9 Must-See Shows Around the U.S. This Spring

Spotlights on Mickalene Thomas, Walter Price, and Raqib Shaw all made our list.

Raqib Shaw, Ode to the Country without a Post Office (2019–20). © Raqib Shaw / Photo: Ollie Hammick © White Cube. Courtesy of the artist and White Cube.

Along with spring flowers and rainstorms, a new crop of museum exhibitions is blooming in cities around the country, from Miami to Maryland. With major shows of contemporary artists Mickalene Thomas, Tyler Mitchell, and Raqib Shaw, plus spotlights on the late Lebanese artist Huguette Caland and beloved surrealist Salvador Dalí, here’s our list of the must-see art shows over the next few months.


Huguette Caland: Outside the Line (1970–84)
May 3–October 6, 2024
ICA Miami 

two swaths of indigo form curtains on either side of the canvas with a triangle of yellow, orange, and white at the center

Huguette Caland, Bribes de corps (1973). Courtesy of the artist’s estate and ICA Miami.

This show continues a rising tide of notice in Lebanese artist Caland’s final years, during which she was included in major showcases like the Hammer’s “Made in L.A.” biennial and the Venice Biennale. The daughter of a Lebanese president, she grew up in a freewheeling art scene in Beirut until moving to Paris in 1970, five years before unrest engulfed her homeland. Writing in 2021, Artnet’s Ben Davis called her “elegant and free spirited,” saying that her work had “an often frank, surrealist-tinged eroticism, featuring interlocking body parts and faces emerging from tangles of lines.” Overseen by ICA curator Donna Honarpisheh, this show focuses on her series “Bribes de corps” (Body Parts, 1973–76) and associated works, “reflecting her preoccupation with the body and formal experimentation in drawing and abstract painting.”


Walton Ford: Birds and Beasts of the Studio
Through October 20, 2024
The Morgan Library & Museum

a watercolor of a black panther scaling a plume of black smoke coming from a fire in the bottom corner of the scene

Walton Ford, Study for “Flucht,” (2018). © 2024 Walton Ford. Courtesy of the Morgan Library & Museum.

The breadth of potential in watercolor painting is on display at the Morgan Library, as the museum is hosting sixty studies by the prolific artist Walton Ford. Though a study is usually connoted as a lesser version of a larger work, Ford’s detailed depictions of the natural world take on a different life altogether as seen in a smaller scale rendering of his large-scale paintings, with the details blurred. The show at the Morgan Library focuses mainly on his paintings of animals, and appear almost storybook in their smaller iterations, cluing viewers into Ford’s eye for the fantasy and humor he finds in the animal kingdom. “Birds and Beasts of the Studio” was organized by two curators with expertise in drawing, Isabelle Dervaux and Jennifer Tonkovich, and is currently on view until October 20, 2024.



Joyce J. Scott: Walk a Mile in My Dreams
Through July 14, 2024
Baltimore Museum of Art 

a multicolored work of painted copper in good, red, blue, and purple

Joyce J. Scott, Coppers (2023). Image courtesy of Goya Contemporary Gallery, Baltimore, © Joyce Scott courtesy Goya
Contemporary, photo: Mitro Hood.

Described by Baltimore Museum of Art director Asma Naeem as a “living legend and a pillar of Baltimore’s artistic community,” Joyce J. Scott is the subject of a long overdue and much welcome retrospective on view now at the BMA before heading to Seattle in October. An artist and activist whose work spans sculpture, textiles, beads, printmaking, and performance, Scott tackles the weight of history with humor and wit, ensuring that any and all viewers will find something to connect with in her work.



Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion
May 10–September 2, 2024
Metropolitan Museum of Art 

Iris van Herpen dress.

“Physalia” dress, Iris van Herpen, spring/summer 2020 haute couture; Anonymous gift, 2024. Photography © Nick Knight, 2024. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The much anticipated 2024 Costume Institute show promises to deliver a full sensorial and sartorial experience when the “Sleeping Beauties” are awakened—those fragile garments in the museum’s storage that not even Kim Kardashian could get her hands on. Around 250 objects by the likes of Cristóbal Balenciaga, Loewe, Elsa Schiaparelli,and Iris van Herpen will be displayed with A.I. enhancements and brought back to something like their original state.



Mickalene Thomas: All About Love
May 25–September 29, 2024
The Broad

a mixed media portrait of a Black woman sitting in a floral top and red skirt with a hand mirror

Mickalene Thomas, Din avec la main dans le miroir et jupe rouge (2023). © Mickalene Thomas, courtesy of the Broad.

The California stop kicks off the first major international tour of Mickalene Thomas, featuring works created over the last 20 years. Taking its title from a text by feminist author bell hooks, the exhibition will center on Thomas’s singular mode of portraying Black women, which often incorporate collaged elements that reflect the many layers of individuality. Purely contemporary portraits are interspersed with works that reference art historical themes, as in Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe les Trois Femmes Noires d’aprés Picasso. After the Broad, the immersive and extensive exhibition travels to the Hayward Gallery, London and the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia.



Raqib Shaw: Ballads of East and West
June 9–September 2, 2024
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 

a snowy outdoor courtyard covered in birds

Raqib Shaw, Last Rites of the Artist’s Ego at Shankryacharya Temple (after Ludovico Mazzolino) (2015-16). © Raqib Shaw / Photo: Ben Westoby © White Cube. Courtesy of the artist and White Cube.

The only proper response, before Raqib Shaw’s expansive, luminously colored, richly detailed works, painted with porcupine quills and fine needles, is to be stunned into silence. This show is named for Rudyard Kipling’s 1889 poem “The Ballad of East and West,” and sums up Shaw’s love of the beauty and mythology of Kashmir, where he was born and raised, as well as Western Renaissance artists like Cranach and Holbein, whose works he studied on arrival in London, where he still lives. The show is organized by the Frist Art Museum, Nashville, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston; when it was at the Frist, the New York Times called Shaw’s works “intricate, technicolored paintings that can be both tranquil and somewhat haunting.”


Tyler Mitchell: Idyllic Space
June 21–October 27, 2024
High Museum of Art 

a desert landscape is populated by black men, women, and children playing games and frolicking

Tyler Mitchell, Albany, Georgia (2021). Courtesy of the artist.

American photographer Tyler Mitchell catapulted to fame photographing Beyoncé for the September issue of Vogue in 2018—the first Black artist to shoot the cover image in the publication’s history. Following this history- and career-making moment, Mitchell has worked with brands such as Givenchy, Loewe, and Marc Jacobs, solidifying his place as one of the leading fashion photographers of today. Outside of fashion, Mitchell has become recognized for his nuanced portrayals of Black life. “Idyllic Space,” a form of homecoming for the artist as an Atlanta native, will see over 30 photographs and the debut of a photo-sculptural work brought together, wherein fashion and art are synthesized to explore themes such as identity, beauty, nature, and rest. 


Dalí: Disruption and Devotion
July 6–December 1, 2024
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

a yellow-tinged painting of melting clocks and fish with a grid-like design in the background.

Salvador Dalí, The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory (detail), (1952–54). Collection of the Dalí Museum. © 2024 Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Artists Rights Society. Courtesy MFA Boston.

The Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí is best known as an eccentric whose outsized personality oozed into his hallucinatory artworks—the man himself kept an anteater and an ocelot as pets, and peppered his works with melting clocks and lobster-topped telephones. But his mind bending oeuvre was greatly indebted to and inspired by much more “traditional” works by the European masters who came before him. In this show, around 30 works by Dalí are juxtaposed with treasures from the MFA’s collection by the likes of Velázquez, El Greco, and Orazio Gentileschi. Viewed in tandem, it’s a fascinating look at the throughline of art history that connects say, El Greco’s exaggeratedly elongated forms, with Dalí’s spindly-legged elephants and dripping timepieces.


Walter Price: Pearl Lines
August 8–December 8, 2024
Walker Art Center

an abstract canvas that at first glance looks mostly yellow but is actually composed of blues, purples, brown, green, and orange

Walter Price, I don’t wanna make somebody else. I wanna make myself. (2002). Courtesy the artist and Greene Naftali, New York. Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein.

The late New Yorker critic Peter Schjeldahl described Walter Price (b. 1989) as having a “style-defying style,” resulting in an “eloquently colorful art.” This show promises a plunge into richly colorful abstract paintings that wrestle with knotty issues of history and race. Judging by the title, we might expect to see some definite themes: it’s nothing less than the 12th show since 2016 titled “Pearl Lines.” Organized by curator Rosario Güiraldes and curatorial assistant Brandon Eng, this iteration constitutes his biggest museum exhibition yet (he’s had institutional shows from MoMA PS1 to the Camden Arts Centre in London). Represented by taste-making New York gallery Greene Naftali, the artist has also appeared in major shows like the 2019 Whitney Biennial and the 2018 Front International, in Cleveland.  



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