Fall Culture Preview: Fine Art Museum Exhibitions

The life of Keith Haring is celebrated at de Young Museum's exhibit.
The life of Keith Haring is celebrated at de Young Museum’s exhibit.

Ah, fall is almost here. We have nothing against summer, but if we had to sit through one more mindless summer action movie or anymore re-runs of shows that we’ve seen, not to mention the gluttony of reality TV, we would have pulled our hair out. Everything gets more highbrow when the weather cools down, and that makes the transition to the cold months much easier on the mind and the body. Art generously gives all year long, but this fall there are some truly can’t miss museum exhibitions being shown. They are all broken down here, city by city.

New York City.

Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs
October 12, 2014 to February 8, 2015

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“Swimming Pool”

French artist Henri Matisse is most known of course for his lush, and colorful paintings. But his art was not limited to any one style, and he was accomplished in printing, sculpting, and draughting as well. One of the more interesting turns in his career was his innovations in the cut-up technique, a style incorporating various images to create a cohesive collage. Noting that author Williams S. Burroughs was influenced by the cut-up technique and transferred it to his own literary style, Matisse’s innovations held profound influence on many creative mediums, from visual art to music. From October to February, MOMA will be displaying the largest collection of Matisse’s cut-outs ever created in Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs. Among the collection will be the Matisse 1952 cut-out masterpiece The Swimming Pool which was originally created for Matisse’s dining room and has been newly conserved for this show.

V.S. Gaitonde: Painting as Process, Painting as Life
October 24, 2014 to February 11, 2015

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“Untitled, 1962”

Indian modern painter Vasudeo Santu Gaitonde (1924-2001) is getting his first career retrospective as per the Guggenheim’s Painting as Process, Painting as Life. The exhibitions provides an excellent opportunity to see masterful work created by an artist that existed outside the paradigm of Europe and America’s art world. Having worked in the style of abstract expressionism, Gaitonde was known by his fellow artists as well as scholars as a painter of uncompromising artistic integrity. The exhibit compromises 40 paintings, revealing a technique that is totally the artist’s own while still giving a glimpse to us Americans of the exciting work that was being done in the metropolitan cities of Bombay (now Mumbai) and New Delhi in the 1920s to 1940s.

The Art of the Chinese Album

September 6, 2014 to March 29, 2015
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Don Qichang "Emulation of the Ancient Landscape"
Don Qichang “Emulation of the Ancient Landscape”

This exhibit will showcase the Chinese art of albums. Considered an intimate form of Chinese art where every turn of the page showcases a new thought, memory, or dream. Some of the artists included in the exhibition will be Dai Benxiao who used the album style as a way to explore the depths of any given style, and Dong Qichang who used the style as a way of shedding light on his vast knowledge of art history by devoting each page to different art master. This show will not only give vast experience to the album itself but also will be a mish-mash of a variety of different styles.

San Francisco

Keith Haring: The Political Line
November 8, 2014 to February 16, 2015
de Young Museum

"Untitled, 1982"
“Untitled, 1982”

There shouldn’t be a whole lot of introduction needed here, Along with Jean-Michele Basquiat and Julian Schnabel, Keith Haring was considered one of the most important artists of the 1980’s. He started in graffiti and moved to paintings with a singular and emotive style that drew upon themes of death, life, sexuality, and war that often came with heavy politicized messages. Now his work is being shown on the West Coast for the first time in two decades thanks to the Political Line show at de Young Museum. The Political Line will feature more than 130 works of art, including large-scale paintings on tarpaulins and canvases, sculptures, and a number of the artist’s subway drawings. The exhibition will create a narrative that explores Haring’s responses to nuclear disarmament, racial inequality, the excesses of capitalism, environmental degradation, and other issues of deep personal concern. Though Haring is a New York artist he has deep ties to the San Francisco artistic community as well, having created murals for DV8 Nightclub and the AIDS Chapel at Grace Cathedral. Haring was taken from the world due to AIDS decades ago but the enduring appeal of his work never fades.

Houghton Hall: Portrait of an English Countryhouse
Legion of Honor
October 18, 2014 to January 18, 2015
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The Legion of Honor museum, located in an idyllic spot along the Golden Gate Bridge and donning exquisite architecture before even walking into its doors, has excellent luck with curating exhibits that find the artistic flair in strange source materials. This show explores the history and elegance of Houghton Hall, one of England’s grandest country houses, built in the 1720s by Sir Robert Walpole (1676–1745), Britain’s first prime minister. Constructed in the Palladian style by architects James Gibbs and Colen Campbell and decorated by the influential designer William Kent, it has survived through the centuries in a remarkably well-preserved state. The house was the home of Walpole’s extensive collection of the old painting masters and other 18th century works. Key highlights include works by British painters Thomas Gainsborough, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and William Hogarth; Italian painters Artemisia Gentileschi and Andrea del Sarto; and American painter John Singer Sargent.

Celebrating the Spectrum: Highlights from the Anderson Collection
de Young Museum
September 13, 2014 to April 5, 2015

Frank Stella "Quathalumba"
Frank Stella “Quathalumba”

In commemoration of the opening of the Anderson Collection at Stanford University, the de Young’s exhibition explores the role of color in the prints of works by artists like Jasper Johns, Roy Lichenstein, Josef Albers, Frank Stella, and many more. The idea is that each of the pieces shown use color as the primary emotive force in the piece, and pays attention to how color in and of itself is art work.

Los Angeles

Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist
October 19, 2014 to February 1, 2015

"Black Belt"
“Black Belt”

There is still so much to find exciting when reconsidering the Harlem Renaissance. 1920’s Harlem produced profound cultural output from music by Fats Waller to Duke Ellington and literature and writers like James Baldwin and Langston Hughes to of course, art work by artists like Archibald Motley. The work that came out of this period was often self-referential, and the world portrayed by Motley is one of bright colors and heavy visual identity. It is quite clear from his work that there was no way that an artist in this period couldn’t be completely taken with the scene of the Harlem renaissance. Dancing, beautiful clothing, booze, parties, women, cigarettes, pianos, and life itself manifests itself as the imagery seen in the work of Motley.

Larry Sultan: Here and Home
November 9, 2014 to March 22, 2015

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From “Evidence”

Larry Sultan (1946-2009) is one of the most important if under-appreciated photographers of the 20th century. His work explores American family and home and how those institutions form bland facades masking deep and intertwined human drama and agony. Works from all of his five most important collections are represented in the exhibit: Evidence (1977), Pictures from Home (1982-’92), the Valley (1998-2003), and Homeland (2006-’09). The New York TImes in Sultan’s obituary called Evidence, which was made collaboratively with Mike Mandel, “a watershed in the history of art photography.”

Andy Warhol: Shadows
September 20, 2014 to February 2, 2015

Another year, another Andy Warhol museum exhibit. But it truly is astounding how the work and life of Andy Warhol continues to fascinate generations decades following his death. Perhaps it could be due to the fact that never more have the various creative fields collided with commerce so smoothy. Lest we forget his proclamation that in the future, “Everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame” basically became true, where we now have Twitter and Instagram giving us the illusion of notoriety. Whether it be Hip-Hop’s love affair with fashion or #artdealerchic hash tags or Jeff Koons designing a Lady Gaga album cover or Kim Gordon and Marilyn Manson gracing Saint Laurent Paris advertisements, the lines separating artistic integrity and commercial commodity are doing an all out zig-zag. It’s safe to say that if Warhol’s factory was around today, those kids wouldn’t be considered freaks. They’d be internet superstars with 100,000 Twitter followers. In this Warhol MOCA show, it’s the shadows of those freaky kids from the factory that are shown in photographs throughout this 102 silk screen piece. Warhol was drawing on his own interest in repetition as well as long-standing fascination in commerciality, and the result is this masterpiece that manages to evoke an eerie familiarity along with an existential dread.