The best exhibitions and openings of 2024: North America (Exhibitions)

It’s an exciting year for art lovers — from Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz’s world-class collection of contemporary art to the world’s first exhibition exploring Matisse and the sea — there’s something for everyone

Abraham Ángel: Between Wonder and Seduction

Dallas Museum of Art
Through 28 January 2024

Praised as one of the leading artists of his generation, Abraham Ángel produced just 24 paintings — four of which remain lost — before his tragic death at 19 years old, but those works established him as a legendary figure in the canon of modern Mexican art. Following Ángel’s death, the giant of Mexican modernism Diego Rivera said, ‘There was nothing in the life of this young man that was not beautiful, and his painting was his life.’

Abraham Ángel, Self-Portrait / Autorretrato, 1923. Oil on cardboard. 31 ⅞ x 28 ¼ in. Museo Nacional de Arte. INBAL / Secretaría de Cultura, Mexico City.

This is the first major survey of Ángel’s work in more than 35 years and the first dedicated showing of his paintings in the United States. The exhibition will spotlight the unique style the artist cultivated during his brief three-year career, capturing the rapidly changing society and culture of Mexico City in the 1920s. Organised thematically, his paintings are shown alongside a selection of works by his contemporaries, including his mentors Adolfo Best Maugard and Manuel Rodríguez Lozano, contextualising his artistic practice within the broader practice of Mexican modernism.

It will be showing at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City from March 14 through June.

Walasse Ting: Parrot Jungle  

NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale 
Through 10 March 2024 

Walasse Ting was a Chinese-American artist known for his neon-soaked paintings of erotic nudes, flora, fauna and a menagerie of cats and parrots. He bridged the worlds of ancient Chinese aesthetics, European Abstract Expressionism and American Pop Art.

His first monographic museum show, Parrot Jungle immerses viewers in Ting’s luminous world and establishes a biographic narrative of his diasporic life. It highlights his special relationship with South Florida, showing how it inspired multiple signature motifs — for example, the wildlife park Parrot Jungle engendered the parrots flying through his oeuvre.

Walasse Ting, My World, 1985. Acrylic and Chinese ink on rice paper mounted on canvas. The Estate of Walasse Ting. Photo by Jeffrey Sturges.

The show is in dialogue with the Museum’s Cobra Collection, which includes essential works by Ting and is the largest holding of artworks created by affiliates of the post-war movement known as CoBrA — an acronym for the founding artists’ native cities: Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam — within the United States. The Cobra artists stood for freedom, spontaneity, collaboration, interdisciplinary practice and ceaseless experimentation. These values resonated with Ting and he held lifelong friendships with other key Cobra figures.

The show is accompanied by the publication of a major book which reflects on the greater narrative of Ting’s abundant oeuvre.

Presence: The Photography Collection of Judy Glickman Lauder

Norton Museum, Palm Beach 
Through 10 March 2024 

Artist and philanthropist Judy Glickman Lauder grew up posing for her father, Irving Bennett Ellis, as he took black and white photographs of her. The series of portraits eventually became Kodak’s original ‘Turn Around’ 1960s television commercial, and Lauder soon after discovered her own lifelong love of the medium. She is now one of the top collectors of black and white photography and her collection numbers more than 650 prints spanning photojournalism, portraiture, Pictorialism and images related to social justice.

Roland Barthes famously described photographs as ‘certificates of presence’ and this exhibition explores that idea through a selection of 110 photographs from Lauder’s collection. The selection is divided into four sections related to the concept of presence: Portraits, Admiration and Delight; Expressions of Place; Specters of History; and Politics, Labour and Justice.

Melonie Bennett (American, born 1969). Suzie, Bahama Beach Club, Portland, Maine, 1996. Gelatin silver print. 16 x 20 in (40.6 x 50.8 cm). Framed: 22 ⅞ x 28 ⅞ x 1 ¼ in (58.1 x 73.3 x 3.2 cm). Portland Museum of Art, Maine, promised gift from the Judy Glickman Lauder Collection.

The exhibition unites some of the most influential photographers of the 20th century across movements, from Pictorialism and social documentary photography to Surrealism and street photography. Artists like Merry Alpern, Richard Avedon, Irving Bennett Ellis, Dorothea Lange, Alma Lavenson, Danny Lyon and Gordon Parks come together to create pictorial conversations across space and time, and prompt us to immerse ourselves in our every moment and shared humanity.

This exhibited selection of photographs is a promised gift to the Portland Museum of Art.

Calder: In Motion, The Shirley Family Collection

Seattle Art Museum  
Through 4 August 2024 

American artist Alexander Calder’s revolutionary hanging sculptures had a profound effect on the development of modern sculpture. Masterpieces of abstraction, they were the first works of Kinetic Art. Together with his printmaking, painting, drawing and non-moving ‘stabile’ sculptures, Calder’s mobiles form a body of work now considered one of the most significant in 20th century art. With the Calder Gardens opening at the end of 2024, this is set to be a banner year for the artist.

Alexander Calder, 1898-1976, Red Curly Tail, 1970. Sheet metal, rod, bolts, and paint, 192 x 275 x 144 in. Promised gift of Jon and Mary Shirley. 2023 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Nicholas Shirley.

The Shirley Family collection — the result of 35 years of thoughtful collecting — is one of the world’s most important private holdings of Calder’s work, and Jon and Kim Shirley donated it all to the Seattle Art Museum in spring 2023. In Motion reflects the depth and breadth of the collection in a non-chronological narrative, tracing Calder’s career from the 1920s through the 1970s and highlighting his most important themes, styles and materials.

The exhibition showcases some of his most notable stabiles, like GammaBougainvillier, and Toile d’araignée, amongst dynamic abstract mobiles, a constellation, paintings, illustrations and prints.

Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight

Oklahoma City Museum of Art 
Through 28 April 2024 

Preston Singletary’s work fuses glassblowing traditions with Pacific Northwest Indigenous art to honour his ancestral Tlingit heritage, a tribe in southern Alaska. His work has become synonymous with the relationship between Tlingit culture and fine art.

Drawing upon the Tlingit oral tradition of pairing objects with foundational stories and histories of tribal families, his sculptures deal with themes of Tlingit mythology and traditional designs, and he frequently incorporates music to shape the contemporary perspective of Native culture.

Preston Singletary (American Tlingit, born 1963), Gagaan Awutáawu Yéil (Raven Steals the Sun), 2008. Blown, hot-sculpted, and sand-carved glass. 9 ½ x 26 x 9 ½ in. Collection of Museum of Glass, Tacoma, gift of the artist. Photo by Russell Johnson.

In Raven and the Box of Daylight he combines dozens of his glass sculptures with original music, coastal Pacific Northwest soundscapes and video, to tell the story of Tlingit origin story of Raven, a creator figure in Northwest Coast Native American culture, who was the giver of the stars, moon and sun. The overall effect is a theatrical, multi-sensory experience.

Radical Clay: Contemporary Women Artists from Japan

Art Institute of Chicago 
Through 3 June 2024 

Women have made significant contributions to the contemporary ceramics field in Japan, but historically they have received little recognition. Radical Clay is putting these ceramicists at the fore and honouring their role in the country’s explosion of innovative and technically ambitious compositions. It showcases 40 works by 36 emerging and established women artists who have been driving Japan’s ceramics movement forward since 1970, featuring Mishima Kimiyo, Tsuboi Asuka, Ogawa Machiko, Konno Tomoko, Aoki Katsuyo and Oishi Sayaka.

‘This show brings together artists on the cutting edge of invention in terms of materials, glaze, and technique, and we are thrilled to recognise their contributions to the global ceramics field’, said Janice Katz, Roger L. Weston Associate Curator of Japanese Art, the Art Institute of Chicago.

Tsuboi Asuka 坪井明日香, Chinese-Brocade Ancient Skirt (唐織 裳), 2017. Carol & Jeffrey Horvitz Collection of Contemporary Japanese Ceramics.

These artists span several generations, but they have all confronted expectations about their practice by refusing gender-imposed constraints, whether by approaching traditionally ‘feminine’ subjects — like flowers — in unconventional ways, or by creating so-called ‘masculine’ works, like large, geological forms. This is the first exhibition to position them all together to highlight their collective impact.

All the selected pieces are generously loaned from the collection of Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz.

Giants: Art from the Dean Collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys

Brooklyn Museum, New York 
10 February to 7 July 2024 

Grammy-winning singer Alicia Keys and Grammy-winning rapper and producer Kasseem Dean, known as Swizz Beatz, have spent years building a world-class art collection together that champions the work of Black artists.

The first major exhibition of the Dean Collection, Giants will showcase a selection of works from the couple’s collection by approximately 40 artists, including Arthur JavaJean-Michel Basquiat, Lorna Simpson and Nina Chanel Abney.

Ebony G. Patterson (born Kingston, Jamaica, 1981). . . . they were just hanging out . . . you know . . . talking about . . . ( . . . when they grow up . . .), 2016. Beads, appliqués, fabric, glitter, buttons, costume jewelry, trimming, rhinestones, glue, digital prints, 90 × 224 in (228.6 × 569 cm). The Dean Collection, courtesy of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys. © Ebony G. Patterson. Courtesy of the artist, Monique Meloche Gallery, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. Photo: Adam Reich.

Giants will include physically immense pieces — including the largest ever by Meleko Mokgosi — as well as historically monumental works like Gordon Parks’ seminal photographs, Kehinde Wiley’s revolutionary portraits and Esther Mahlangu’s canvases.

The native New Yorkers have long been passionate about supporting Black creatives and Swizz Beatz has established a robust reputation as hip hop’s foremost art collector — he even advised Sean Combs on purchasing a Kerry James Marshall.

Matisse and the Sea

Saint Louis Art Museum  
17 February to 12 May 2024

French Modernist Henri Matisse is a totem of 20th century art — as one of the great Colourists he has been the subject of over 600 exhibitions across the globe — but this is the first exhibition to examine the significance of the sea across his career.

As Simon Kelly, the Saint Louis Art Museum’s curator of modern and contemporary art, says, ‘Matisse loved the sea — its colour, its light, its movement — it was the catalyst for some of the most important work in his career.’

Henri Matisse, 1869-1954, Bathers with a Turtle, 1907–08. Oil on canvas. 71 ½ x 87 in (181.6 x 221 cm); Saint Louis Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Pulitzer Jr. 24: 1964. 2024 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Matisse travelled extensively, working from coastal locations in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Pacific, and he frequently went to islands and seaside resorts in search of new inspiration. This exhibition charts this evolving fascination — early on we see him focusing on panoramic views, with his landscapes of the Mediterranean coast, but by the end of his career his late cut-outs reveal his interest in recreating life beneath the waves — a desire to create an otherworldly oceanic paradise teeming with fish life, coral and algae.

The show includes approximately 65 works in a range of media including paintings, sculptures, paper cut-outs, drawings, prints, ceramics and textiles.

The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York  
25 February to 28 July 2024

Through 160 works of painting, sculpture, photography, film and ephemera, The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism will explore how Black artists portrayed everyday modern life in the new Black cities and New York City’s Harlem during the early decades of the Great Migration (1920s-40s) when millions of African Americans began to move away from the segregated rural South.

Archibald J. Motley, Jr. (1891–1981), The Picnic, 1936. Oil on canvas. 30 x 36 in (76.2 x 91.4 cm). Howard University Gallery of Art. Estate of Archibald John Motley Jr. All reserved rights 2023 / Bridgeman Images.

The first art museum survey of the subject in New York City since 1987, the exhibition will establish the Harlem Renaissance and its radically new development of the modern Black subject as central to the development of international modern art.

Works by notable Harlem Renaissance artists like Aaron Douglas, Charles Alston, Augusta Savage and Laura Wheeler Waring will be shown in juxtaposition with portrayals of African diasporan subjects by European counterparts, including Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Germaine Casse.

Many of these works are loaned from the collections of Historically Black Colleges and Universities — including Clark Atlanta University Art Museum and Howard University Gallery of Art — who did the important early work of archiving and preserving key works of art and artefacts of this movement and recognising its historical significance.

Sagebrush and Solitude: Maynard Dixon in Nevada

Nevada Museum of Art 
2 March to 28 July 2024 

Maynard Dixon remains one of the most famous painters of the American West. From his first Nevada sketching trip with Edward Borein in 1901 to his month-long commission documenting the construction of the Boulder Dam in Las Vegas in 1934, he made frequent trips from San Francisco to sketch and paint Nevada’s open spaces and developing landscape in the face of a changing economy and world. This is the first comprehensive exhibition to document these visits — it features nearly 150 of Dixon’s paintings of the Sierra Nevada region and Great Basin, many of them rarely or never seen before.

Maynard Dixon, Mountains in Sunset Light, 1927. Oil on canvas board. 25 ¼ x 30 ¼ inches. Michael J. and Kathleen A. Boyce, Boyce Family Trust.

Old homesteads, wild horses and stands of cottonwood trees are recurring subjects — images that conjure memories of a romanticised bygone era before modernisation forever changed Nevada’s pristine landscapes. Historian Kevin Starr noted that a driving impulse for Dixon was ‘a sense of imminent loss’ of the geography, history, folklore and culture of the Old West, and that he sought to record it before it vanished.

The show is accompanied by the publication of a major book co-published by Rizzoli and Electra in New York and the Nevada Museum of Art.

Damien Hirst: To Live Forever (For A While)

Museo Jumex, Mexico City 
23 March to 25 August 2024 

Since emerging onto the international art scene in the late 1980s, British artist Damien Hirst’s provocative work has continued to push the boundaries of what art can be, and he remains a totemic figure in the contemporary art market. Since buying his house in the beach town Troncones in 2008, he has spent a significant amount of time in Mexico and said that he identifies with the directness of Mexican art traditions — ‘I came to Mexico and I thought [my work] really fits here.’

Damien Hirst, Spot Painting, 1986. Household gloss on board. 96 x 144 in (2438 x 3658 mm). Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd© Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS/Artimage 2023.

This museum-wide exhibition celebrating Hirst’s oeuvre will be the artist’s first museum exhibition in Mexico and the centrepiece of Museo Jumex’s 10th anniversary celebration. The result of more than two years of close collaboration between the artist and leading curator Ann Gallagher, the show provides a comprehensive overview of his work between 1986 and 2019, featuring around 60 works including installations, sculptures and paintings. It features some of Hirst’s most iconic series including Natural History, Spin Paintings, Medicine Cabinets, Cherry Blossoms and his spot and butterfly paintings.

Discussing the exhibition, Hirst says, ‘Mexico has always been an inspiration for me, a second home. I love the incredible culture here — the Day of the Dead and the butterflies in Michoacán. A lot of people say my work is about death but it’s not, it’s about life and death is simply a part of life.’

Mary Cassatt at Work

Philadelphia Museum of Art  
18 May to 8 September 2024 

Mary Cassatt was born within the circle of Pennsylvania’s elite and by the end of her life, she was a celebrated member of the French Impressionists in Paris. In her drawings, paintings and pastels she portrayed women not as passive subjects but as active participants in social, intellectual and working life. Illuminating the nuances and toils of traditionally feminine forms of labour — sewing, caregiving and embroidering — she proclaimed them worthy of the serious work of artmaking and respect. With the stroke of her paintbrush, she struck out the derogatory tones shrouding ‘woman’s work’.

Mary Stevenson Cassatt, Family Group Reading, 1968. Oil on canvas. 22 ⁷/16 x 44 ⅜ in (57 x 112.7 cm). Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. Watson Webb, 1942.

Mary Cassatt at Work, the first major showing of the artist’s oeuvre since 1998-99, will examine Cassatt’s engagement with the realities of gender and labour for the first time, through 130 works that mark the trajectory of her evolving practice.


This article was originally published via Christie’s Website

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