David Bowie Is The Star Attraction Among Six Major American Museum Exhibits In May 2018

Mary AltafferAP Images

As the spring weather continues to improve, it is time to pay a visit to one of America’s outstanding museums. This year’s springtime offerings will appeal to art and culture lovers from every generation, with exhibits that include rock superstars, 1960’s counterculture, the world wide web, impressionist art, America’s “Mona Lisa,” and 19th century Hudson River School paintings.

1.) Our first exhibit takes us to the Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, New York. The exhibition, titled “David Bowie is,” offers visitors an insight into the creative genius of one of the modern world’s greatest stars. Bowie was a musician, songwriter, fashion icon, and actor who rose to worldwide critical acclaim. As one of the most influential exponents of popular culture in a career that spanned five decades, Bowie remained true to his roots and his craft while constantly re-inventing his public persona.

A quilted two-piece suit worn for 'Starman' performance designed by Freddie Burretti.Featured image credit: Mary AltafferAP Images

“‘David Bowie is‘ presents approximately 400 objects drawn primarily from the David Bowie Archive, including the artist’s original costumes, handwritten lyric sheets from famous songs, original album art, photographs, and videos, all tracing Bowie’s creative process from his teenage years in England through his last twenty years, when he resided in New York City. The archive is presented within an immersive, multimedia installation that includes continuous audio along with projected animation and video.”

“David Bowie is” runs through July 15, 2018.

2.) The Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers visitors a tantalizing glimpse into the 1960’s influence on art and culture with “Design in Revolution: A 1960s Odyssey.” Visitors will be able to view paintings and sculpture, vintage rock posters, album art, fashion, household objects and furniture, photographs from the decade, and artifacts from the anti-war and civil rights movements – all gathered from the museum’s collections.

Roy Lichtenstein's 'Little Big Painting.' Featured image credit: Manuel Balce CenetaAP Images

From Pop Art and psychedelia to the civil rights and anti-war movements, the 1960s was a decade of liberation—and of great loss. See how designers, artists, and architects responded to the tumultuous period that still looms large in the American imagination. Highlights include the Museum’s surprising collection of vintage rock ‘n’ roll posters and a series of powerful images of Martin Luther King Jr.

“Design in Revolution: A 1960s Odyssey” runs through September 9, 2018.

3.) Our museum tour returns to New York City, where we visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art for “Thomas Cole’s Journey,” a breathtaking exhibition of landscape paintings by the renowned Hudson River School painter. Cole’s glorious paintings are exhibited alongside the works of the European masters he encountered on his journey, including J. M. W. Turner and John Constable.

Landscape by Thomas Cole titled 'The Oxbow.'Featured image credit: Public DomainWikimedia Commons - Cropped and resized

Celebrated as one of America’s preeminent landscape painters, Thomas Cole (1801–1848) was born in northern England at the start of the Industrial Revolution, immigrated to the United States in his youth, and traveled extensively throughout England and Italy as a young artist. He returned to America to create some of his most ambitious works and inspire a new generation of American painters. This exhibition examines for the first time the artist’s career in relation to his European roots and travels, establishing Cole as a major figure in nineteenth-century landscape art within a global context.”

“Thomas Cole’s Journey” runs through May 13, 2018.

4.) We leave New York City to visit the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Massachusetts. Visitors to the museum will be able to gain an in-depth understanding of the influence of the internet on contemporary art, culture, and life. “Art In The Age Of The Internet, 1989 To Today” offers a multi-media exhibition that clearly illustrates the give and take between technology and the creative process.

Korean-born artist Nam June Paik sits in front of his installation 'Global Groove 2004.'Featured image credit: Markus SchreiberAP Images

“‘Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today‘ examines how the internet has radically changed the field of art, especially in its production, distribution, and reception. The exhibition comprises a broad range of works across a variety of mediums—including painting, performance, photography, sculpture, video, and web-based projects—that all investigate the extensive effects of the internet on artistic practice and contemporary culture. Themes explored in the exhibition include emergent ideas of the body and notions of human enhancement; the internet as a site of both surveillance and resistance; the circulation and control of images and information; possibilities for new subjectivities, communities, and virtual worlds; and new economies of visibility initiated by social media.”

“Art In The Age Of The Internet, 1989 To Today” runs through May 20, 2018.

5.) Our fifth exhibition takes us to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City for “Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables.” Wood’s most famous painting, “American Gothic,” is known throughout the world as “The American Mona Lisa.” This indelible image, now considered one of the world’s most iconic portraits alongside Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” is just one example of Wood’s substantial output of work on display in this important and revealing exhibit.

'American Gothic' by Grant Wood.Featured image credit: Public domainWikimedia Commons - Cropped and resized

Grant Wood’s ‘American Gothic’—the double portrait of a pitchfork-wielding farmer and a woman commonly presumed to be his wife—is perhaps the most recognizable painting in 20th century American art, an indelible icon of Americana, and certainly Wood’s most famous artwork. But Wood’s career consists of far more than one single painting. ‘Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables’ brings together the full range of his art, from his early Arts and Crafts decorative objects and Impressionist oils through his mature paintings, murals, and book illustrations. The exhibition reveals a complex, sophisticated artist whose image as a farmer-painter was as mythical as the fables he depicted in his art. Wood sought pictorially to fashion a world of harmony and prosperity that would answer America’s need for reassurance at a time of economic and social upheaval occasioned by the Depression. Yet underneath its bucolic exterior, his art reflects the anxiety of being an artist and a deeply repressed homosexual in the Midwest in the 1930s. By depicting his subconscious anxieties through populist images of rural America, Wood crafted images that speak both to American identity and to the estrangement and isolation of modern life.”

“Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables” runs through Jun 10, 2018.

6.) Our final exhibit for May 2018 takes us to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., for “Cézanne Portraits.” This groundbreaking display of 60 of the artist’s portraits was gathered from collections and museums across the globe. Among the many museums which generously offered paintings for this show, the Art Institute of Chicago provided “Madame Cézanne in a Yellow Chair” and Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek museum of Copenhagen loaned “Self Portrait in a Bowler Hat.

'Boy in the Red Vest' by Paul Cézanne.Featured image credit: Public domainWikimedia Commons - Cropped and resized

‘Cézanne Portraits’ is the first exhibition devoted to the famed post-impressionist’s portraits from across his career. The exhibition explores the unconventional aspects of his portraiture, the role his portraits play in the development of his radical style and method, and the range and influence of his sitters. Rather than accepting commissions for portraits, Cézanne painted them as part of his ongoing experimentation as he searched for a pictorial language to capture his intense perceptions of the world. He rarely painted people he did not know; instead he portrayed himself, his family, his friends, art-world admirers, and working-class inhabitants of his native Aix-en-Provence with whom he felt an affinity.”

“Cézanne Portraits” runs through July 1, 2018.

The six exhibitions chosen for our May 2018 review represent only a small selection of the wonderful works of art and culture available in American museums, as well as in other fine museums across the globe. Take the time to visit the museums and galleries in your hometown, and when you travel, be sure to give yourself enough time to include art galleries and museums in your itinerary. Nothing brightens up one’s day and stimulates the mind like a visit to a great museum.