Here Are 23 Outstanding Museum Shows Across the US That You Won’t Want to Miss This Fall

From Jacolby Satterwhite in Philly to Elmgreen & Dragset in Dallas, here's what we are looking forward to.

A visitor uses a VR headset to view work by Jacolby Satterwhite. Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images.
A visitor uses a VR headset to view work by Jacolby Satterwhite. Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images.

It’s back to school time in the art world. With September officially upon us, a crush of big shows is set to open at museums across the country.

There’s a lot to keep track of, so we’ve picked out some highlights to look for in the next two months, from Boston and DC to Denver and Portland, Oregon. Enjoy!

 

Theaster Gates: Assembly Hall” at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
September 5, 2019–January 12, 2020

Selections from Theaster Gates’s Johnson Publishing Company Collection and artwork in the Stony Island Arts Bank, Chicago. Photo by David Sampson, courtesy the artist and Rebuild Foundation.

Selections from Theaster Gates’s Johnson Publishing Company Collection and artwork in the Stony Island Arts Bank, Chicago. Photo by David Sampson, courtesy the artist and Rebuild Foundation.

Preserving the history of Chicago’s historically African American South Side has become an important part of Theaster Gates‘s practice as artist. At the Walker, he’ll present selections from collections he’s acquired from the University of Chicago Glass Lantern Slides Collection, the Johnson Publishing Company Collection, and the Ana J. and Edward J. Williams Collection of “negrobilia.” Gates will create four immersive installations in the galleries, helping bring these old objects back to life.

The Walker is located at 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis, Minnesota; general admission is $15.

 

Susan Philipsz: Seven Tears” at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis
September 6, 2019–February 2, 2020

Susan Philipsz, Seven Tears (2016). Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, NYC/LA.

Susan Philipsz, Seven Tears (2016). Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, NYC/LA.

Sound artist Susan Philipsz, known for creating works that respond to their architectural environments, has been commissioned to create a new installation, Too Much I Once Lamented, for the central water court of the Pulitzer’s Tadao Ando-designed building. The audio component, which will echo off the reflecting pool, features the artist singing a 17th-century lover’s lament.

The Pulitzer Arts Foundation is located at 3716 Washington Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri; general admission is free.

 

Simon Dinnerstein: The Fulbright Triptych” at the McMullen Museum of Art, Boston
September 9–December 8, 2019

Simon Dinnerstein, <em>The Fulbright Triptych</em> (1971–74). Photo courtesy of the Palmer Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State University.

Simon Dinnerstein, The Fulbright Triptych (1971–74). Photo courtesy of the Palmer Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State University.

In 1971, Jewish American artist Simon Dinnerstein had a Fulbright to study printmaking in Germany. That’s when he began work on his monumental three-panel painting The Fulbright Triptych (1971–74), which New York Times critic Roberta Smith dubbed “an overlooked masterpiece of 1970s realism.” On rare loan from the Palmer Museum of Art at Pennsylvania State University, the painting, which has inspired a 2011 book of no less than 45 essays, is stunning in its attention to detail, offering near-life-size portraits of the artist and his wife and daughter.

The McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, is located at 2101 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts; general admission is free.

 

Hew Locke: Here’s the Thing” at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City
September 12, 2019–January 19, 2020

Installation view of "Hew Locke: Here’s the Thing" at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK. Photo by Stuart Whipps, courtesy the artist and Ikon Gallery.

Installation view of “Hew Locke: Here’s the Thing” at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK. Photo by Stuart Whipps, courtesy the artist and Ikon Gallery.

British artist Hew Locke’s biggest exhibition to date is making its first stop in the US, after debuting at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, England. (It was organized with the Colby College Museum of Art in Maine where it will be on view February 20–June 7, 2020.) His work, which appropriates coats of arms and other regal symbols, is inspired by British colonial influence in his childhood home of Guyana, a former colony.

The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is located at 4420 Warwick Boulevard, Kansas City, Missouri; general admission is free.

 

Jacolby Satterwhite: Room for Living” at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia
September 13, 2019–January 19, 2020

Jacolby Satterwhite, in collaboration with the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, <em>Room for Demoiselle Two</eM> (2019). Image courtesy of the artist, the Fabric Workshop and Museum, and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York.

Jacolby Satterwhite, in collaboration with the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, Room for Demoiselle Two (2019). Image courtesy of the artist, the Fabric Workshop and Museum, and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York.

Following a two-year artist residency at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Jacolby Satterwhite will present new digital animation works, a virtual reality experience, and multi-media installations that give physical form to objects that featured in his six-video piece Reifying Desire. Made using 3-D printers and CNC routers, Satterwhite’s sculptures will include larger-than-life figures inspired by The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio (1601–02) and Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907). The artist also has an upcoming show at New York’s Pioneer Works, “You’re at Home” (October 4–November 24, 2019).

The Fabric Workshop and Museum is located at 1214 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; general admission is $5 suggested donation.

 

Elmgreen & Dragset: Sculptures” at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas
September 14, 2019–January 5, 2020

Elmgreen & Dragset, <em>Traces of a Never Existing History</em> (2001). Photo courtesy of the Nasher Sculpture Center.

Elmgreen & Dragset, Traces of a Never Existing History (2001). Photo courtesy of the Nasher Sculpture Center.

Believe it or not, the Scandanavian duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, better known as Elmgreen & Dragset, have never had a major US museum show. The Nasher is bringing together a large selection of their sculptures, which are known for their subversive wit, but can touch on sensitive issues such as gay rights and aging.

The Nasher Sculpture Center is located at 2001 Flora Street, Dallas, Texas; general admission is $10.

 

“Alicja Kwade: Moving in Glances” at the Dallas Contemporary
September 15, 2019–December 22, 2020

Alicja Kwade, installation view of <em>Out of Ousia</em> (2018) at the Kunsthal Charlottenborg. Photo by Roman März courtesy the artist, KÖNIG GALERIE, and 303 Gallery, New York.

Alicja Kwade, installation view of Out of Ousia (2018) at the Kunsthal Charlottenborg. Photo by Roman März courtesy the artist, KÖNIG GALERIE, and 303 Gallery, New York.

As Alicja Kwade’s stunning rooftop installation at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art draws to a close, the Polish-German artist is opening a pair of sister shows at Dallas Contemporary and the List Visual Arts Center at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts (October 18, 2019–January 5, 2020). The artist’s sculptures present ordinary materials such as concrete, glass, and steel in unusual settings.

Dallas Contemporary is located at 161 Glass Street, Dallas, Texas; general admission is free. The List Visual Arts Center at MIT is located at 20 Ames Street, Building E15, Cambridge, Massachusetts;  admission is free.

 

The Shape of Abstraction: Selections From the Ollie Collection” at the Saint Louis Art Museum
September 17, 2019–March 8, 2020

James Little, <i>Double Exposure</i> (2008). ©June Kelly Gallery/James Little.

James Little, Double Exposure (2008). ©June Kelly Gallery/James Little.

In 2017, arts patron and Saint Louis native Ronald Ollie and his wife Monique gifted 81 works by black abstract artists to the St. Louis Art Museum, including examples by Norman Lewis, Sam Gilliam, Chakaia Booker, James Little, and others. The works, while focused on contemporary art, date back to the 1940s, when a generational shift in abstraction was afoot.

The Saint Louis Art Museum is located at One Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri; general admission is free.

 

Antonio: The Fine Art of Fashion Illustration” at the Phoenix Art Museum
September 21, 2019–January 5, 2020

Illustrations by Antonio Lopez. Courtesy of the Phoenix Art Museum.

Illustrations by Antonio Lopez. Courtesy of the Phoenix Art Museum.

The Phoenix Art Museum has brought together over 100 drawings, photographs, and magazines featuring the work of fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez (1943–1987) and his friend and business partner, Juan Ramos. In addition to 12 never-before-exhibited, large-scale drawings created in 1973 at the Condé Nast offices in New York City for Vogue, the show includes 20 of Lopez’s drawings from Richard Burton’s illustrated English-language edition of Tales from the Thousand and One Nights (1985).

The Phoenix Art Museum is located at 1625 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona; general admission is $21.

 

LaToya Ruby Frazier: The Last Cruze” at the Renaissance Society, Chicago
September 24–December 1, 2019

LaToya Ruby Frazier, Dan Adams, Local 1112 Trustee, with Father and Brothers, Eugene (Red) Adams, Eugene Jr. (Andy) Adams, and Bill Adams (24.7 Years at GM Lordstown Plant Complex) Inside UAW Local 1112 Reuther Scandy, Alli Union Hall, OH (2019). Courtesy of the artist.

After chronicling the lives of working class residents in her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania, and in Flint, Michigan, LaToya Ruby Frazier has turned her lens on the Rust Belt town of Lordstown, Ohio. Her latest series documents the economic crisis that unfolded after General Motors shut down the local plant, ceasing production of Chevrolet Cruzes.

The Renaissance Society is located at the University of Chicago, 5811 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois; general admission is free.

 

Yayoi Kusama: Love Is Calling” at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
September 24, 2019–February 7, 2020

Yayoi Kusama, <em>LOVE IS CALLING</em> (2013). Photo courtesy David Zwirner, New York; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London/Venice. ©Yayoi Kusama.

Yayoi Kusama, LOVE IS CALLING (2013). Photo courtesy David Zwirner, New York; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London/Venice. ©Yayoi Kusama.

The ICA Boston will present Yayoi Kusama‘s LOVE IS CALLING (2013), its recently acquired Infinity Room. The installation is the largest Infinity Room by the Japanese nonagenarian owned by a North American museum and features colorful inflated tentacles with the artist’s signature polka dot motif reflected in the mirrored walls, floor, and ceiling in the darkened chamber. The museum will also present work from its collection that shows Kusama’s influence on other contemporary artists in the accompanying presentation “Beyond Infinity: Contemporary Art After Kusama.”

The ICA Boston is located at 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston, Massachusetts; general admission is $15.

 

Rirkrit Tiravanija: Fear Eats the Soul” at Glenstone, Potomac, Maryland
September 26, 2019–mid 2020

Rirkrit Tiravanija’s <i>Fear Eats the Soul</I> (2011). Courtesy the artist and Glenstone Museum.

Rirkrit Tiravanija’s Fear Eats the Soul (2011). Courtesy the artist and Glenstone Museum.

If you haven’t made a pilgrimage yet to the temple of contemporary art that is the new Glenstone Museum, now’s your chance. Beyond the gigantic Jeff Koons half-rocker topiary, the new autumn show of Rirkrit Tiravanija is certainly worth traveling for. The exhibition draws on the “relational aesthetics” guru’s best-known works, and will include a work spray-painted directly on a gallery wall, a soup kitchen, and a T-shirt silkscreen station, plus a series of wall frames installed in unlikely places around the museum.

Glenstone is located at 12100 Glen Road, Potomac, Maryland; general admission is free, appointments are required.

 

Lari Pittman: Declaration of Independence” at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
September 29 2019–January 5, 2020

Lari Pittman, An American Place (1986). © Lari Pittman, courtesy of Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

Lari Pittman, An American Place (1986). © Lari Pittman, courtesy of Regen Projects, Los Angeles.

Los Angeles-based painter Lari Pittman is being feted with his most sprawling retrospective in the last two decades, bringing a cache of 80 paintings and 50 works on paper that show the breadth of his interests in collage and mixed media.

The Hammer Museum is located at 10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California; general admission is free.

 

Hanks Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal…” at the Portland Art Museum, Oregon
October 12, 2019–January 12, 2020

Hank Willis Thomas, The Cotton Bowl (2011) [detail]. © Hank Willis Thomas, courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, NY.

Hank Willis Thomas, The Cotton Bowl (2011) [detail]. © Hank Willis Thomas, courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, NY.

Hank Willis Thomas gets a major traveling museum survey, kicking off in Portland, Oregon, before heading to Crystal Bridges in Arkansas and the Cincinnati Museum of Art. In addition to showcasing some 100 works including photographs, sculptures, video installations, and quilts made from prison uniforms and sports jerseys, the exhibition will include a new work commissioned by the museum that uses the US flag as a jumping off point for addressing deaths by gun violence in the country in 2018.

The Portland Art Museum is located at 1219 Southwest Park Avenue in Portland, Oregon; general admission is $20.

 

Liu Wei: Invisible Cities” at the Cleveland Art Museum
October 13, 2019–February 16, 2020

Liu Wei, Panorama No. 2 (2015–16) [detail]. Courtesy the artist and Cleveland Museum of Art.

Liu Wei, Panorama No. 2 (2015–16) [detail]. Courtesy the artist and Cleveland Museum of Art.

This marks the first solo US show for Chinese artist Liu Wei, despite his international renown (he was featured in the 2019 Venice Biennale). Suggesting his major stature, it is hosted jointly at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (September 13, 2019–January 5, 2020) and the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art. The show takes its name from Italian writer Italo Calvino’s novella, a series of vignettes about fantastical fictional cities.

The Cleveland Museum of Art is located at 11150 East Boulevard in Cleveland, Ohio; general admission is free. MOCA Cleveland is located at 11400 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio; general admission is free.

 

Thomas Jefferson, Architect: Palladian Models, Democratic Principles and the Conflict of Ideals ” at the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia
October 19, 2019–January 19, 2020

Mather Brown, <i> Thomas Jefferson</i> (1786). Courtesy of National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Mather Brown, Thomas Jefferson (1786). Courtesy of National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Thomas Jefferson—an architect of American history who penned the Declaration of Independence and created a new visual identity with his symmetrical Palladian buildings—also owned hundreds of slaves. This show explores the fractured nature of his conflicted ideals and how to reckon with his contributions to the country with the knowledge of his failings.

The Chrysler Museum of Art is located at One Memorial Place, Norfolk, Virginia; general admission is free.

 

Anila Quayyum Agha’s Between Light and Shadow” at the Toledo Museum of Art
October 19, 2019–February 9, 2020

 Anila Quayyum Agha, <i>Intersections</i> (2015). Courtesy of Toledo Museum of Art.

Anila Quayyum Agha, Intersections (2015). Courtesy of Toledo Museum of Art.

Pakistani-American artist Anila Quayyum Agha presents three immersive, gallery-swallowing installations that throw shadows of intricate patterns onto visitors and their surroundings in this new exhibition. The cut-out motifs are often inspired by Islamic architectural motifs and comment on domestic and international social and political issues.

The Toledo Museum of Art is located at 2445 Monroe Street, Toledo, Ohio; general admission is free.

 

Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature” at the Denver Art Museum
October 21, 2019–February 2, 2020

Claude Monet, <em>Waterlilies and Japanese Bridge</em> (1899). Courtesy of the Denver Art Museum.

Claude Monet, Waterlilies and Japanese Bridge (1899). Courtesy of the Denver Art Museum.

Co-organized with Germany’s Museum Barberini in Potsdam, “Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature” is being billed as the most comprehensive US exhibition dedicated to the pioneering Impressionist in 20 years. More than 120 paintings offer a record of Monet’s extensive travels throughout the Mediterranean, London, the Netherlands, and Norway, seeking new subjects even as he returned time and again to familiar motifs such as haystacks, poplars, and, of course, the waterlilies and Japanese bridge in his beloved home garden at Giverny.

The Denver Art Museum is located at 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, Denver, Colorado; general admission is $10.

 

Pat Steir: Color Wheel” at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
October 24, 2019–September 7, 2020

A site-specific Pat Steir installation, “Pat Steir Silent Waterfalls: The Barnes Series,” (2019) at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, installation view. Photo by J. Ramsdale, courtesy of the Barnes Foundation.

A site-specific Pat Steir installation, “Pat Steir Silent Waterfalls: The Barnes Series,” (2019) at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, installation view. Photo by J. Ramsdale, courtesy of the Barnes Foundation.

For her largest site-specific exhibition to date, Pat Steir will hang 28 large-scale paintings, each seven feet by nine feet, in the Hirshhorn’s circular second floor galleries. Together, the canvases, each featuring Steir’s unique drip-work technique, will form a massive color wheel, blending red, orange, yellow, green, and blue to surround the viewer in the a spectrum of color.

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is located at Independence Avenue and 7th Street, Washington, DC; general admission is free.

 

Edward Hopper and the American Hotel” at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond
October 26, 2019–February 23, 2020

Edward Hopper, Western Motel (1957). Yale University Art Gallery. © 2019 Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper/ARS.

Edward Hopper, Western Motel (1957). Yale University Art Gallery. © 2019 Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper/ARS.

The VMFA takes a deep dive into Edward Hopper’s works depicting hotel rooms, celebrating the romance and anonymity of temporary lodgings. The show offers museum-goers a chance to stay the night in a recreation of the room in his painting Western Motel (1965), while the show also explores the larger history of hotels in American culture through thematically similar works by 27 other artists.

The VMFA is located at 200 North Arthur Ashe Boulevard, Richmond, Virginia; general admission is free.

 

North Forest Lights” at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas
October 26, 2019–February 16, 2020

The Moment Factory, "North Forest Lights." Image courtesy of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

The Moment Factory, “North Forest Lights.” Image courtesy of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

The multimedia studio SuperReal is headed to Crystal Bridges for a nighttime exhibition in the Ozark woods, for which it will create five light- and sound-art installations designed to encourage visitors to reconnect with nature. The group will cover the museum’s bridge in colored fog, let visitors gather around a digital fire pit, and present a forest orchestra featuring bluegrass, ragtime, and other regional musical styles.

The Crystal Bridges Museum is located at 600 Museum Way, Bentonville, Arkansas; general admission is free.

 

Richard Mosse: Incoming” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
October 26, 2019–February 17, 2020

Richard Mosse, <em>Incoming</em> (2017), still. Photo courtesy of the Kramlich Collection, courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Richard Mosse, Incoming (2017), still. Photo courtesy of the Kramlich Collection, courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Over the course of two years, Richard Mosse turned his lens onto the mass migration of people as they fled the Middle East, Africa, and beyond. Armed with a thermal military camera, he sought to produce what he calls “adequate images” to reflect displacement across the world. The resulting photos are equally harrowing, beautiful, and unsettling.

SFMOMA is located at 151 Third Street, San Francisco, California; general admission is $25.

 

Julie Mehretu” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
November 3, 2019–May 17, 2020

Julie Mehretu,<eM> Conjured Parts (eye). Ferguson, 2016</em>. Photo by Cathy Carver, courtesy of the Broad Art Foundation, Los Angeles, ©Julie Mehretu.

Julie Mehretu, Conjured Parts (eye). Ferguson, 2016. Photo by Cathy Carver, courtesy of the Broad Art Foundation, Los Angeles, ©Julie Mehretu.

A mid-career survey for Julie Mehretu will showcase some 36 paintings and 41 works on paper from 1996 to the present by the Ethiopian-born artist, highlighting her considerable printmaking skills in addition to her large-scale canvases. The show was co-organized with New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, where it will head next year (June 26–September 20,2020).

LACMA is located at 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California; general admission is $25.


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