From Mark Bradford in Baltimore to Victor Hugo in LA: 33 Museum Shows Around the US Worth Traveling For

We've looked beyond the Big Apple to find the most exciting museum shows opening in September and October around the country.

William Forsythe, The Fact of Matter (2009). Photo: Dominik Mentzos © William Forsythe.

Here are some of artnet News’s highlights of museum shows opening across the United States as we kick off a new season:


1. “Tracing the Red Thread: Mira Lehr” at the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami  

Mira Lehr, Diel Migration (2013). Courtesy of the artist and Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami.

The South Florida-based artist Mira Lehr’s exhibition uses the Greek myth of Theseus as a metaphor for her work. When trapped in a labyrinth on the island of Crete, the Greek hero Theseus was able to use Ariadne’s Thread as a means of escape. Lehr’s multimedia installation will feel at times like a complicated maze, but it will be anchored by a site-specific rope, serving as the “red thread” that will help guide visitors.

September 6–November 4, 2018; Museum of Contemporary Art, 770 NE 125th Street, North Miami, Florida



2. “Siah Armajani: Follow This Line” at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Siah Armajani’s Architectural Entity Even Event (2) At One Moment Shadow-ful Area Equals Shadow-less Area (1970). Courtesy of the Walker Art Center.

The Iranian-born artist Siah Armajani moved to Minnesota to attend college and has since built a reputation both for his large-scale public works and for his painfully precise, detail-oriented works that include things like calligraphy and mathematical equations.

September 9–December 30, 2018; Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis, Minnesota



3. “Richard Tuttle: It Seems Like It’s Going to Be” at the Phillips Collection

Richard Tuttle, What I was doing (2018). © Richard Tuttle, courtesy of Pace Gallery. Photo: Tom Barratt, courtesy Pace Gallery.

The Phillips Collection will be the home for artist Richard Tuttle’s sprawling installation this fall, combining the verses of his own original poetry with newly realized visual objects. The juxtaposition of Tuttle’s new work alongside the permanent holdings of the Phillips’ will (hopefully) give rise to new perspectives and relationships.

September 13–December 30, 2018; Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St NW, Washington, DC



4. “Sean Scully: Landline” at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Sean Scully, Landline Orient (2016). Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Sean Scully earned rave reviews with his “Landline” paintings at the Venice Biennale in 2015, and now a broader swath of museum-goers have the chance to see his studies, with almost two dozen works never before seen by the public. The show includes a variety of paintings, in addition to pastels, watercolors, and photographs, plus aluminum sculptures—revealing the full range of his artistry. The show will travel to the Atheneum Museum in Connecticut following its stint in DC.

September 13, 2018–February 3, 2019; Hirshhorn Museum, Independence Avenue & 7th Street, Washington, DC



5. “Ruth Asawa: Life’s Work” at the Pulitzer Art Foundation, St. Louis

Ruth Asawa, Untitled (1963). © The Estate of Ruth Asawa, courtesy the Estate of Ruth Asawa and David Zwirner. Photo: Laurence Cuneo.

After years of being considered a secondary artist whose work was derided as “domestic craft,” artist Ruth Asawa is finally being recognized for her contribution to contemporary art. This retrospective includes more than 60 sculptures, and 20 drawings and collages that show her full range.

September 14, 2018–February 16, 2019; Pulitzer Art Foundation, 3716 Washington Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri



6. “Sara Cwynar: Image Model Muse” at the Minneapolis Institute of Art

Sara Cwynar, Tracy (Grid 1) (2017). Courtesy the artist, Cooper Cole, Toronto, Foxy Production, New York.

Photographer and filmmaker Sara Cwynar is getting her first solo show at a US museum in “Image Model Muse,” going on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Art before heading to the Milwaukee Art Museum. Cwynar’s work takes the form of serial photography, documenting commercial and found objects, but she often manipulates and re-constructs the images in post-production.

September 14, 2018–January 20, 2019; MIA, 2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, Minnesota


7. “Mickalene Thomas: I Can’t See You Without Me” at the Wexner Center for the Arts

Mickalene Thomas, Racquel: Come to Me (2017). Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. © Mickalene Thomas/Artist Rights Society (ARS), NY.

More than 30 bejeweled collage works, paintings, and videos by artist Mickalene Thomas will take over the Wexner Center’s entire museum for the artist’s largest solo institutional show to date. Thomas is known for incorporating her personal relationships into her work, and this show gives viewers the most comprehensive look into her multifaceted use of materials, as seen through the lens of her current and former partners, and her late mother.

September 14–December 30, 2018; Wexner Center, 1871 North High Street Columbus, Ohio



8. “The Nature of Arp” at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas

The Nature of Arp
Jean (Hans) Arp, Human Concentration (1934). Courtesy of the Nasher Sculpture Center.

Jean (Hans) Arp was one of the founding members of the international Dada movement and encouraged the notion of art as the result of spontaneity, chance, and experiment. Within the context of the Sculpture Center, Arp’s three-dimensional works take center stage, supporting the artist’s belief that with his work he could produce “an immediate and direct production, like a stone breaking away from a cliff.”

September 15, 2018–January 6, 2019; Nasher Sculpture Center, 2001 Flora St, Dallas, Texas



9. “Rachel Whiteread” at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

A visitor takes a photograph of a piece of work from Turner Prize winning British artist Rachel Whiteread's show, "Detached" at Gagosian, London, in 2013. Courtesy of Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

A visitor with work by Turner Prize-winning British artist Rachel Whiteread. Courtesy of Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

This is the first comprehensive survey of the Turner-winning artist, and its first US stop on an international tour that included Tate Britain and the Belvedere 21-Museum of Contemporary Art in Vienna. Whiteread is best known for creating “inside-out casts” of objects and spaces usually found in domestic settings.

September 16, 2018–January 13, 2019; National Gallery of Art, 6th & Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC



10. “Ficre Ghebreyesus: City with A River Running Through” at the Museum of the African Diaspora

Ficre Ghebreyesus, <i>Zememesh Behr's Magic Garden</i> (2009). Courtesy of the Museum of the Estate of Ficre Ghebreyesus.

Ficre Ghebreyesus, Zememesh Behr’s Magic Garden (2009). Courtesy of the Museum of the Estate of Ficre Ghebreyesus.

The paintings of the late Eritrean-American artist Ficre Ghebreyesus are going on display for the first time on the West Coast. The artist left his country amid political turmoil but continued to illustrate the lush landscapes of his home long after he came to the states.

September 19–December 16, 2018; MOAD, 685 Mission St (at 3rd), San Francisco, California


11. “Tara Donovan: Fieldwork” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

Tara Donovan, <em>Untitled (Mylar)</em>, 2011/2013. Photo by Mick Vincenz, courtesy of the artist and Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck.

Tara Donovan, Untitled (Mylar), 2011/2013. Photo by Mick Vincenz, courtesy of the artist and Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck.

Tara Donovan will be the subject of a mid-career retrospective featuring sculpture, drawings, works on paper, and site-responsive installations. Donovan is best known for her mind-boggling sculptures made of banal materials; in her deft hands, buttons, plastic cutlery, and toothpicks become the building blocks for monumental site-specific installations.

September 21, 2018–January 27, 2019; MCA Denver, 1485 Delgany St, Denver, Colorado


12. “Contemporary Muslim Fashions” at the de Young Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Céline Semaan–Slowfactory “Banned,” 2017. Photo: Driely Carter. Courtesy of the de Young Museum.

This is the first major museum show that takes Muslim fashion into account as an art object that conveys social, political, and cultural messages. From the burkini to the hijab, Middle Eastern customs are becoming more and more prevalent in the contemporary conversation, and the de Young show “will examine how Muslim women have become arbiters of style within and beyond their communities.”

September 22, 2018–January 6, 2019; de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, California



13. “Mark Bradford: Tomorrow Is Another Day” at the Baltimore Museum of Art

Installation view, Mark Bradford: Tomorrow Is Another Day. Venice Biennale, US Pavilion, 2017. Photo: Joshua White. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

For those who missed Mark Bradford’s acclaimed show at the 2017 Venice Biennale, here’s your chance to see the work that according to our own Andrew Goldstein, proves Bradford to be the Jackson Pollock of our time.

September 23, 2018–March 3, 2019; BMA,10 Art Museum Dr, Baltimore, Maryland



14. “Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush” at the California African American Museum

Nina Chanel Abney, Hothouse (2016). Courtesy of Jack Shainman.

Nina Chanel Abney, Hothouse (2016). Courtesy of Jack Shainman.

The first museum retrospective of Abney’s work covers the last 10 years, as the artist ascended to become one of the foremost African American artists working today. Her cartoon-style collages are punctuated with political and socially prescient material and make the case for narrative figure painting’s resurgence in contemporary art.

September 23, 2018–January 20, 2019; CAAM, 600 State Dr, Los Angeles, California



15. “Hairy Who? 1966–1969” at the Art Institute of Chicago

Gladys Nilsson, Star Bird (1968). Courtesy of Larry and Evelyn Aronson.

The delirious colors and characters of the Chicago Imagists are celebrated in the first-ever survey exhibition of the Hairy Who. The six members of the group graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and began putting up grotesque, funny, and irreverent works inspired by comic books, political cartoons, and the city of Chicago.

September 26, 2018–January 6, 2019; Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, Illinois


 16. “Stones to Stains: The Drawings of Victor Hugo” at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

Victor Hugo, Ma destineée (My destiny) (1867). Courtesy of the Hammer Museum.


The Hammer’s new show will prove that Victor Hugo was more than just a writer. More than 75 drawings and photographs culled from institutions and collections around the world come together in this show, revealing the full range of Hugo’s artistry.

September 27–December 30, 2018; Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, California


17. “Neo Rauch: Aus dem boden/From the Floor” at the Des Moines Art Center

Neo Rauch, Der Stammbaum (2017). Courtesy the artist, Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin and David Zwirner. ©Neo Rauch, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn/Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

Before it comes to New York’s Drawing Center, Des Moines is debuting a show of drawings by the contemporary German artist Neo Rauch, co-organized by Brett Littman, formerly the director of the Drawing Center, now director of the Noguchi Museum, both in New York. Rauch is one of the most well-known artists to emerge from the Leipzig school, but this is the first exhibition to delve into his drawings.

September 28, 2018–January 6, 2019; Des Moines Art Center, 4700 Grand Avenue Des Moines, Iowa

18. “Enrico David: Gradations of Slow Release” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Enrico David, Untitled (2010). © Enrico David. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Michael Werner Gallery, NY and London.

This is the Italian artist’s first major museum survey in the US and will travel to the Hirshhorn in DC following its run in Chicago. David’s sculptures are unique ruminations on the human form and how it relates to other objects and beings in the world.

September 29, 2018–March 10, 2019; MCA Chicago, 220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, Illinois



19. “Ai Weiwei: Life Cycle” at the Marciano Art Foundation

Ai Weiwei, “Life Cycle” (2018). Image courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio and Marciano Art Foundation.

Ai Weiwei is coming to Los Angeles this fall, for a solo exhibition that features new and unseen work, in addition to his landmark pieces including Sunflower Seeds and Spouts, which reflect on global issues including immigration, the refugee crisis, environmental disasters, and freedom of speech.

September 28, 2018–March 3, 2019; Marciano Art Foundation, 4357 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, California


20. “B. Wurtz: This Has No Name” at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

B. Wurtz, Bunch (1994) and installation view of Untitled (pan Paintings) (2013). Both courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, NY.

An exhibition devoted to the whimsical works of B. Wurtz, who uses everyday objects to create otherworldly installations, sculptures, and paintings. According to the artist, all of his work relates in some way to the acts of “eating, sleeping, and keeping warm.”

September 30, 2018–January 27, 2019; ICA LA, 1717 E 7th St, Los Angeles, California



 21. “Louise Bourgeois: To Unravel a Torment” at the Glenstone Museum

Detail from Louise Bourgeois’s I GIVE EVERYTHING AWAY (2010). Collection Glenstone, Potomac, Maryland. © The Easton Foundation/VAGA, NY, photo: Christopher Burke.

Following its massive expansion and renovation, the private Glenstone Museum in Maryland will reopen in October, continuing its presentation of Louise Bourgeois. In addition to her drawings and sculptures, the show also includes her confessional poetry and often heartbreaking diaries, spanning her life and career, and previously unavailable to the public.

October 4, 2018–January 2020; Glenstone, 12100 Glen Road, Potomac, Maryland


 22. “Balenciaga in Black” at the Kimbell Art Museum

Installation view of “Balenciaga” on view at the Palais Galliera.

The year of fashion exhibitions continues, as the Kimbell Art Museum in Texas opens the US-leg of the designer known as “the couturier’s couturier,” Cristóbal Balenciaga. In conjunction with the Palais Galliera, the Fashion Museum of the City of Paris, “Balenciaga in Black” will display more than 100 items, all in the maison’s signature black.

October 7, 2018–January 6, 2019; Kimbell Art Museum, 3333 Camp Bowie Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas



23. “Napoleon: Power and Splendor” at the Nelson Atkins Museum

Andrea Appiani, Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul, in the Uniform of a General in the Army of Italy (1801). Photo MBAM, Christine Guest. (R): Baron François-Pascal-Simon Gérard, Napoleon in state attire, (1805). Château de Fontainebleau, Musée Napoléon 1er, © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY.

Step into the world of Napoleon Bonaparte, the historic ruler whose diminutive stature belied an outsize imperiousness. In collaboration with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts as well as the participation of Château de Fontainebleau, the Nelson-Atkins will revive the stately splendor of Napoleon’s household, and how it helped to shape our understanding of his family and empire.

October 26, 2018–March 10, 2019; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak Street, Kansas City, Missouri



 24. “Paola Pivi: Art With a View” at the Bass

Paola Pivi, Untitled (Donkey) (2003). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin.

With her feather-covered polar bears and animals photographed in surreal settings, Paola Pivi’s imaginative artwork will alight upon Miami Beach this fall.

October 13, 2018–March 10, 2019; The Bass, 2100 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida



25. “Kimono Refashioned: 1870s–Now!” at the Newark Museum 

Yohji Yamamoto for Yohji Yamamoto, Spring/Summer 1995. Courtesy of Newark Museum.

This show will study how Japanese culture has impacted the global fashion industry, with highlights by John Galliano and Rei Kowakuba of Comme des Garçons; co-organized by the Kyoto Costume Institute and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

October 13, 2018–January 6, 2019; 49 Washington Street, Newark, New Jersey



26. “Devan Shimoyama: Cry, Baby” at the Andy Warhol Museum

Devan Shimoyama, Tasha (2018), courtesy of the artist.

Devan Shimoyama, a Philadelphia-born painter and current professor at Carnegie Mellon University, debuts with his first museum exhibition at the Warhol Museum. His work includes photographs, paintings, and sculptures that challenge the gender norms of stereotypical institutions; notably, he transforms the typically male barbershop into a glamorous, glitter-filled paradise.

October 13, 2018–March 17, 2019; 117 Sandusky Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania



27. “Laurie Simmons: Big Camera/Little Camera” at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Laurie Simmons, Woman Opening Refrigerator/Milk in the Middle (1978). Photo courtesy of of the artist and Salon 94, New York.

Laurie Simmons, Woman Opening Refrigerator/Milk in the Middle (1978). Photo courtesy of of the artist and Salon 94, New York.

This exhibition includes the last four decades-worth of photographs by Laurie Simmons, including her early series Early Black & White, and Family Collision, plus a selection of sculptures and two films.

October 14, 2018–January 27, 2019; The Modern, 3200 Darnell Street, Fort Worth, Texas



28. “Unexpected O’Keeffe: The Virginia Watercolors and Later Paintings” at the Fralin Museum of Art

Georgia O’Keeffe, Untitled (Rotunda -University of Virginia) Scrapbook U of V, (1912–1914). © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

For the first time, watercolors by Georgia O’Keeffe are leaving her eponymous museum in Santa Fe and traveling to the University of Virginia’s art museum. In the summers from 1912–1916, the artist produced watercolor studies on the campus of UVA.

October 19, 2018–January 27, 2019; Fralin Museum of Art, 155 Rugby Rd, Charlottesville, Virginia


29. “Tim Shaw: Beyond Reason” at the San Diego Museum of Art

Tim Shaw, Mother The Air Is Blue the Air Is Dangerous. Courtesy of the artist.

Tim Shaw’s immersive installation work comes to the San Diego Museum, tracing the arc of his career and personal experiences. The work touch on themes including global terrorism, abuse of power, freedom of speech, and future technologies.

October 20, 2018; 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego, California



30. “Günther Förg: A Fragile Beauty” at the Dallas Museum of Art

Günther Förg’s Untitled (1987). Photo: Serge Hasenböhler, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, Paris, London.

For the first time in almost 30 years, American audiences will see the work of Gunther Forg, who emerged from the Cologne art scene as an artist who challenged the conventions of painting. The show is co-organized with the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

October 21, 2018–January 27, 2019; DMA, 1717 North Harwood, Dallas Texas



 31. “William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects” at Institute of Contemporary Art Boston

William Forsythe, Alignigung (still) (2017). Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery. © William Forsythe.

The first comprehensive exhibition in the United States of choreographer and artist William Forsythe comes to ICA Boston. The show will include massive sculptural installations, participatory works, and video installations that stimulate the viewer to engage with the object and think about choreography beyond the stage.

October 31, 2018–February 24, 2019; ICA Boston, 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston, Massachusetts



 32. “Patricia Cronin, Aphrodite, and the Lure of Antiquity: Conversations with the Collection” at the Tampa Museum of Art


The Tampa Museum got a jump-start on the fall season with Patricia Cronin, who will be joined by “Robert Indiana: A Sculpture Retrospective”—hailing from Buffalo’s Albright-Knox Gallery—and “Yayoi Kusama: Love Is Calling,” Florida’s first Infinity Room, for a “Season of Love”-themed trifecta of exhibitions. Cronin also kicks off a new biennial series pairing contemporary art with antiquities, with a new work by the artist, inspired by a fragmentary 1st-century AD marble torso of Aphrodite from the museum collection. Titled Aphrodite Reimagined, the large outdoor sculpture, made of Carrara marble, imagines the historic work returned to its original glory, missing pieces and all.

Through January 6, 2019; Cornelia Corbett Center, 120 West Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa



33. “Mutiny: Works by Géricault” at the Harvard Art Museums


Harvard hasn’t managed to score a loan of The Raft of the Medusa from the Louvre, but it does have some 40 paintings, watercolors, drawings, and lithographs by Théodore Géricault in its collection. Here they are joined by loans from three area collectors to showcase how the Romantic artist captured the politically tumultuous times of Europe during the Restoration.

Through January 6, 2019; Harvard Art Museums, University Research Gallery, 32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts

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