22 Unmissable Museum Shows to See in the Americas, From a Mapplethrope Extravaganza to Joan Miró in New York
Here's what museums have on offer this winter across the Western hemisphere.
As ever, it promises to be a busy year for museums and galleries across North and South America. From an in-depth survey of the Guggenheim’s holdings of Robert Mapplethorpe photographs in New York, to Jordan Casteel’s first major museum show, there’s a remarkably wide range of art to see this year—enough, no doubt, to satisfy any art lover.
Here’s what we’re looking forward to seeing in the months ahead.
“Sophie Calle: Cuídese Mucho” at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Santiago de Chile
WHAT: French Conceptual artist Sophie Calle, known for her vulnerable, deeply personal practice, has made parsing break-up messages an art form. This title of this exhibition, which features 107 women’s interpretations of a relationship-ending email she received 11 years earlier—a process intended to help her finally move on—is a Spanish translation of the notes’s closing line: “Take care of yourself.”
WHERE: Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Santiago de Chile
WHEN: January 3–30, 2019
“Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler: Flora” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
WHAT: In their film Flora (2017), Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler bring Flora Mayo, a largely unknown woman artist of the 1920s whose work was destroyed, into the center of the frame. Today, Mayo is remembered primarily as Alberto Giacometti’s lover, but this film—which includes a bold mix of documentary and reenactment (and features Mayo’s son, David)—reveals the artist’s life and ambitions. The installation also includes a recreation of a bust that Mayo made of Giacometti, known only from a photograph of the two with the now-lost work.
WHERE: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
WHEN: January 20–April 7, 2019
“Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
WHAT: Get ready for a year of Robert Mapplethorpe at the Guggenheim, which has one of the biggest public collections of his work thanks to a gift of some 200 photographs from his foundation in 1993. Presented in two phases, the show will kick off with a selection of Mapplethorpe’s photos including early Polaroids, self-portraits, and the controversial S&M images, before transitioning to the work of other contemporary artists in the Guggenheim collection who have been influenced by his work, or who take a similar approach to the body and identity.
WHERE: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
WHEN: January 25–July 10, 2019 and July 24, 2019–January 5, 2020
“Viva Avant Garde: A Jeremy Scott Retrospective” at Dallas Contemporary
WHAT: American fashion designer Jeremy Scott gets his first retrospective, with early designs from his namesake label, documentation from his biggest runway shows, and a huge selection of clothing, handbags, and footwear.
WHERE: Dallas Contemporary
WHEN: January 27–March 17, 2019
“Rebecca Belmore: Facing the Monumental” at Remai Modern, Saskatoon
WHAT: This show explores the 30-year career of Toronto-based artist Rebecca Belmore with new and historic works including performances, photographs, sculptures, and mixed-media installations. Belmore is a member of Lac Seul First Nation (Anishinaabe) and her work is committed to showing the lives of indigenous communities in all of their various iterations.
WHERE: Remai Modern, Saskatoon
WHEN: February 1–May 5, 2019
“Howardena Pindell: What Remains to Be Seen” at the Rose Art Museum, Waltham, Massachusetts
WHAT: The Rose Art Museum, which hosted “Howardena Pindell: A Retrospective, 1972 to 1992” in 1993, continues to champion the African American painter, who has expanded notions of contemporary painting with her use of unconventional materials such as glitter, talcum powder, and perfume, as well as obsessively hole-punched paper chads. The new show is her most comprehensive exhibition ever, featuring her explorations in photography, film, and performance, as well as new works from the past two years.
WHERE: The Rose Art Museum, Waltham, Massachusetts
WHEN: February 1–May 19, 2019
“Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze” at the Denver Art Museum
WHAT: Harlem-based painter Jordan Casteel is having her first major museum exhibition in her hometown of Denver, Colorado. Casteel’s paintings are drawn from photographs of the people and places she’s lived, and the show’s title, “Returning the Gaze,” underscores her subjects, often young black men, who stare straight at the viewer.
WHERE: Denver Art Museum
WHEN: February 2–May 26, 2019
“Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving” at the Brooklyn Museum
WHAT: The Brooklyn Museum is kicking off February with the most comprehensive US showing of the Mexican artist’s work and personal artifacts in more than ten years. The exhibition—which was already a hit across the pond at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum—presents not only her paintings and drawings, but also photographs of the artist, as well as clothing and jewelry that are travelling from Cara Azul, the Mexico City home Kahlo shared with husband Diego Rivera.
WHERE: The Brooklyn Museum
WHEN: February 8–May 12, 2019
“Gauguin: Voyage to Paradise” at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota
WHAT: The beauty of the tropics is in full bloom in the work Paul Gauguin created in French Polynesia, Tahiti, and Martinique. The Selby Gardens is pairing 10 woodcut prints and engravings by the artist with a lush array of tropical plants such as palm trees, taro, breadfruit, and other flora that Gauguin would have seen in his travels.
WHERE: The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota
WHEN: February 10–June 30, 2019
“Amanda Wachob: Tattoo This” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver
WHAT: If there was ever a tattoo artist made for a contemporary art museum, it’s Amanda Wachob, who pioneered her own style of tattooing that is more reminiscent of painting than anything else. With designs that range from hyper-realistic figurative drawings to swirls of color that look more like watercolors than ink injected into the skin—plus works on paper, canvas, silk, leather, and fruit—Wachob makes an impressive case for tattooing as an art form.
WHERE: Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver
WHEN: February 13–May 19, 2019
“Impressionism in the Age of Industry: Monet, Pissarro, and More” at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
WHAT: The Art Gallery of Ontario is exploring the intersection between Impressionism and the Industrial Revolution with a sprawling show of more than 100 works by the likes of Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Camille Pissarro.
WHERE: The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
WHEN: February 16–May 5, 2019
“Joan Miró: Birth of the World” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York
WHAT: MoMA takes one of Joan Miró’s most major works, The Birth of the World (1925), as a lens through which to view a selection of 60 of his paintings, works on paper, prints, and other objects made between 1920 and the early ’50s.
WHERE: The Museum of Modern Art, New York
WHEN: February 24–July 6, 2019
“Hans Hofmann: The Nature of Abstraction” at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
WHAT: A master of color, form, and space, painter Hans Hofmann is known for his color-pane abstractions of the 1950s and ’60s. In this expansive exhibition, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive reevaluates his broader arc, with over 70 works that span the entirety of his career, including rarely studied pieces from the 1930s and ’40s. In addition to drawing from the museum’s deep holdings, the show will feature several works from private collections that have never before been on view in any museum.
WHERE: Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
WHEN: February 27–July 21, 2019
“Thierry Mugler: Couturissime” at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
WHAT: Couturier Thierry Mugler is finally getting his due in a retrospective exploring his contributions to high fashion and fine art between 1973 and 2001. More than 140 of Mugler’s otherworldly creations will be on display—most of them for the first time—and will be accompanied by photographs by Richard Avedon, David LaChapelle, along with stage costumes and archival sketches.
WHERE: The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
WHEN: March 2–September 8, 2019
“Rubem Valentim: Afro-Atlantic Constructions” at the Museu de Arte de São PauloWHAT: This survey features almost 100 works by the Brazilian artist Rubem Valentim, and includes examples of his prints, sculptures, and paintings. Valentim’s work combines geometric abstraction with symbols of and references to Afro-Brazilian cultures, shining a light on the lesser-known African aspect of Brazilian artistic production, which has previously been dominated by Western European perspectives.
WHERE: Museu de Arte de São Paulo
WHEN: Through March 10, 2019
“Vincent van Gogh: His Life in Art” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
WHAT: Everyone loves a good Vincent van Gogh show, and Houston’s survey of more than 50 works is especially timely, given the recent Julian Schnabel cinematic portrait, At Eternity’s Gate. The show will trace Van Gogh’s work through four discrete stages, beginning with his early sketches, and ending with finished paintings.
WHERE: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
WHEN: March 10–June 27, 2019
“Tintoretto: Artist of Renaissance Venice” at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
WHAT: Venetian Renaissance master Jacopo Tintoretto isn’t that well-known in the US, because the vast majority of his paintings have remained in his native city. Luckily, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of his birth, the artist’s first North American retrospective will travel to Washington, DC. Close to 50 paintings will make the trip from the show’s original venue at the Palazzo Ducale in Venice, making this a must-see.
WHERE: The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
WHEN: March 10–July 7 2019
“Oscar Rejlander: Artist Photographer” at the Getty Center, Los Angeles
WHAT: It’s easy to forget that photography wasn’t always considered an art form. One of the first people to start changing perceptions of the new medium, initially viewed as little more than a mechanical process, was Oscar Gustave Rejlander, nicknamed “father of art photography.” An influence on such early photographic greats as Julia Margaret Cameron and Lewis Carroll, Rejlander also collaborated with Charles Darwin. The show, which heads stateside from the National Gallery of Canada, includes 150 works including Two Ways of Life (1872), a groundbreaking photograph printed from 30 negatives.
WHERE: The Getty Center, Los Angeles
WHEN: March 12–June 9, 2019
“Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York
WHAT: MoMA takes a close look at an unsung figure from the institution’s early history: the writer, curator, collector, and tastemaker Lincoln Kirstein (who was also one of the Monuments Men). Best-known for founding the New York City Ballet, Kirstein was a major influence on the museum, recognizing the importance of dance to contemporary art, and the continuing relevance of figuration, even as abstraction ruled the day. Some 200 objects from the museum’s archives and collection, including works by Walker Evans and ballet costume and set designs by Paul Cadmus, will showcase Kirstein’s taste and how it shaped the institution.
WHERE: The Museum of Modern Art, New York
WHEN: March 17–June 30, 2019
“Huma Bhabha” at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
WHAT: Fresh off her rooftop commission at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Huma Bhabha gets her largest-ever survey of her sci fi-infused works. In addition to her well-known sculptures crafted from a mix of industrial, natural, and found materials, the artist will present drawings and photographs.
WHERE: The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
WHEN: March 23–May 27, 2019
“World Own: Modern Photography in Argentina 1927–1962” at the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires
WHAT: An overview of avant-garde photographers in Argentina over the course of three decades, this show presents work by artists such as Annemarie Heinrich, Anatole Saderman, and husband-and-wife duo Horacio Coppola and Grete Stern to trace the evolution of the art form as it progressed from daguerreotype portraits to pictorialism.
WHERE: The Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires
WHEN: March 22–June 17, 2019
“Picasso in Uruguay” at the National Museum of Visual Arts, Montevideo
WHAT: A collaboration between the National Museum of Visual Arts in Montevideo, the Picasso Museum in Paris, and the Picasso Museum in Barcelona is resulting in a landmark exhibition at the Uruguay-based museum this March. More than 35 works—most of which are paintings—will be on view in Montevideo.
WHERE: National Museum of Visual Arts, Montevideo
WHEN: March 29–June 30, 2019
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