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Exhibits around the world > United States December 13, 2006

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WALTERS ART MUSEUM > To Jan. 7: “Courbet and the Modern Landscape.”
About 37 landscapes by the French master (1819-1877) document how Courbet’s innovations would influence the Impressionists. For instance, Courbet departed from studio painting to paint directly from nature and often abandoned conventional paintbrushes to paint with knives, sponges, rags and even his own fingers. At the same museum, “Courbet/Not Courbet” (to March 11) investigates the authenticity of some of Courbet’s landscapes.  www.thewalters.org

THE MENIL COLLECTION > To Jan. 14: “Klee and America.”
Paul Klee (1879-1940) was one of the leading figures within the modernist movement and his reputation in Europe was quickly paralleled on the other side of the Atlantic, especially during the 1930s and 1940s. Klee’s works were first shown in the United States within the context of “Société Anonyme,” an association that pioneered abstract art. During the Nazi years, Klee lived in Switzerland but his works were regularly added to the collections of American museums. The show features more than 80 paintings and drawings that have remained in the United States.  www.menil.org

METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART > To Jan. 15: “Sean Scully: Wall of Light.”
More than 50 works (out of more than 200) from the Wall of Light series of abstract paintings, watercolors, pastels and aquatints by the American painter (born 1945). Scully was inspired by trips to Mexico where he developed a fascination for the play of light on ancient Maya walls. His works show colorful brick-like shapes, arranged to fit horizontally and vertically, and affected by various degrees of light and darkness.  www.metmuseum.org

To Jan. 21: “Brush and Ink: The Chinese Art of Writing.” In China, the art of writing ranks above painting as the way to express oneself. As such, calligraphy may be appreciated in much the same way as abstract art. This installation traces the 1,600-year history of brush writing from the 4th century A.D. to its recent transformation from a mark of scholarly status to a form of abstract art. It features more than 70 works, including some on loan from private collections.  www.metmuseum.org

To Feb. 19: “Set in Stone: The Face in Medieval Sculpture.” The 80 stone heads on display have been arranged in thematic sections: Among them, “Stone Bible” assembles heads of Biblical figures; “Iconoclasm” features heads that were removed from the sculpted bodies as an act of violence or revenge; and “Portraits in Stone” includes sculpted portraits from the 3rd century to the early 16th century. www.metmuseum.org

MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, MOMA > To Jan. 15: “Brice Marden: A Retrospective of Paintings and Drawings.” More than 50 paintings and 50 drawings, presented chronologically, document the evolution of the artist’s work and his exploration of light, color and surface. Marden (born in 1938) has often been associated with Minimalism. His early rectangular monochromes won him acclaim until he shifted to calligraphic compositions of intersecting curves on paper or on canvas.  www.moma.org

SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM > To Jan. 21: “Lucio Fontana: Venice/New York.” Trained as a sculptor, Fontana (1899-1968) introduced a third dimension in his paintings when he started puncturing and slashing them. The exhibition brings together two series of works from the early 1960s, each devoted to the city that inspired it. Thick paint on canvas furrowed with the artist’s fingers or other instruments and scattered with fragments of glass characterizes the Venice works. New York is paid homage with slashed, pierced and scratched sheets of metal cut through by vertical slashes that recall the force of New York construction and the metal and glass of the buildings.  www.guggenheim.org

WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART > To Jan. 28: “Picasso and American Art.” Picasso never visited the United States and yet his influence on American art is felt to this day. The show documents how Picasso impacted on the artistic development of nine artists: Stuart Davis, Willem De Kooning, Arshile Gorky, John Graham, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Jackson Pollock, David Smith and Max Weber. Works by Picasso that were studied by the artists hang alongside their own works.  www.whitney.org

HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN > To Jan. 7: “The Uncertainty of Objects and Ideas: Recent Sculptures.”
With the works of nine emerging international sculptors, the exhibition centers on the artists’ efforts to create experimental forms that lie somewhere between object and idea. The resulting contraptions, building on techniques used by Fluxus, Dada or Assemblage artists, often combine handmade materials and mass-produced consumer goods.  http://hirshhorn.si.edu

NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART > To Jan. 15: “The Streets of New York: American Photographs from the Collection, 1938-1958.” Walker Evans’s “American Photographs” was published in 1938 and Robert Frank’s “The Americans” in 1958. In the years between those two, American photography changed dramatically. Artists broke the predominant rules: They used available light, allowed blurred or out-of-focus forms, and did not always frame their subjects. More than documenting New York, the artists recreated their experience of it. About 75 works by 20 photographers, including Evans, Frank, Klein and Weegee, are included in the display.  www.nga.gov

To Dec. 31: “Constable’s Great Landscapes.” The six-foot, or about two-meter, landscapes that Constable started to paint in 1818 are paired here with their full-size sketches, the latter created because the artist needed an intermediate stage between his small oil studies and the final painting and did prepare large compositions on a full-size canvas. Most works illustrate the region of Suffolk often known as “Constable country.” www.nga.gov

To March 18: “Strokes of Genius: Rembrandt’s Prints and Drawings.” Rembrandt Year is drawing to a close, but exhibitions of his works are still flourishing. Here, the 175 works on paper, mainly from the NGA’s own collection, are arranged in five sections: people and animals; family and friends; the Dutch countryside and biblical scenes. The fifth section is devoted to different impressions of a single print and alterations to the copper etching plates. www.nga.gov

PHILLIPS COLLECTION > To Jan. 21: “The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America.” Declaring itself an “experimental museum of art,” the Société Anonyme was founded in 1920 by a group of artists, including Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, eager to promote avant-garde art to American audiences. It also amassed a large collection of European and American art dating from 1920 to 1940. The array of more than 130 works features major works by avant-garde artists, Brancusi, Duchamp, Kandinsky, Klee, Mondrian, Man Ray, and Dada artists.  www.phillipscollection.org

To Jan. 15, 2008: “More than Meets the Eye.”
The Deutsche Bank collection of photographs is touring Latin America: It features 200 works by 54 German artists who have left their mark on the art of photography since 1945. Pictures by familiar names like Gerhard Richter are accompanied by works by lesser-known artists (Susa Templin, Delia Keller) or by works by famous artists whose work in photography is more confidential (Sigmar Polke). Recently displayed in Mexico City, the exhibition will go to Bogotá later this month, then Lima, Santiago de Chile and São Paulo with its final stop in Buenos Aires.  www.deutsche-bank-kunst.com


Exhibits around the world > Ukraine December 13, 2006

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 The newly opened museum is in Kiev’s historical center and devoted entirely to contemporary art. Part of its collection of 300 works was presented at the Venice Biennale a year ago. Its inaugural exhibit, based on holdings in the collection and on recent acquisitions, and managed by a French curator, includes works by Olafur Eliasson, Boris Mikhailov and Sarah Morris, among others.  www.c-artpinchuk.org

Exhibits around the world > Switzerland December 13, 2006

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KUNSTMUSEUM BASEL > To Feb. 4: “Kandinsky: Malerei, 1908-1921.”
Kandinsky’s peregrinations are well known: Russia (where he was born), Munich, a brief stay in Paris (1906-1907), his return to Munich and later to Russia when World War I broke out; Weimar where he taught at the Bauhaus school after leaving Russia again when artistic freedom became increasingly curtailed. Kandinsky finally settled in France in 1933 and lived there until his death in 1944. About 60 paintings and 30 works on paper illustrate the painter’s artistic evolution between 1908 and 1921, spanning his early colorful landscapes, his “improvisations” before the war, and his Russian geometrically organized compositions.  www.kunstmuseumbasel.ch

FONDATION BEYELER > To Feb. 18: “Eros dans l’Art Moderne.”
Following a first show devoted to Rodin’s and Picasso’s artistic relationship to Eros, this display brings together 200 works created throughout the 20th century that, again, focus on the interpretation of eroticism. The artists, as varied as Egon Schiele, Bonnard, Dali, Louise Bourgeois, Rebecca Horn and Marlene Dumas, are linked by their fascination for the theme but differentiated by their artistic idioms: nude paintings, drawings, sculptures or installations.  www.beyeler.com

KUNSTHAUS ZÜRICH > To Jan. 2: “In den Alpen.”
Paintings by Turner and Ferdinand Hodler, posters, contemporary artworks and photographs document the beauty of the Alps, its fauna and flora, its attraction as a tourist destination, but also the destruction wrought on them by global warming.  www.kunsthaus.ch

Exhibits around the world > Spain December 13, 2006

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GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM > To Feb. 2007: “100% Africa.”
Works by 25 artists document the variety of artistic idioms, paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, installations and videos, in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. Most of the works by such artists as Seydou Keita, Chéri Samba, George Lilanga, and Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, among others, are on loan from the collection of contemporary African art created by Jean Pigozzi.  www.guggenheim-bilbao.es

MUSEO THYSSEN-BORNEMISZA > To Jan. 8: “Sargent-Sorolla.”
A comparison of the works of two artists of the turn of the 20th century: John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) and Joaquín Sorolla (1863-1923) knew each other and admired their respective work. Both resisted the influence of Impressionism and upheld the naturalist tradition. Portraits, genre scenes and group scenes by both artists are brought together, as well as works that are more specific to each of them.  www.museothyssen.org

To March 11: “Rauschenberg Express.” “Express” is one of a small group of works that marks Robert Rauschenberg’s evolution towards a new pictorial style in which he reconciled figuration and abstraction. The small display of 16 works documents the process through which the American artist (born 1925) adopted a new technique, oil, ink and serigraphy on canvas, which would become the basis of his work.  www.museothyssen.org

Exhibits around the world > South Korea December 13, 2006

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NATIONAL MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART > To Dec. 17: “Artist of the Year 2006: Chung Hyun.”
For the first time, the prize has been awarded to a sculptor, allowing Chung to display 60 sculptures and 60 drawings that show his evolution in style and materials. Chung’s works, which explore the traditional subject of the human body, appear somewhat rough and crude, as if left unfinished.  www.moca.go.kr

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF ART, DEOKSUGUNG > To Feb. 28: “Jean Dubuffet, 1901-1985: Rétrospective.”
The museum offers the first display in South Korea of works by the French artist: 80 paintings, 50 drawings and some sculptures. A founder of Art Brut, Dubuffet created an art free from intellectual concerns and his work may appear simplistic and child-like. In the 1960s, he only used the colors blue, red and white in his paintings and sculptures. His later work, in which all colors compete, is reminiscent of Graffiti Art.  www.deoksugung.kr