The art world is all aflutter with artworks new and old, and your local museums are hosting some great exhibitions to honor them. From Vermeer to Turrell, Dalí to Monet, the artists that changed the world did so with the daring, creativity, and abandon needed to make their mark on the art world. We’ve compiled a list of the top five most anticipated exhibitions of 2013, exhibitions that highlight these exemplary individuals. The shows on this list are well-researched, sure to be exciting, accessible, and thoroughly enjoyable. They may also prove to be just as revolutionary as the artists the museums champion. Read on to discover the top exhibits and let us know what you think when you finally visit them!
Morgan Museum: Drawing Surrealism
This exhibition is on view from January 25 through April 21, and is sure to be a great show that highlights artworks traditionally shunned by most museums. The museum writes, “Bringing together more than 160 works on paper by such iconic artists as Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Leonora Carrington, and Joan Miró, this is the first major exhibition to explore the central role of drawing in surrealism, one of the most important movements in twentieth-century art.” Surrealism is the art movement that took place in the early 20th century, started in Paris and inspired by psychologists like Sigmund Freud. Abnormally-sized appendages, disjointed bodies, fantastical creatures, and simply uncomfortable, dream-like scenes are all attributes of the surrealist movement. Most of the famous surrealist works are oil on canvas (Rene Magritte’s This is not a Pipe, Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory or Joan Miró's Harlequin’s Carnival, for example). The works on view at the Morgan this winter are all drawings on paper. Over 160 works by over 70 artists will hang on the walls there, highlighting an important period in the history of art and indicating the real scope of the movement. Drawing Surrealism is co-organized with the Morgan by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A number of related programs accompany the exhibition, including gallery talks, a dance performance, film, and family program.
Brooklyn Museum: Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui
El Anatsui is one of the most influential contemporary artists, and probably the best-known artist from Africa today. Born in Ghana and now living in Nigeria, El Anatsui creates works of art that often reference the history and culture of Africa. Traditionally a sculptor, El Anatsui is best known for his monumental wall hangings made of appropriated objects. The museum notes, “Included in the exhibition are twelve recent monumental wall and floor sculptures, widely considered to represent the apex of Anatsui’s career. The metal wall works, created with bottle caps from a distillery in Nsukka, Nigeria, are pieced together to form colorful, textured hangings that take on radically new shapes with each installation. Anatsui is captivated by his materials’ history of use, reflecting his own nomadic background. Gravity and Grace responds to a long history of innovations in abstract art and performance, building upon cross-cultural exchange among Africa, Europe, and the Americas and presenting works in a wholly new, African medium.” This is the first solo exhibition of Anatsui’s work in a New York museum – incredible, considering the recent popularity of the artist and the inclusion of his works in both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. Brooklyn’s exhibition will be a great introduction to a gifted and innovative artist, one who has already had great influence on the history of art. Gravity and Grace will be on view from February 8 to August 4.
Metropolitan Museum of Art: Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity
This may prove to be the Met’s most popular exhibit of the year, boasting some of the most impressive works of art from the 19th century. What will make the exhibit so remarkable is its inclusion of not only paintings by famous artists (Monet, Renoir, Manet, Cassatt) but actual period costumes that are found in the paintings. Photographs and illustrations will also highlight the exhibition. The dialogue between art and fashion is a never-ending one, and the initiative taken by the Met to address that conversation is commendable. Viewing the fashion of the 20th century during the Impressionist period will make the exhibition all the more enticing – the proper, romantic fashions of the time are reflected in the art itself. Impressionism is a period of art begun in the 1860s, a period that directly challenged the traditional art championed by the Academy. It is infused with light and color, with scenes of everyday life or the outdoors. Impressionist art was rejected at first because it has a quality of looking almost “unfinished” - when viewed up close, the work can seem almost like a jumble of colors, each one blending into the next; but take a few steps back and the beauty of the scene is apparent. Lavish dresses and handsome suits, fashionable hats and accessories, and lush fabrics and textiles are all accents of Impressionist art. Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity is on view from February 26 to May 27.
Guggenheim Museum: James Turrell
A contemporary artist who experiments with light and space, James Turrell was born in Los Angeles in 1943. His works often bathe a room in colored light or feature a specific shape of light, often leaving a calming effect on the viewer. With this in mind, and the particular uncommon shape of the Guggenheim’s rotunda, Turrell has designed a special site-specific work that will “recast the space as an enormous volume filled with shifting artificial and natural light. One of the most dramatic transformations of the museum ever conceived, the installation reimagines Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic architecture—its openness to nature, graceful curves, and magnificent sense of space—as one of Turrell’s Skyspaces. Reorienting visitors’ experiences of the rotunda from above to below, the exhibition gives form to the air and light occupying the museum’s central void, proposing an entirely new experience of the building.” Like two works in one, this piece will be sure to attract attention from visitors young and old. The transformation of the interior space is what will make the exhibition so effective. The exhibition is part of a major retrospective of Turrell’s work that will also be on display at two other museums this summer: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. See the light-changing effects of Turrell’s works at the Guggenheim from June 21 through September 25.
Frick Collection: Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis
Not opening until later this fall, from October 22, 2013 to January 19, 2014, this major loan exhibition will be the last stop on a tour of the United States of works from the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague. The crown jewel of the collection will be Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, made famous by the book and film inspired by the painting. The Mauritshuis is a 17th-century palace in The Hague that happens to be home to masterworks from the Dutch Golden Age. The Dutch Golden Age, taking place in the first half of the 17th century, is where some of the greatest painters of the period are known from: Frans Hals, Rembrandt can Rijn, Jacob van Ruisdael, and Jan Vermeer are all products of the period. The Mauritshuis has been closed to the public while it undergoes extensive renovations, thus making an international tour of some of their most beloved works possible. A total of fifteen paintings will be shown at the Frick. Additional works include van Ruisdael’s View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds, Carel Fabritius’s The Goldfinch, Rembrandt’s Simeon’s Song of Praise, and Gerard ter Borch’s Woman Writing a Letter. The pictures in the exhibition will complement nicely the works already on view at the Frick, and would have been works that Henry Clay Frick himself could have seen and considered for his impressive collection. The paintings will return to their newly renovated home after the exhibition at the Frick.
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