Don’t Miss These 10 New Art and Design Exhibits Opening This Winter

Explore everything from artistic chairs to underground magazines this season

Ryan McGinley, Dakota Hair, 2004. (Ryan McGinley, Courtesy of Team Gallery, New York)
smithsonian.com

This winter season, a dazzling new batch of exhibitions are opening up around the world. At these 10 museums, explore Dior’s enchanting designs, step into the first major exhibition at the new Louvre Abu Dhabi and read the pages of an underground magazine created in a Nazi concentration camp.

Royal Ontario Museum—Christian Dior

(Toronto, Canada; November 25, 2017 – March 18, 2018)

One of Dior's designed jackets. (Courtesy of ROM)
One of the dresses in the exhibit. (Courtesy of ROM)
One of Dior's designs from the top down. (Courtesy of ROM)

For the House of Christian Dior’s 70th anniversary, the Royal Ontario Museum is hosting a retrospective of the designer’s work compiled from his first ten years in the haute couture business. The highlighted pieces date from 1947 to 1957 and document how the designer helped revive the fashion industry in Paris after the destruction caused by World War II. The exhibit showcases a wide range of designs, including daytime and eveningwear, and includes an in-depth examination of the luxurious textiles and embroidery the designer employed in his work.

Pérez Art Museum MiamiFelice Grodin: Invasive Species

(Miami, Florida; December 5, 2017 – April 21, 2018)

Rendering of Mezzbug. (Felice Grodin)
Photo of Felice Grodin’s Terrafish taken during tour with PAMM Teaching Artists, November 22, 2017. (Adrienne Chadwick)

In the museum’s first ever foray into augmented reality exhibits, Miami-based artist Felice Grodin takes over with Invasive Species. The exhibit is interactive and digital; visitors use iOS devices to reveal four digital pieces located in the outdoor areas of the museum and on the first-floor theater. One piece, titled Terrafish, reveals the translucent body of an imaginary creature hoovering over the museum's hanging gardens. The pieces are designed to enhance and engage with the building itself.

La Triennale di Milano—Rick Owens: Subhuman Inhuman Superhuman

(Milan, Italy; December 15, 2017 – March 25, 2017)

One of the pieces in Rick Owens' exhibit. (OWENSCORP)
One of the pieces in Rick Owens' exhibit. (OWENSCORP)

Furniture and fashion often go hand-in-hand, and no other exhibit explores this connection in such a way as Subhuman Inhuman Superhuman. This exhibit is the first retrospective in the world that’s dedicated to designer Rick Owens and his fashion and furniture career. Owens has created the design of the exhibit himself, picking pieces from his already existing archive in addition to creating an entirely new art installation. The pieces in the collection will demonstrate Owens’ penchant for mixing poetry and art with punk and anarchy.

Institute of Texan Cultures—The Will to Adorn: African American Dress and the Aesthetics of Identity

(San Antonio, Texas; December 16, 2017 – March 11, 2018)

Inside a local salon. (Courtesy of the Institute of Texan Cultures)
A cowrie shell bowtie. (Courtesy of the Institute of Texan Cultures)
Fabric used for head wraps. (Courtesy of the Institute of Texan Cultures)
Inside a braiding salon. (Courtesy of the Institute of Texan Cultures)

Highlighting groundbreaking work from high school students in San Antonio, The Will to Adorn focuses on the influence of African American dress and how it relates to identity. Students went out into the community to do research, conducting interviews with local experts and neighbors at salons, shops and braiding salons. Community traditions and self-expression run as a central theme throughout the exhibit. This project, administered by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, is the first research on this topic in the San Antonio area.

Louvre Abu Dhabi—From One Louvre to Another

(Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Opens December 21, 2017)

Exterior view of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. (Louvre Abu Dhabi – Photography Roland Halbe)
Germination by Giuseppe Penone. (Louvre Abu Dhabi – Photography Roland Halbe)
Ottoman mosaic pavement. (Louvre Abu Dhabi – Photography Roland Halbe)
Interior view of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. (Louvre Abu Dhabi – Photography Roland Halbe)

As of November, the newest extension of the Louvre is now open in Abu Dhabi. The inaugural exhibition, From One Louvre to Another, opens December 21 and traces the history of Paris’ Louvre back to the 18th century. The exhibit is broken into three sections: the first looks at King Louis XIV’s royal art collections at Versailles, the second tracks the conversion of the Louvre into a palace for artists through the Academy and Salons that once held residence there and the third explores how the Louvre became the museum as we know it today. The show highlights roughly 150 pieces of art—including paintings, sculptures, furniture and ceramics—both from the Louvre’s collection in Paris and from the collection at Versailles.

Milwaukee Art Museum—The Open Road: Photography and the American Road Trip

(Milwaukee, Wisconsin; January 26, 2018 – April 22, 2018)

Alec Soth, Cemetery, Fountain City, Wisconsin, 2002. (Alec Soth, Courtesy of Magnum Photos)
Ryan McGinley, Dakota Hair, 2004. (Ryan McGinley, Courtesy of Team Gallery, New York)
Lee Friedlander, Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, 1969. (Lee Friedlander, Courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco)
Justine Kurland, Claire, 8th Ward, 2012. (Justine Kurland, Courtesy Mitchell-Innes and Nash Gallery, New York)
Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs, Broken Street Line, 2008. (Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs, Courtesy of the artists and RaebervonStenglin, Zurich and Peter Lav, Copenhagen)

Few things are as iconically American as a road trip—taking to the open highway in a car with friends or family, or even alone. It’s been a transforming pastime throughout the history of the U.S., be it for finding a new place to settle or just finding out a little bit more about yourself. The Open Road documents that American habit through photos, combining stories and images from 19 photographers who found their muse on the vast network of highways in America. The 1930s and 1940s were prime times for photographers to take off across the country, all hoping to document post-war America, or at least to help themselves better understand their place in the world.

Minneapolis Institute of Art—Power and Beauty in China’s Last Dynasty: Concept and Design by Robert Wilson

(Minneapolis, Minnesota; February 4, 2018 – May 27, 2018)

Jade Mountain Illustrating the Gathering of Scholars at the Lanting Pavilion. Qing dynasty, Qianlong period, dated 1790. Green jade. (Courtesy of Minneapolis Institute of Art)
Emperor’s Ceremonial Twelve-symbol jifu Court Robe. Qing dynasty, Qianlong period, 1736-1795. Silk tapestry (kesi). (Courtesy of Minneapolis Institute of Art)
Imperial Portrait of Prince Duo Luo. Qing dynasty, Qianlong period, 1736-1795. Ink, color, and gold on silk. (Courtesy of Minneapolis Institute of Art)
Imperial Throne. Qing dynasty, Qianlong period, 1736-1795. Polychrome lacquer over a softwood frame. (Courtesy of Minneapolis Institute of Art)

The Qing Dynasty in China, which lasted from 1644 to 1912, was not only the final imperial dynasty, but also the biggest champion of the arts in Chinese history, rivaling the art scene in Europe. This exhibit attempts to harness that artistic prowess with a figurative walk from the external image of the imperial court to the private lives of the emperor and his family. Each room of the exhibit is accompanied by an original soundscape designed by theater artist Robert Wilson. Items not to miss include a 640-pound jade mountain sculpture that was commissioned by the Qianlong emperor, the empress’s formal court robe, a carved imperial throne and a portrait of prince Duo Lou.

The Driehaus Museum—The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design

(Chicago, Illinois; February 10, 2018 – August 11, 2018)

Designed by Harry Bertoia (1915-1978), Manufactured by Knoll Associates, New York City, NY, Large Diamond Lounge Chair, c. 1952 (Photo by Michael Koryta and Andrew VanStyn, Director of Acquisitions, Conservation and Photography)
Unknown designer, attributed to Philadelphia, PA, Fancy Side Chair, c. 1820 (Photo by Michael Koryta and Andrew VanStyn, Director of Acquisitions, Conservation and Photography)
Designed and Manufactured by John Henry Belter (1804-1863), New York City, NY, Slipper Chair (Grape Vine and Oak Leaf), c. 1860 (Photo by Douglas J. Eng)
Designed and Manufactured by Vivian Beer (b. 1977), Penland, NC, Current, 2004 (Photo by Douglas J. Eng)
Designed and Manufactured by Vivian Beer (b. 1977), Penland, NC, Current, 2004 (Photo by Douglas J. Eng)
Designed by Herbert von Thaden (1898-1969), Manufactured by Thaden Jordan Furniture Company (Est. 1946), Roanoke, VA, Adjustable Lounge Chair, 1947 (Photo by Michael Koryta and Andrew VanStyn, Director of Acquisitions, Conservation and Photography)
Designed and Manufactured by Kenneth Smythe (b. 1937), Oakland, CA, Synergistic Synthesis XVII sub b1 Chair, 2003 (Photo by Michael Koryta and Andrew VanStyn, Director of Acquisitions, Conservation and Photography)
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), Manufactured by Steelcase Corporation, Grand Rapids, MI, Johnson Wax Company Chair, c. 1938 (Photo by Michael Koryta and Andrew VanStyn, Director of Acquisitions, Conservation and Photography)
Designed by Charles Eames (1907-1978) and Ray Eames (1912-1988), Manufactured by Evans Products, Co. for Herman Miller Furniture Company (Est. 1923), Grand Rapids, MI, LCW (Lounge Chair Wood), c. 1945 (Photo by Michael Koryta and Andrew VanStyn, Director of Acquisitions, Conservation and Photography)
Designed by Frank Gehry (b. 1929), Manufactured by Easy Edges, Inc. (active 1969-73), Los Angeles, CA, High Stool, 1971 (Photo by Michael Koryta and Andrew VanStyn, Director of Acquisitions, Conservation and Photography)
Designed by Warren McArthur Jr. (1885-1961), Manufactured by Warren McArthur Corp., Rome, NY, Sling Seat Lounge Chair, c. 1935 (Photo by Michael Koryta and Andrew VanStyn, Director of Acquisitions, Conservation and Photography)
Designed by David Wolcott Kendall (1851-1910), Manufactured by Phoenix Furniture Company (Founded 1870), Grand Rapids, MI, “McKinley” Arm Chair, c. 1894-96 (Photo by Michael Koryta and Andrew VanStyn, Director of Acquisitions, Conservation and Photography)
Design and Manufacture Attributed to Pottier & Stymus and Company, (Est. 1859), New York, NY, Egyptian Revival Side Chair, c. 1875 (Photo by Michael Koryta and Andrew VanStyn, Director of Acquisitions, Conservation and Photography)
Designed by Thomas Ustick Walter (1804-1887), Manufactured by Hammitt Desk Manufacturing Company, Philadelphia, PA, House of Representatives Chamber Arm Chair, 1857 (Photo by Michael Koryta and Andrew VanStyn, Director of Acquisitions, Conservation and Photography)
Designed by Thomas E. Warren (active with American Chair Co. 1849-52), Manufactured by the American Chair Co. (1829-1858), Troy, NY, Centripetal Spring Arm Chair, c. 1850 (Photo by Michael Koryta and Andrew VanStyn, Director of Acquisitions, Conservation and Photography)
Designed by a Shaker for a Community Member, New Lebanon, NY, New Lebanon Shaker Community (1787-1947), NY, Rocking Arm Chair, c. 1840 (Photo by Michael Koryta and Andrew VanStyn, Director of Acquisitions, Conservation and Photography)

Starting in February, Chicago’s Driehaus Museum will celebrate the art of an every day object: the chair. The Art of Seating showcases 37 chairs dating from 1810 to 2010. The pieces were chosen to display how each chair reflects the American culture of the time it was created. Don’t miss chairs designed by greats like Frank Lloyd Wright, Eero Saarinen and Frank Gehry, alongside modern representations of seating from manufacturers like Herman Miller and Steelcase. One of the prize pieces in the collection is an original chamber armchair from the House of Representatives in 1857. These chairs were often showcased in political portraits like those of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.

Denver Art Museum—Degas: A Passion for Perfection

(Denver, Colorado; February 11, 2018 – May 20, 2018)

Edgar Degas, Dancers, about 1900. Pastel and charcoal on tracing paper, mounted on wove paper, mounted on board; 37-5/8 x 26-3/4 in. (Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester: Gift of Mrs. Charles H. Babcock)
Edgar Degas, Dancer with Bouquets, about 1895-1900. Oil paint on canvas; 71 x 60 in. (Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA: Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., in memory of Della Viola Forker Chrysler)
Edgar Degas, Dance Examination (Examen de Danse, 1880. Pastel on paper; 24-1/2 x 18 in. (Denver Art Museum: anonymous gift, 1941.6)

Coming to the Denver Art Museum, and only the Denver Art Museum, will be an exhibition of Degas’ work from 1855 to 1906. More than 100 pieces will be on display, including drawings, pastels, monotypes, bronze sculptures, etchings and paintings. The goal of the exhibit is to allow visitors a chance to see inside Degas’ creative process while exploring his public and private life at the same time. Several repeating themes include his fascination with horses, opera, dance and the nude figure. The exhibit will follow the artist’s career, from his early portraits and historical subjects to his later works focusing on contemporary Parisian life in the late 1800s.

Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education—Vedem: The Underground Magazine of the Terezin Ghetto

(Portland, Oregon; February 15, 2018 – May 27, 2018)

Pages from the magazine on display. (Courtesy of the Oregon Jewish Museum)
Art from Vedem. (Courtesy of the Oregon Jewish Museum)

From 1942 to 1944, seven teenage boys aged 13 to 15 defied the rules of their Nazi camp and produced a secret, underground literary magazine called Vedem. They were imprisoned at Terezin in Czechoslovakia and while there, created 800 pages of drawings, paints, prose, poetry and pop art. The boys had a standard magazine structure with Petr Ginz serving as editor-in-chief, hiding unfinished issues of the magazine in a small shelf behind his bunk; Kurt Kotouc as the managing editor and cultural correspondent, reporting on theater shows and concerts the Germans allowed the residents of Terezin to hold; Sidney Taussig as the sportswriter and eventual correspondent covering the crematorium at Terezin; Hanus Hachenburg as the magazine’s poet laureate; Zdenek Ohrenstein, the magazine’s love poet; and George Brady and Leo Lowy as contributors. Ginz and Hachenburg both died at Auschwitz in 1944; the other five manged to survived the Holocaust. Vedem’s survival is mostly thanks to Taussig, who buried back issues in a metal box underground, returning after the war to dig them up and preserve them. This exhibit reconstructs the 800 pages into the format of a contemporary magazine.

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