Clockwise from Top Left Faith Ringgold (b. 1930), The American People Series #18 The Flag is Bleeding, 1967. Oil on canvas. 73 ½ x 97 ⅝ in (186.7 x 247.9 cm). National Gallery of

The best exhibitions and openings of 2022 — North America

Highlighting a diverse range of artists and designers, these North American exhibitions are not to be missed

In collaboration with The Phoebus Foundation, this exhibition introduces American audiences to the Belgium-based foundation’s comprehensive 15th- to 17th-century Flemish art collection for the first time. Among the sculptures, objects, and paintings featured are works by Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Jordaens, and Anthony van Dyck. Selections reflect how the Southern Netherlands was rapidly changing during these three crucial centuries, and parallels can be drawn to today.

Jan Massys  (1509-1575), Rebus The World Feeds Many Fools, c. 1530. Oil paint on panel. 20¼ × 24⅜ in. ©The Phoebus Foundation, Antwerp
Jan Massys (1509-1575), Rebus: The World Feeds Many Fools, c. 1530. Oil paint on panel. 20¼ × 24⅜ in. ©The Phoebus Foundation, Antwerp

Organised in six sections, the beginning of the exhibition charts the shift from an emphasis on devotional imagery to a rise in portraiture celebrating the sitters’ wealth and social status. The following sections address whimsical, sarcastic, and humorous scenes meant to shine a light on greed, lust, and other follies of human life; the discovery of the wider world and the influence of nature; and the historic background of the Eighty Years War (1568-1648), the conflict between the Netherlands and Spain. The final section recrates a wunderkammer, a room of wonders, with rare animals, gems, antiquities, and more curiosities.

Organised by the New Museum, New York, where it debuted this spring, this exhibition is the first retrospective of American artist Faith Ringgold on the West Coast. Bringing together more than 50 years of work that bears witness to the complexity of the American experience, the show features a variety of objects, from her Civil Rights movement paintings and soft sculptures to performance objects and ephemera. Among the highlights are the artist’s experimental story quilts that convey the urgency of the political and social changes taking place in America throughout her life, and challenge accepted hierarchies of art and craft.

Faith Ringgold (b. 1930), The American People Series #18 The Flag is Bleeding, 1967. Oil on canvas. 73 ½ x 97 ⅝ in (186.7 x 247.9 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Gift of Glenstone Foundation and Patrons Permanent Fund, 2021.28.1
Faith Ringgold (b. 1930), The American People Series #18: The Flag is Bleeding, 1967. Oil on canvas. 73 ½ x 97 ⅝ in (186.7 x 247.9 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Gift of Glenstone Foundation and Patrons' Permanent Fund, 2021.28.1

Also included are works across Ringgold’s best-known series, such as American People and Black Light, which captured the tumultuous events of the 1960s, as well as the artist’s Feminism Series, consisting of evocative landscapes painted with the words of important Black women from history. Long overdue, this retrospective provides a timely opportunity to engage with the art of an American icon.

In the 19th- and early 20th-centuries, France was a popular and influential destination for artists to come and perfect their craft. France had a thriving art infrastructure, with plentiful opportunities to study at official academies, private schools, and with individual mentor artists. James Abbott McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent, and Mary Cassatt were among the first influential wave of artists who went to Paris for inspiration.

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), Mother and Child, c. 1889. Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio. John J. Emery FundBridgeman Images. Courtesy of the VMFA
Mary Cassatt (1844-1926), Mother and Child, c. 1889. Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio. John J. Emery Fund/Bridgeman Images. Courtesy of the VMFA

This thematically organized exhibition highlights the French styles that American painters adopted, championed, and borrowed, as well as the contexts for their development. The art included shows a clear artistic lineage and was predominantly painted during these artists' tenures in France.

Whistler to Cassatt was first presented at the Denver Art Museum and features masterworks from collections around the U.S. and Europe, such as the National Gallery in Washington D.C. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

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  • Cezanne 15 May-5 September 2022
    Art Institute of Chicago

Paul Cézanne's art practice made him one of the most enduring and influential modern artists. He focused on rendering sensations, creating works that spoke to or even recreated experiences for the viewer and artist alike.

His approach to art made him a favorite of many other artists, both during his life and beyond. Pablo Picasso even called him ‘the greatest of us all’. This retrospective considers Cézanne's work alongside analyses of his practice from art historians, conservators, and contemporary practicing artists.

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), Auvers, Panoramic View, 1873-75. Courtesy of the AIC
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), Auvers, Panoramic View, 1873-75. Courtesy of the AIC

Cézanne is the first major retrospective celebrating the artist's work in more than 25 years. It includes some of his most iconic and well-known art while bringing together other, more rarely seen works from public and private collections all over the world. The show was co-organized by the Art Institute of Chicago and Tate Modern, London.

Meret Oppenheim’s witty, unconventional artworks span countless media and themes but are all tied together by the strength and whimsy of her artistic convictions. Oppenheim first achieved international acclaim in 1936 when she was only 23 for her Surrealist work Object, a fur-lined teacup, spoon, and saucer.

Meret Oppenheim (1913-1985), Ma gouvernante—My Nurse—Mein Kindermadchen, 1936-1967. Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Copyrighted Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Pro Litteris, Zurich. Courtesy of the Menil Collection
Meret Oppenheim (1913-1985), Ma gouvernante—My Nurse—Mein Kindermadchen, 1936-1967. Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Copyrighted Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ Pro Litteris, Zurich. Courtesy of the Menil Collection

The objects and paintings she made in this period defy logic while still having profound sensory impacts on the body. Many use unconventional materials to evoke other visceral and playful images, such as her work My Nurse, consisting of a pair of white high-heeled shoes bound together on a silver platter. Oppenheim worked with many themes across her long career.

This chronological exhibition follows her in the wake of World War II, as she experimented with other artistic movements and styles. Meret Oppenheim: My Exhibition is co-organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Kunstmuseum Bern, where it will travel after its time at the Menil.

This two-part exhibition spotlights one of the world’s most influential living multidisciplinary artists and creative minds, celebrated worldwide for his provocative and experimental pursuit of material, as well as his technological and social innovation. Supported by the Italian Council, a program of the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Culture to promote Italian contemporary art across the globe, the exhibition features a display of furniture, drawings, and sculptures, including new works made specifically for this occasion, as well as a monumental site-specific installation covering the façade of the museum.

Gaetano Pesce (b. 1932), My Dear Mountains, Aspen Art Museum, 2022
Gaetano Pesce (b. 1932), My Dear Mountains, Aspen Art Museum, 2022

Working primarily with polyurethane resin, Pesce’s designs exuberantly embrace figuration and colour, challenging the physical properties of materials and valuing the aesthetic outcomes of imperfect gestures over rigorous standards. His works give form to what he calls ‘the liquidity of our time’ — a time whose nature is defined by continuous change, curiosity, uncertainty, and innovation.

Over his 50-year career, Philip Guston’s painting transitioned through several styles. He created powerful socialist murals modeled after Mexican realism in the 1930s and 40s, Abstract Expressionist works as a part of the New York School in the 40s and 50s, and eventually brought the two together in his stylized representational works from the 60s and 70s. Through his stylistic variations, Guston remained committed to portraying the realities of oppression in the United States in his art, sparking fierce admiration and controversy alike.

Philip Guston (1913-1980), Painting, Smoking, Eating (detail), 1973. Collection of the Stedelikj Museum, Amsterdam. Copyrighted to the Estate of Philip Guston, courtesy Hauser & Wirth and the MFA Boston
Philip Guston (1913-1980), Painting, Smoking, Eating (detail), 1973. Collection of the Stedelikj Museum, Amsterdam. Copyrighted to the Estate of Philip Guston, courtesy Hauser & Wirth and the MFA Boston

Guston’s painting has consistently provoked strong reactions in its viewers. This exhibition brings together the largest reunion of paintings from Guston’s groundbreaking Marlborough Gallery show in 1970. Guston employs a symbolic vocabulary of hooded figures and boots in these highly evocative works, invoking associations of oppression, fascism, and the KKK.

Guston’s paintings drew heavy criticism when the artist first presented them, and the art world has continued to dispute them since. Initially scheduled for 2020, Philip Guston Now was re-considered in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent summer 2020 uprising. Its upcoming presentation by the MFA; the National Gallery of Art, Washington; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Tate Modern, London reaffirms the necessity of Guston’s work, as it unflinchingly depicts the reality of oppression in the U.S.

Staged in the city where Alex Katz has lived and worked across eight decades of intense creative production, and prepared with the close collaboration of the artist, this retrospective will fill the museum’s Frank Lloyd Wright rotunda. Encompassing paintings, oil sketches, collages, drawings, prints, and freestanding ‘cut-out’ works, the exhibition, which Christie’s is proud to sponsor, will begin with the artist’s intimate sketches of riders on the New York City subway from the late 1940s and will culminate in the rapturous, immersive landscapes that have dominated his output in recent years.

Alex Katz, Yellow Tree 1, 2020. Oil on linen, 72 × 72 in. (182.9 × 182.9 cm). Private Collection, Republic of Korea. © 2022 Alex KatzArtists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery
Alex Katz, Yellow Tree 1, 2020. Oil on linen, 72 × 72 in. (182.9 × 182.9 cm). Private Collection, Republic of Korea. © 2022 Alex Katz/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery

Emerging as an artist in the mid-20th century, Katz forged a mode of figurative painting that fused the energy of Abstract Expressionist canvases with the American vernaculars of the magazine, billboard, and movie screen. Throughout his practice, he has turned to his surroundings in downtown New York City and coastal Maine as his primary subject matter, documenting an evolving cultural avant-garde from the Post-War period to the present.

Sean Scully: The Shape of Ideas surveys the Irish-born American artist’s career, highlighting his innumerable contributions to the development of contemporary abstract art.

The exhibition is organized chronologically, beginning with paintings Scully executed from 1972-73 during a fellowship at Harvard, in which he experimented with minimalist gestures such as the grid, and started developing motifs in his painting such as his iconic ‘“inset’ ” structure, in which he creates a painting within a painting. The exhibition then follows Scully’s career through the present day, including Black Blue Window, which the artist created as a personal response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sean Scully (b. 1945), Black Blue Window, 2021. Collection of the artist. Image courtesy of the artist. Photographer Elisabeth Bernstein; © Sean Scully. Courtesy of the PMA
Sean Scully (b. 1945), Black Blue Window, 2021. Collection of the artist. Image courtesy of the artist. Photographer: Elisabeth Bernstein; © Sean Scully. Courtesy of the PMA

Scully's work takes inspiration from the world around him, using forms and colors the artist drew from experiences living and working in Mexico, the remote islands of the Outer Hebrides, and New York City. Sean Scully: The Shape of Ideas presents the astounding omnivorousness with which Scully assimilates new techniques, ideas, and visions into his work.

Swiss artist Urs Fischer’s irreverent oeuvre is broad in scope, spanning sculpture, photography, drawing, painting, and writing. Urs Fischer: Lovers showcases the abiding wit and irreverence which binds Fischer’s disparate practice together.

Urs Fischer, Noisette, 2009. Photo Stefan Altenburger, © Urs Fischer, courtesy of the artist and Museo Jumex
Urs Fischer, Noisette, 2009. Photo: Stefan Altenburger, © Urs Fischer, courtesy of the artist and Museo Jumex

Fischer’s work is highly conceptual and plays off the spaces in which it is displayed. His first solo exhibition in an American museum took up three floors of the New Museum in New York and featured immersive, hallucinatory installations. Two years later, at the 2011 Venice Biennale, he presented a monumental wax copy of Giambologna’s sculpture Rape of the Sabine Women, which turned out to be a candle that the artist lit and left to melt over the event’s three months.

Urs Fischer: Lovers includes work made at different points during the last 20 years of his career and consists of some of his most beloved pieces and installations, alongside a few new pieces made specifically for the Museo Jumex.

A ground-breaking show that is the first of its kind in the West, The Space Between: The Modern in Korean Art is the second of three major Korean art exhibitions of Hyundai Motor’s Korean Art Scholarship initiative, which presents a global exploration of traditional and contemporary Korean art. With the support of numerous institutions, including the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA), another one of Hyundai Motor’s museum partners since 2013, and private collections of the late Korean business magnate Kun-hee Lee, a number of works will be presented in the United States for the first time.

John Pai (b. 1937), Untitled, 1963, Collection of the artist, © John Pai, photo courtesy of the artist

John Pai (b. 1937), Untitled, 1963, Collection of the artist, © John Pai, photo courtesy of the artist

The exhibition features approximately 130 oils, inks, photographs, and sculptures that illustrate the development of modern art in Korea through their interactions with and reinterpretations of foreign cultures. Covering the years 1897 to 1965, the show spans the arc of European-influenced art via Japan in the Korean Empire (1897–1910) and colonial period (1910–45), followed by the American influence absorbed throughout the Korean War (1950–53), into the start of the contemporary era.

Organised in cooperation with the Albertina Museum, Vienna, this exhibition features rarely seen drawings from the Austrian institution, one of Europe’s oldest and finest collections who is among the world’s most superb repositories of Northern Renaissance drawings. Combined with choice examples from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s holdings, the exhibition introduces audiences to the highly engaging works of this era while exploring issues that remain relevant today, such as communal identity and expression, religious conflict and freedom, and the ethics and excesses of wealth.

Joachim Wtewael (1566-1638), The Capitulation of the City, from the Belgica-Folge (The Netherlandish History), 1612. Pen and gray-brown ink and brush and brown and black wash heightened with white. 7.4 x 9.6 in (18.9 x 24.3 cm). Albertina, Vienna, inv. 8160. © The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna
Joachim Wtewael (1566-1638), The Capitulation of the City, from the Belgica-Folge (The Netherlandish History), 1612. Pen and gray-brown ink and brush and brown and black wash heightened with white. 7.4 x 9.6 in (18.9 x 24.3 cm). Albertina, Vienna, inv. 8160. © The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna

The works on view provide fascinating insight into the Netherlands as a place of artistic collaboration and patronage, as well as artistic production — many works were created in conjunction with the Netherlands’ flourishing industries in stained glass, tapestries, and printmaking. A selection of more than 80 drawings showcases an array of refined techniques, including lavishly coloured drawings and luxury objects drawn with ink on parchment, with subjects ranging from hell scenes to mythological dramas.

Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity tracks the development of the cross-cultural relationships that made Cartier’s designs possible.

Tiara, Cartier London, special order, 1936. Sold to The Honorable Robert Henry Brand. Cartier Collection. Vincent Wulveryck, Collection Cartier © Cartier, Courtesy of the DMA
Tiara, Cartier London, special order, 1936. Sold to The Honorable Robert Henry Brand. Cartier Collection. Vincent Wulveryck, Collection Cartier © Cartier, Courtesy of the DMA

Many fine examples of Cartier jewelry feature geometric forms, naturalistic designs, and Chinese-influenced motifs drawn from Arabic and Persian art. Cartier also borrowed many techniques and color combinations from Islamic art, such as using carved colorful gemstones in jewelry, now known as the iconic and colorful Tutti Frutti style.

The exhibition includes art from Cartier’s personal collection, as well as the Islamic art collections of the DMA, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, and the Louvre, which all co-organized Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity.

52 Artists: A Feminist Milestone celebrates the 51st anniversary of the historic exhibition Twenty Six Contemporary Women Artists, curated by Lucy R. Lippard and presented at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in 1971. 52 Artists showcases work by the artists included in the original 1971 exhibition, alongside a new roster of 26 female-identifying or nonbinary emerging artists, tracking the evolution of feminist art practices over the past five decades.

Installation view 52 Artists A Feminist Milestone, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, June 6, 2022 to January 8, 2023. Photo Jason Mandella
Installation view: 52 Artists: A Feminist Milestone, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, June 6, 2022 to January 8, 2023. Photo: Jason Mandella

The 26 emerging artists, who include Loie Hollowell, Hannah Levy, and Susan Chen, were born in or after 1980, live and work in New York City, and have not had a major solo museum exhibition in the United States as of March 1, 2022, aligning both with The Aldrich’s mission of representing the work of emerging artists and with Lippard’s original mandate for the 1971 exhibition. 52 Artists encompasses the entirety of the museum, the first exhibition to do so in The Aldrich’s new building, which was inaugurated in 2004.