10 Must-See New England Museums

Loïs Mailou Jones, “Ubi Girl from Tai Region”, 1972, as part of MFA’s “Touching Roots: Black Ancestral Legacies in America”. © Lois Mailou Jones Pierre-Noel Trust © Museum of Fine Arts, BostonPhotograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

TOUCHING ROOTS: ANCESTRAL BLACK HERITAGES IN THE AMERICAS Tracing “narratives of blackness across the Atlantic world,” this exhibition brings together artists from the African diaspora who have taken cultural motifs, customs and stories from their African heritage and repurposed them to portray the black experience in the colonial west, with a focus on artists working here in New England: Allan Rohan Crite, Napoleon Jones-Henderson, Ifé Franklin, Bryan McFarlane, Karen Hampton, Loïs Mailou Jones and Stephen Hamilton. May 26-May 23, 2023, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 465 Huntington Ave. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org

REVIVAL: MONUMENTAL MATERIALS AND SHAPES Since opening in 2018, the Watershed Annex of the Institute of Contemporary Art across the harbor in East Boston has hosted monumental pieces by a single artist, some made for this very space. This show changes things – having the Venice Biennale on its plate this spring probably had something to do with it – a group effort featuring sculptural works by El Anatsui, Madeline Hollander, Ibrahim Mahama, Karyn Olivier, Ebony G. Patterson and Joe Wardwell. Yet the topical ethos of the watershed remains intact: the show addresses the creative reuse of discarded materials in a world drowning in trash. May 26-Sept. 5, ICA Watershed, 256 Marginal St., East Boston. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.com

El Anatsui, “Area B”, 2007, included in the ICA Watershed exhibition “Revival: Materials and Monumental Forms”. Image courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. © El Anatsui

AMY YOES: HOT SPOTS For those not fans of the prevailing art museum ethos, this will be a welcome remedy. Yoes will transform a giant gallery footprint into five rooms with varying functions – the foyer, lounge, library, theater and drawing room – fitted with bespoke furniture designed to be moved by the public in an ever-changing environment. participatory experience. Opens May 28; closure to be determined. Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, 1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams. 413-662-2111, www.massmoca.org

ANDREW WYETH: LIFE AND DEATH The quintessential painter of 20th century American rural life – ‘Christina’s World’, his 1948 painting of a woman slumped in a field of tall grass, is one of those rare paintings instantly recognizable to almost anyone. who, anywhere – had an equal fascination with death, including his own. This is the first public presentation of newly rediscovered drawings Wyeth made in the 1990s at his own funeral; the exhibition combines these drawings with works by Duane Michals, Andy Warhol and George Tooker, all of whom depicted their own deaths, as a deeper look at the nature of artistic meditation on mortality. June 2-Oct. 16, Colby College Museum of Art, 5600 Mayflower Hill Drive, Waterville, Maine. 207-859-5600, www.colby.edu/museum

PRINT: ILLUSTRATE THE RACE More than 100 illustrations and artefacts made for the public sphere, whether for advertising or editorial purposes, make up this exhibition, which explores how the dominant representation of race has helped to reinforce or counter stereotypes. This is a long view, covering pieces from the end of the 18th century to the present day. June 11-Oct. 30 Norman Rockwell Museum, 9 Route 183, Stockbridge. 413-298-4100, www.nrm.org

Auguste Rodin, “Christ and Mary Magdalene”, original model 1894.sculpted by Victor Peter, 1908. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.32

RODIN IN THE UNITED STATES: FACE THE MODERN Some 1,300 works by French sculptor Auguste Rodin are held by museums in the United States, a testament not only to the artist’s success, but also to the many advocates on this side of the ocean who have done so. This exhibition, curated by the Clark, brings together 50 sculptures and 25 drawings that explore the reputation-building effort that cemented Rodin’s work at the center of the American experience of modern art. June 18-Sept. 18, Clark Art Institute, 225 South St., Williamstown. 413-458-2303, www.clarkart.edu

PATRICK KELLY: LOVE TRACK This show features the Mississippi-born, Paris-based fashion designer whose short life – he died in 1990 at the age of 35 – was filled with innovative and provocative work that draws inspiration from everything from fashion from Parisian clubs to his childhood growing up in the American South. His designs, according to the museum, “pushed racial and cultural boundaries, affirmed black empowerment, and were rooted in expressions of love and joy.” A revival of a 2014 exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the 2022 version includes an exhibit of Kelly’s “significant” collection of racist memorabilia. June 25-Nov. 6, Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex Street, Salem. 978-745-9500, www.pem.org

Patrick Kelly’s 1989-1990 fall-winter advertising campaign.
Photograph by Oliviero Toscani. Courtesy of the Estate of Patrick Kelly. Scan by Randy Dodson / Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. (Copyright Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

FLYING WOMAN: THE PAINTINGS OF KATHERINE BRADFORD Bradford, a painter based in Maine and Brooklyn, is having a moment. This first-ever survey of his work follows the artist’s nomination as the recipient of last year’s award. Rappaport Prize of $35,000, administered by the Cordova Museum and Lincoln Sculpture Park. Bradford, whose loose, dreamy canvases mean to evoke psychological states, was also recently featured at Harvard’s Carpenter Center for Visual Arts in a two-person show with Diedrick Brackens. June 25-Sept. 11, Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Square, Portland, Maine. 207-775-6148; portlandmuseum.org

CELEBRATING COLLAGE: A 25TH ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art lost its namesake when Carle, a legendary children’s book author and illustrator, died last year at 91. But its legacy lives on: the museum is celebrating a quarter of a century this summer with this exhibition of 90 collages by Carle and other icons including Leo Lionni, alongside a new generation of collage artists like Ekua Holmes and Thao Lam. June 25-Dec. 31, Eric Carle Picture Book Art Museum, 125 West Bay Road, Amherst. 413-559-6300, www.carlemuseum.org

THE SUN RISES IN THE WEST AND SETS IN THE EAST A pointed exploration of how rational disciplines like science and philosophy have collapsed in an increasingly post-factual society, this exhibition presents a stellar list of contemporary artists whose work catalogs an era of dystopian discontent: Lida Abdul, Kader Attia, Yael Bartana, Asli Çavuşoğlu, Ergin Çavuşoğlu, Ali Cherri, Anton Ginzburg, Emily Jacir, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Nyugen E. Smith, and Nari Ward. Aug. 30-Dec. 11 Tufts University Art Galleries, 40 Talbot Ave., Medford. 617-627-3518, artgalleries.tufts.edu

MURRAY WHY


Murray Whyte can be reached at murray.whyte@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheMurrayWhyte.

James C. Tibbs