Ovation’s Top 10 Art Exhibits Around the U.S. in 2019

December 09, 2019

Bertrand Guyon (French, born 1965) for House of Schiaparelli (French, founded 1927). Ensemble, fall/winter 2018–19 haute couture. Courtesy of Schiaparelli. Photo © Johnny Dufort, 2019. Part of the Met’s Camp: Notes on Fashion exhibition.

Art exhibits can be a divisive endeavor. Many people can scoff at the idea of stodgy art, but museums are making an effort to expand their palate. Picked by staff, these exhibits in 2019 have thrilled, delighted, challenged, and inspired people all over the country.

    1. By Their Creative Force: American Women Modernists (Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD)

      Georgia O’Keeffe . Pink Tulip. 1926. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Bequest of Mabel Garrison Siemonn, in Memory of her Husband, George Siemonn, BMA 1964.11.13.

      As part of the Baltimore Museum of Art’s initiative to present female-identifying artists, this exhibit highlights women artists who identify with art movements such as Cubism and Abstract Expressionism, timeless favorites like Georgia O’Keeffe, and underrecognized talents like Marguerite Zorach. The museum hopes to address race and gender diversity gaps within the museum field in their initiative.

    2. Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power (The Broad, Los Angeles) 

      Elizabeth Catlett, Black Unity (detail), 1968, Cedar, 21 in. × 12 1/2 in. × 23 in.

      A visit will transport you to two decades of work by black artists from 1963 through 1983. This internationally acclaimed exhibit powerfully showcases African American experiences during times of political unrest.

    3. Lost Vegas: Tim Burton (Neon Museum, Las Vegas)
      “Pirates” by Tim Burton at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas.

      Enter the strange and amazing mind of Tim Burton in this immersive space where you’ll recognize pieces inspired from some of his famous films, including Beetlejuice, Batman, and Edward Scissorhands. Take your pic[k], literally.

    4. Manet and Modern Beauty (Art Institute, Chicago and the Getty Museum, Los Angeles)

      Édouard Manet. Jeanne (Spring), 1881. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

      This walk down Manet’s career features the relatively untalked about pastels and watercolors the painter created in his later years. You’ll see his growth as an artist after he had already gained recognition and fame for his depictions of modern life.

    5. Early Rubens (Legion of Honor in San Francisco)

      Peter Paul Rubens, ‘The Dreaming Silenus,’ 1610–1612. Oil on canvas, 62 1/4 x 85 3/8 in. (158 x 217 cm). Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien

      Peter Paul Rubens is one of those influential 17th-century painters you must have learned about in your art history class. He was a master of religious iconography with a contemporary Tarantino sense of the macabre. It’s a rare treat when his work is shown on the West coast.

    6. Camp: Notes on Fashion (the Met in New York)
      The first Monday in May has always been fashion’s biggest night of the year as the Met Gala descends upon New York, so it’s no so surprise to see the Met make a statement this year. The theme is an homage to Susan Sontag’s essay Notes on Camp. Camp is a hard-to-define concept, because it means blending over-the-top and corny but for humorous effect. Some of the larger-than-life highlights from this year’s gala include Billy Porter as Egyptian royalty, Jared Leto carrying a replica of his face, and Katy Perry decked out as a working chandelier. The theme has definitely forced celebrities to think outside the box with their outfits.
    7. Verrocchio: Sculptor and Painter of Renaissance Florence (National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC)

      Andrea del Verrocchio, Madonna and Child, c. 1465/1470, tempera and oil on panel, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie

      This is the first monographic exhibit of the master Renaissance sculptor and painter in the U.S.! His pupils include Leonardo da Vinci and possibly Sandro Botticelli.

    8. Meow Wolf (Santa Fe, New Mexico) 

      An underwater neon forest.

      Although Meow Wolf has been around since 2008, the notoriety of this Santa Fe-based art exhibit and collective is picking up. It’s quite the experience: from giant robots to amazing light fixtures, the photos won’t do it justice. You’ll have to be there.

    9. Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature (Denver Art Museum in Denver, CO)

      Claude Monet, Waterlilies and Japanese Bridge, 1899. Oil on canvas; 35-5/8 x 35-5/16 in (90.5 x 89.7 cm). Princeton University Art Museum

      The museum is displaying over 120 of Monet’s paintings! That’s an incredible amount for one of the most celebrated French Impressionist painters. If you’re going to be in the Denver area, you have until February 2, 2020 to check it out.

    10. Take Me Out To The Ball Game: Popular Music And The National Pastime (Grammy Museum, Los Angeles)

      Special Edition Fender Guitar with Jackie Robinson

      Did you know that “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” didn’t become a 7th-inning staple song until the 70s? That’s among some of the many musical facts you’ll learn in this exhibition, perfect for any sports and music aficionado.