks at how scientists and conservators have used technology to investigate the artist’s light-filled depictions of quiet solitude.

The National Gallery of Art is located at Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20565.


2. “Joan Didion: What She Means” at the Hammer Museum
October 11, 202–January 22, 2023

Brigitte Lacombe, Joan Didion, New York, 1996, (1996). Courtesy of the artist and Lacombe, Inc.

Have the shows that Hilton Als curates ever received bad reviews? Here, the acclaimed New Yorker writer has taken on the 20th-century’s literary it-girl less than a year after Didion’s death, at age 87. The show speaks to the author’s legacy through work by artists including Betye Saar, Vija Celmins, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and Ed Ruscha.

The Hammer Museum is located at 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90024.


3. “Jannis Kounellis in Six Acts” at the Walker Art Center
October 14, 2022–February 26, 2023

Jannis Kounellis, Untitled 85-410 II (1985). Courtesy of the Walker Art Center.

He called himself a painter, but that was more of a philosophical statement. Jannis Kounellis was a Greek artist who became a central figure in the Italian Arte Povera movement of the 1960s and 1970s. “Everything I do is painting, even if I don’t touch a brush.” And he touched almost every other medium; the show includes some 50 works of sculpture, installation, and performance that typify his inventive approach to creativity.

The Walker Art Center is located at 725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55403.


4. “Matthew Wong: The Realm of Appearances” at the Dallas Museum of Art
October 16, 2022–February 19, 2023

Matthew Wong, Starry Night (2019). © 2019 Matthew Wong Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York. Image courtesy of Karma, New York.

Matthew Wong, Starry Night (2019). © 2019 Matthew Wong Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York. Image courtesy of The Matthew Wong Foundation.

The Dallas Museum of Art is hosting the first U.S. museum show of work by the late artist, who died in 2019, leaving behind a trove of paintings and ink drawings. The lyrical scenes of super-dappled canvases and solitary figures give insight to the artist as poet and painter.

The Dallas Museum of Art is located at 1717 N Harwood St. Dallas, Texas, 75201.


5. “Saints, Sinners, Lovers, and Fools: 300 Years of Flemish Masterworks” at the Denver Museum of Art
October 16, 2022–January 22, 2023

Hendrick de Clerck and Denijs van Alsloot, The Garden of Eden with the Four Elements (1613). © The Phoebus Foundation, Antwerp.

Lust, sin, adoration, loyalty, and beauty all come together in this visual buffet of 300 years worth of medieval, Renaissance, and baroque paintings, many on view outside of Belgium for the first time ever. This U.S. exhibition is presented in collaboration with Antwerp’s Phoebus Foundation, and explores the rich artistic production between the 15th and 17th centuries, featuring masters like Hans Memling, Peter Paul Rubens, and Anthony van Dyck.

The Denver Museum of Art is located at 100 W 14th Ave. Pkwy Denver, Colorado, 80204.


6. “Frank Bowling’s Americas” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA
October 22, 2022–April 9, 2023

Frank Bowling, Middle Passage (1970). © Frank Bowling. All rights reserved, DACS, London & ARS, New York 2022. Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

There have been many exhibitions in recent years celebrating the vibrant abstract paintings of Frank Bowling, an artist born in British Guiana who traveled extensively around the world. But this is the first major exhibition to study his decade in New York, where Bowling came into contact with debates around Black identity and modern painting. It was a crucible of transformation for the artist, who has become a touchstone for many artists working today.

The MFA Boston is located at 465 Huntington Ave, Boston, Massachusetts, 02115.


7. “Tender Is the Hand Which Holds the Stone of Memory — Kenneth Tam” at Ballroom Marfa
October 26, 2022–May 7, 2023

Kenneth Tam, Silent Spikes (still) (2021). Courtesy the artist and Commonwealth and Council. Photo by Jason Mandella.

Westward expansion in the United States would not have happened without the railroads, and the railroads would not have happened without the thousands of Chinese migrant workers who built them. In this exhibition, artist Kenneth Tam excavates the regional history and forgotten lives of the laborers who helped build America in the late 19th century through videos and installations.

Ballroom Marfa is located at 108 E San Antonio St, Marfa, Texas, 79843.

8. “What’s Going On” at Rubell Museum DC in Washington, D.C.
Opens October 29, 2022

Hank Willis Thomas, From the Unbranded Series B A Natural Exposion! Afro Sheen® Blowout Creme Relaxer (1973/2007). Courtesy of the Rubell Museum D.C.

The highly-anticipated opening of the Rubell family’s museum in Washington D.C. will pay homage to Marvin Gaye, an alum of the high school that the new cultural institution occupies. “What’s Going On?” takes its title from the singer’s 1971 album and includes more than 190 works by 37 artists, including Carrie Mae Weems, Kehinde Wiley, Tschabalala Self, and Mickalene Thomas.

The Rubell Museum DC is located at 65 I St SW, Washington, D.C. 20024.


9. “Judy Bowman: Gratiot Griot” at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
October 29, 2022–March 25, 2023

Judy Bowman, Detroit Swagger (2022). Image courtesy the artist
and Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

In her first solo museum exhibition, the mixed-media artist Judy Bowman will present a number of collages that tell the story of African-American life in the Detroit neighborhoods where she has lived. The show promises to highlight her extensive career as a storyteller who has gone from being a kindergarten teacher to a working artist.

MOCAD is located at 4454 Woodward Ave, Detroit, Michigan, 48201.


10. “Henry Taylor: B Side” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
November 6, 2022–April 30, 2023

Henry Taylor, Untitled (2021), © Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Jeff McLane.

Henry Taylor’s distinctive renderings of friends, family members, celebrities, athletes, and random people encountered on the street populate this survey of more than 30 years of the artist’s career. Alongside paintings, the artist’s peripatetic sculptures made from found objects and everyday detritus paint a distinctly personal yet universal picture of Black life in America.

MOCA LA is located at 250 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, California, 90012.


11. “Nina Chanel Abney: Big Butch Energy” at ICA Miami
November 29, 2022–March 12, 2023

Nina Chanel Abney, Big Butch Energy (2022). Courtesy of the artist.

The 40-year-old artist has developed a knack for telling complicated tales in a heavily stylized visual language. For her exhibition at ICA Miami, Abney will present a new installation that approaches frat life on college campuses by reinterpreting its iconography through queer Black characters. Exploring the tensions between respectability and vulgarity, she displays that ravenous hunger for belonging that exists in everyone.

ICA Miami is located at 61 NE 41st St, Miami, Florida, 33137.

12. “Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour” at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Through January 30, 2023

Teri Greeves, Abstraction: Kiowa by Design (2014). Courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photo: Stephen Lang.

The Crystal Bridges Museum’s first foray into an exhibition dedicated to fashion is a wide ranging survey of everything from Americana-inspired Western workwear to avant-garde designs that rival any contemporary sculpture. Actual archival garments as well as those articulated by painters and photographers make up this visual panoply.

The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, 600 Museum Way, Bentonville, Arkansas, 72712.

13. “The Medieval Top Seller: The Book of Hours” at the Cleveland Museum of Art
Through July 30, 2023

Noël Bellemare, the 1520s Hours Workshop, Adjoining Leaves from a Book of Hours: Penitential Psalms and King David in Prayer (ca. 1530–35). Courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Forget Harry Potter, the hottest book in the later Middle Ages was, without question, the Book of Hours. Devotional texts richly illustrated for the layperson to use and study at home, these books were estimated to be owned by one in four households until the 1550s, and provide invaluable insight into the medieval world and the owners who often ordered bespoke copies.

The Cleveland Museum of Art is located at 11150 East Blvd, Cleveland, Ohio, 44106.


Additional reporting by Caroline Goldstein.

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