11 New Art Exhibits to See This Summer

From Edvard Munch to sonic arcades, these shows are worth putting on your calendar this season

Alexander Calder, "Five Rudders," 1964. Lent by the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University St. Louis. Gift of Mrs. Mark C. Steinberg, 1964. © 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY (Denver Botanic Gardens)

Now that summer is upon us and temperatures have been creeping up into the triple digits in some parts, there’s no better way to escape the heat than by spending a day wandering through a museum. This summer's art shows take visitors through history, under tree canopies and into audio soundscapes. Here are 11 new exhibitions opening this summer that are worth a visit.  

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art—Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed
(San Francisco; June 24, 2017—October 9, 2017)
Edvard Munch, "Ashes," 1925; oil on canvas; 54 15/16 x 78 3/4 in. (Courtesy the Munch Museum, Oslo)
Edvard Munch in his winter studio, 1938 (Courtesy the Munch Museum, Oslo)
Edvard Munch, "The Artist and His Model," 1919–21; oil on canvas; 47 7/16 x 78 3/4 in. (Courtesy the Munch Museum, Oslo)
Edvard Munch, "The Dance of Life," 1925; oil on canvas; 56 5/16 x 81 7/8 in. (Courtesy the Munch Museum, Oslo)

Many people are familiar with Edvard Munch thanks to his famous piece “The Scream.” Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed gives museumgoers an extensive look into the late Expressionist artist’s body of work, including 45 paintings of which seven will be on view in the United States for the first time. The collection focuses on a number of repeated themes Munch visited in his paintings, including love, attraction, sickness and mortality, and these topics are often displayed in his self-portraits. The exhibition is co-organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Munch Museum. 

Amon Carter Museum of American Art—The Polaroid Project: At the Intersection of Art and Technology
(Fort Worth, Texas; now—September 3, 2017)
"Charles Jourdan," 1978, by Guy Bourdin (1928-1991), C-Print on Fujiflex paper (The Guy Bourdin Estate 2017 / Courtesy of Louise Alexander Gallery)
"Pulls (CMY)," 1997, by Ellen Carey (b. 1952), Polaroid 20 x 24 (Ellen Carey, Courtesy of Jayne H. Baum Gallery (NY, NY) and M+B (LA, CA))
"Private Views," 1981, by Barbara Crane (b. 1928), Polaroid Polacolor 4x5 film Type 58 (Barbara Crane)
"Untitled," 1983–85 by David Levinthal (b. 1949), from the series "Modern Romance," Polaroid SX-70 (David Levinthal, 1987–1989, ARS, NY and DACS, London 2017)

Long before Snapchat, there was the Polaroid camera, a portable way to document memories without having to search for a solid Wi-Fi connection. In a celebratory nod to the second half of the 20th century, The Polaroid Project: At the Intersection of Art and Technology takes an in-depth look at the camera giant’s history through a collection of approximately 150 photographs by more than 100 artists, such as Barbara Kasten and Robert Mapplethorpe. Also on display: cameras, prototypes and items from Polaroid’s own archives.

Denver Botanic Gardens—Calder: Monumental
(Denver; now—September 24, 2017)
Alexander Calder, "The Crab," 1962. Painted steel, 120” x 240” x 120”. Lent by The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase, 62.11. © 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York (Denver Botanic Gardens)
Alexander Calder, "6 Dots over a Mountain," 1956. Lent by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution. © 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York (Denver Botanic Gardens)
Alexander Calder, "Untitled," 1976. Sheet metal, bolts, and paint, 214" x 80" x 150". Lent by the Calder Foundation, New York. © 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York (Denver Botanic Gardens)
Alexander Calder, "Five Rudders," 1964. Lent by the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University St. Louis. Gift of Mrs. Mark C. Steinberg, 1964. © 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY (Denver Botanic Gardens)

Bold, dynamic, engaging and energetic are just a few words used to describe the works of Alexander Calder, a 20th-century American sculptor who is credited for creating the first mobile. Calder: Monumental delves into the late artist’s abstract steel-plated designs, which critics and fans alike praise for their geometric shapes and curved lines that shift depending on the angle in which they’re viewed. For this exhibition, the Denver Botanic Garden has selected some of Calder’s most monumental pieces, which will stand in juxtaposition to the garden’s natural setting.

Detroit Institute of Arts—Art of Rebellion: Black Art of the Civil Rights Movement
(Detroit; July 23, 2017—October 22, 2017)
“The Fire Next Time,” 1968, Vincent Smith, oil paint and sand on canvas. (Courtesy Detroit Institute of Arts)
“City Limits,” 1969, Philip Guston, oil on canvas. Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of Musa Guston, 1991 (Courtesy Detroit Institute of Arts)
“Fadiouth Senegal,” 1972, Anthony Barboza, pigment print. (Courtesy Detroit Institute of Arts)
“Three Queens,” 1971, Wadsworth Jarrel, acrylic on canvas. (Courtesy Detroit Institute of Arts)

It’s been 50 years since the Detroit riots, and the Art of Rebellion: Black Art of the Civil Rights Movement commemorates this challenging time in the city’s history. This exhibition includes powerful artwork created by members of black artist collectives from places like Chicago and Harlem who were involved in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and ’70s, and it touches on topics such as the importance of inclusivity, the fight to eradicate misrepresentation, and racial justice.   

New Mexico Museum of Art—Lines of Thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to Now
(Santa Fe, New Mexico; now—September 17, 2017)
Rembrandt (Dutch, 1606-1669), "A Clump of Trees in a Fenced Enclosure," about 1645, black chalk. (The Trustees of the British Museum)
Julie Mehretu, "Untitled," 2002, pen and ink, and brush drawing on vellum and Mylar (The Trustees of the British Museum)
Giovanni Battista Piranesi, "Interior of a circular building," 1752–1760, pen and brown ink (The Trustees of the British Museum)
Melchior Lorck, "Tortoise and view of a walled, coastal town," 1555, charcoal, heightened with white on blue paper. (The Trustees of the British Museum)

The New Mexico Museum of Art has partnered with London’s famed British Museum for an exclusive collection of drawings that spans from the 15th century to today. Notable artists include the late Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso and Barbara Hepworth, along with living artists Bridget Riley and Rachel Whiteread. The combination of artists past and present emphasizes the continued importance of drawing during the creative process. Worth noting: The exhibition will be making only two stops in the United States, with a show this fall at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum in Providence.

Museum of Arts and Design—Sonic Arcade: Shaping Space with Sound
(New York City; August 22, 2017—February 11, 2018)
Arjen Noordeman and Christie Wright, "Horn Bracelet," 2010, porcelain and gold luster, 5 x 4 x 4 1/2 in. (12.7 x 10.2 x 11.4 cm), 3 in. diameter opening. Museum purchase with funds provided by the Collections Committee, 2011 (Courtesy Museum of Arts and Design)
Naama Tsabar, "Propagation (Opus 3)," 2015; wood, speakers, amplifiers, mixers, wires, cables, piano strings, bone, cable holders, contact microphones, brass, and sheet rock. 6.5 meters high x 6.8 meters wide. MARTE- Contemporary, El Salvador (Rodrigo Dada)
Studio PSK, "Polyphonic Playground" (Courtesy of Studio PSK)
Julianne Swartz, "Re-Sounding Vessels," 2017; blown glass, unglazed porcelain, electronics, and sound generated from the objects; dimensions variable (Chris Kendall)

Sonic Arcade: Shaping Space with Sound explores sound and how it plays a pivotal role in our daily lives. Using interactive installations, immersive environments and performing objects, this exhibition examines the transportation of sound through vehicles like electronic circuits and signals, radio waves and resonant bodies, and it gives viewers a chance to experience the unlimited potential of sound.

Cincinnati Art Museum—A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America
(Cincinnati; June 10, 2017—September 3, 2017)
Unidentified artist, United States, "Box," 1800–20, white pine, paint and iron, 11 x 16 3/8 x 9 ¼ in. (28 x 41.6 x 23.5 cm) (Courtesy of the Barbara L. Gordon Collection )
Unidentified artist, United States, "Chest over Drawers," 1803, tulip poplar, brass, iron, and paint, 27 x 50 x 22 ½ in. (68.5 x 127 x 57.1 cm) (Courtesy of the Barbara L. Gordon Collection)
Attributed to the "Record Book Artist," United States, "Laing Family Record Book," circa 1804, ink and watercolor on wove paper, 8 x 13 in. (20.3 x 33 cm) (Courtesy of the Barbara L. Gordon Collection)
Unidentified artist, "Still Life with Basket of Fruit," United States, 1830–50, oil on canvas, 24 ¼ x 29 ½ in. (50.2 x 42.2 cm) (Courtesy of the Barbara L. Gordon Collection)

While many artists are classically trained in their medium of choice, some forego schooling and learn the craft on their own. A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America showcases the work of these self-taught or minimally trained artists by featuring 60 artworks created between 1800 and 1925. The collection includes portrait and still life paintings, sculptures and signs, many of which were created during times of political and social turmoil as the United States continued to develop as a nation.  

Worcester Art Museum—Reusable Universes: Shih Chieh Huang
(Worcester, Mass.; June 24, 2017—November 12, 2017)
Shih Chieh Huang, "T-24-L," 2017; mixed media, courtesy of the artist and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York (Megan Paetzhold)
Shih Chieh Huang, "T-24-L," 2017; mixed media, courtesy of the artist and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York (Megan Paetzhold)
Shih Chieh Huang, "VT-34-BTB (blue angel eye)," 2017; 12 x 13 x 3 feet, mixed media; courtesy of the artist and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York (Megan Paetzhold)
Shih Chieh Huang, "VT-36," 2017, 10 x 10 x 12 feet, mixed media; courtesy of the artist and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York (Megan Paetzhold)

Technology is artist Shih Chieh Huang’s medium of choice, taking high-tech items such as circuit boards, wires and computer hardware and morphing them into colorful and engaging pieces of art in a way that causes users to consider modernity in a new way. For Reusable Universes, the Taiwanese artist plans to create his most ambitious design to date, incorporating more than 100 elements into his sculpture. For Organic Concept, he will build a performance piece using painter’s plastic and box fans in front of an audience in the museum’s lobby on July 20.

Booth Western Art Museum—Creating Camelot: The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe
(Cartersville, Georgia; now—August 27, 2017)
Caroline and Jacqueline Painting (Courtesy Estate of Jacques Lowe)
First Photo Session (Courtesy Estate of Jacques Lowe)
Omaha Profile (Courtesy Estate of Jacques Lowe)
Oregon Diner (Courtesy Estate of Jacques Lowe)

For years, Jacques Lowe served as President John F. Kennedy’s personal photographer, giving him behind-the-scenes access to the First Family. For this photographic exhibition, which is in conjunction with the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and the Jacques Lowe Estate, expect to see a selection of the more than 43,000 photos Lowe shot over the years. Most of Lowe’s negatives and photos were destroyed during the September 11 attacks as they were stored in Building Five of the World Trade Center, except for ten negatives that were out on loan at the time. Luckily, Lowe kept a portion of his contact sheets and prints in another building, some of which are on display.

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation—House Industries: A Type of Learning
(Dearborn, Michigan; now—September 4, 2017)
A look at House Industries' work with screen printing inside the "A Type of Learning" exhibit (KMS Photography)
An example of typefaces created by House Industries (KMS Photography)
Additional examples of House Industries' work (KMS Photography)
This Ed Roth Mysterion replica was source of inspiration for House Industries. (KMS Photography)

Fonts are all around us. From books to billboards to what we see on our computer screens, fonts are a form of communication and are often the first thing we associate with a brand. House Industries: A Type of Learning celebrates the spirit of innovation and focuses on House Industries, a group of designers known for creating fonts for brands like Hermès, Muji and Uniqlo, as well as numerous album covers, magazine covers and even cereal boxes.

Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden—Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn and Summer of Yoko Ono

(Washington, D.C.; June 28, 2017-January 1, 2018 and June 17, 2017-September 17, 2017, respectively)

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014. Installation view on Alcatraz Island, San Francisco. (Ai Weiwei Studio)
Portrait of Ai Weiwei. (Ai Weiwei Studio)

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has two major exhibitions planned for this summer. The first, "Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn," features "Trace," a grand-scale installation originally displayed at Alcatraz Island in San Francisco that features 176 portraits created using Lego bricks that depict individuals who Weiwei feels deserve recognition for their work on human rights. The piece also plays homage to Weiwei's own experience as a detainee. The artist was held by the Chinese government for 81 days in 2011. The show will also feature new 360-degree installation entitled The Plain Version of the Animal That Looks Like a Llama but Is Really an Alpaca. The work, which appears at first to be ordinary decorative wallpaper, hides symbols of suppression and subterfuge: surveillance cameras, handcuffs and Twitter bird logos​.

Also opening is "Summer of Yoko Ono," which celebrates the ten-year anniversary of the artist's "Wish Tree for Washington, D.C.," a interactive display where visitors can add wishes in writing. Joining this popular work will be "My Mommy Is Beautiful," a 40-foot installation where viewers can post photos of their own mothers or express a memory in writing by pinning it to a canvassed wall, and "Sky TV for Washington, D.C.," a video installation that records the sky outside by airing a 24/7 live feed.  

About Jennifer Nalewicki

Jennifer Nalewicki is a Brooklyn-based journalist. Her articles have been published in The New York Times, Scientific American, Popular Mechanics, United Hemispheres and more. You can find more of her work at her website.

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