We told you in the spring that it was important to show up to the galleries and museums around the country, because so many exhibitions we highlighted featured work by women and people of color. This season is no less vital to our world today: Almost all of the following shows have incredibly important messages, take a political stance grounded in historical fact, and showcase perspectives that we don't often see. These shows will help us better understand each other, and ourselves.
Perhaps it's a rebellion against the current administration that the art world has curated more shows than ever to detail counter-perspectives (read: non-straight, non-white, non-male). But art has always had the potential to make people understand each other. Obviously, art can't change policies, but it can change minds, which will make unjust policies seem as outdated and discriminatory as they are.
Swipe through for the best museum and gallery openings coming this fall, all around the U.S.
Museum of Modern Art, Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts, on view from October 21-February 25
The notion of the truth is under attack, under this administration especially, and Nauman's work aims to show us that we need to stay vigilant instead of relying on "easy" answers.
New Museum, Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel, on view from September 28-January 20
Lucas takes the ordinary and makes it feel subversive—and even confrontational. This exhibition will bring together her most celebrated projects, spanning her entire career.
Transformer Station, In Her Image: Photographs by Rania Matar, on view from October 27-January 13
Matar’s portraiture aims to capture the similarities, rather than the differences, between girls and women in the U.S. and the Middle East.
Cleveland Museum of Art, Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern, on view from November 21-March 3
O’Keeffe’s personal life was just as interesting and unconventional as her artwork. Here, we see this for a fact, with displays of her work positioned alongside some of her garments and images of the artist, some on display for the first time.
Edelman Gallery, Michael Koerner: My DNA, on view from November 2-December 22
Koerner’s mother was 11 years old and living 45 miles away from the town of Nagasaki, Japan, when the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb in 1945. The fallout directly resulted in his mother’s early death, as well as the early deaths of his four brothers. The last remaining member of his family, he is exploring his own and their DNA through tintype.
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Enrico David: Gradations of Slow Release, on view from September 29-March 10
To say David is obsessed with the human form might be an understatement: His life’s work is devoted to depicting it in varied ways through many mediums. Many of them will be on display here.
Baltimore Museum of Art, Mark Bradford: Tomorrow Is Another Day, on view from September 22-March 3
We’re living in a highly materialistic society, but Bradford has found the community and the social nature of this, and uses recycled materials to shed light on a shared American experience.
Gardner Museum, Common Threads: Weaving Stories Across Time, on view from October 4-January 14
Many artists in residence will be shown together, each using textile art in a different way and through different mediums such as music, video, and participatory art.
ICA Boston, William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects, on view from October 31-February 21
Forsythe is an accomplished choreographer, and has also created “choreographic objects” in the form of installations, sculptures, and films, which will be available under one roof at the ICA—and yes, you’ll be encouraged to dance.
Walker Art Mario García Torres: Illusion Brought Me Here, on view from October 25-February 17
Torres’ work explores the subjectivity that is apparent in historical records and the limitations of memory which may lead to the mix-up of fact and fiction.
Soo Visual Arts Center, This is a Record by Christopher Selleck, on view from September 22-October 27
Selleck grew up as a closeted gay man in the 1980s and '90s, and his work draws on this experience to show the lack of representation of his community and the alternative ways of meeting (like cruising) that were created as a result.
MOCA GA, Far From Home: Stories of Refugee Girls, on view from September 22-October 20
Photography, video, and interactive installations dedicated to the young girls affected by global crises, and the efforts to help them.
High Museum, Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors, on view from November 18-February 17
Yes, these are the mirror rooms you’ve been seeing on social media for years. Now, you can witness them IRL, in this exhibition which also features Kusama’s work in other forms of media.
High Museum, With Drawn Arms: Genn Kaino and Tommie Smith, on view from September 29-February 3
Tommie Smith was a gold medal sprinter who raised a fist at the 1968 Summer Olympic Games to “protest abuse of human rights around the world and in response to the struggle for civil rights in the United States.” This exhibit documents his story and its impact.
New Orleans Museum of Art, Lina Iris Viktor: A Haven. A Hell. A Dream Deferred, on view from October 5-January 6
Viktor’s exhibit visualizes the myths and fantasies surrounding the history of the founding of Liberia and the role that the United States played in it.
Stove Works, Melt My Heart But Spare My Soul, on view from October 12-October 28
Communication isn't limited to words uttered from our mouths–motions, behaviors, and silence hold meaning in and of themselves. A group of artists' work was brought together to convey this fact.
Pérez Art Museum Miami, Ebony. G. Patterson…while the dew is still on the roses…, on view from November 9-May 5
Patterson’s work explores the use of “bling” and other forms of self-embellishment when used among young adults in disenfranchised communities, drawing inspiration from Jamaica, where she was raised, and global black youth culture.
David Castillo Gallery, Xaviera Simmons: Sundown, on view from September 20-November 17
This is a thoroughly researched historical account of systemic prejudices against black people in America, which has led to many communities remaining “sundown towns” where black Americans aren’t welcome after dark.
Nelson-Atkins, Solidarity: Alienation in Modern Life, on view from November 9-May 5
The subject of this exhibit came as a direct result of modernity—people moved to grimy cities where they knew no one to work factory jobs for many hours a day and were not able to see their loved ones or experience nature nearly as much. This exhibit depicts how modernity created a lonesome separation between individuals.
The Phillips Collection, Richard Tuttle: It Seems Like It’s Going To Be, on view from September 13-December 30
Tuttle has written a 41-verse poem, and a piece of art to accompany each line. The result is an immersive exhibition combining the written and the visual.
The Henry, Edgar Arcenaux: Library of Black Lies, on view from November 17-June 2
There are many sides to the truth, and sometimes what is widely believed to be true is not actually so clear-cut. Arcenaux’s work attempts to visualize that uncertainty.
Portland Art Museum, Poetic Imagination in Japanese Art, on view from October 13-January 13
Poetry is intrinsic to Japanese culture, and this exhibit will explore how it has meshed with the visuality of art throughout history.
Denver Art Museum, Dior, on view from November 19-March 3
Christian Dior was an art gallerist before he was a couturier, so it’s only fitting that his designs make their way back to the art world. "Dior" is an extensive look into the archive of the fashion house and the man who founded it.
Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Tara Donovan: Fieldwork, on view from September 22-January 27
Donovan turns mundane objects like rubber bands and Slinkys into intricate and mind-bending objects.
Phoenix Art Museum, ultracontemporary, on view from October 27-March 24
Fashion trends can act as a mirror to shifting cultural ethos, which will be examined in this exhibit. Among others, work by Gucci, Comme des Garçons, Yeohlee, and Iris van Herpen will be displayed.
516 Arts, Currency, on view from November 17-January 26
"Currency"takes a look at the ways in which money shapes what we value, and how that translates to art.
Hammer Museum, Hammer Projects: Shadi Habib Allah, on view from September 22-January 20
Allah's meticulously researched work details the daily realities of people living on government welfare, and the dependencies that come as a result.
De Young Museum Steve Kahn: The Hollywood Suites, on view from September 29-March 31
Kahn photographed bondage models in hotel rooms on Melrose Avenue throughout the 1970s before becoming drawn to the relatively mundane buildings and rooms instead. This exhibit shines an artistic eye onto these interiors and the feelings of containment that they brought.
Women and Their Work: Tammie Rubin, on view from November 17-January 10
This exhibit focuses on the Great Migration of African Americans, from the rural South to other areas of the United States from 1910 to 1970, placing the historical moment in conversation with Rubin's own experience. The result is simultaneously surreal, harrowing, and playful.