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Museums Special

Critic’s picks for art museums to visit this fall in New England

A 1964 print of the Beatles from “Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography” at the Currier Museum of Art.

A 1964 print of the Beatles from “Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography” at the Currier Museum of Art.

New England’s art museums have had a busy fall, and the energy is set to continue well into 2012. Here, state by state, are some of the best exhibitions at museums both small and large, from New Hampshire and Vermont down to Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Massachusetts

INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART “Dance/Draw.’’ The ICA is celebrating its 75th anniversary. This groundbreaking show presents work by 40 contemporary artists exploring the multilayered connection between drawing and dance. Through Jan. 16. Boston. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.org

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MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS “Degas and the Nude.’’ Edgar Degas’s career-long fascination with the nude - mostly female but also male - is addressed for the first time in this ambitious exhibition organized by Degas expert and departing MFA curator George Shackelford. Through Feb. 5. Boston. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org

THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE “Rembrandt and Degas: Two Young Artists.’’ The Clark recently presented a show about Degas’s influence on Picasso. Now it presents a selection of portraits and etchings aiming to shed light on Rembrandt’s influence on Degas. Nov. 13 through Feb. 5. Williamstown. 413-458-2303, www.clarkart.edu

PEABODY ESSEX MUSEUM “Man Ray - Lee Miller, Partners in Surrealism.’’ Lee Miller was a great photographer and photojournalist as well as a model. Man Ray was the great surrealist photographer and provocateur. They were lovers and friends. This show explores their creative relationship. Through Dec. 4. Salem. 978-745-9500, www.pem.org

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DeCORDOVA SCULPTURE PARK AND MUSEUM “Temporary Structures: Performing Architecture in Contemporary Art.’’ Work by artists interested in the intersection between architectural space and performance, including Vito Acconci, robbinschilds, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Erwin Wurm. Through Dec. 31. Lincoln. 781-259-8355, www.decordova.org

MASSACHUSETTS MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART “Sanford Biggers: The Cartographer’s Conundrum.’’ A multimedia installation by this New York-based artist, who riffs on the work of his late cousin, the artist and scholar John Biggers, and on Afro-futurism, a recent movement linking black culture with science fiction, cosmology, and technology. The movement has roots in the work of musician Sun Ra, and finds expression in films like “The Matrix’’ and bands like OutKast. Dec. 11 through Oct. 30. North Adams. 413-662-2111, www.massmoca.org

Vermont

BRATTLEBORO MUSEUM AND ART CENTER “Wolf Kahn: Brattleboro Pastels.’’ An intimate show of pastel landscapes by the celebrated German-born American artist, all of them completed in 2011 during Kahn’s annual summer in Brattleboro. Through Feb. 5. Brattleboro. 802-257-0124, www.brattleboromuseum.org

New Hampshire

CURRIER MUSEUM OF ART “Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography.’’ A selection of photographs amounting to a pictorial history of rock ’n’ roll, drawn from the largest private collection of photographs of rock musicians in the United States. The show, organized by the Portland Museum of Art, includes images of everyone from Elvis and the Rolling Stones through to U2 and Kurt Cobain. Through Jan. 15. Manchester. 603-669-6144. www.currier.org

HOOD MUSEUM OF ART “Native American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights From the Hood Museum of Art.’’ Native American art in many different styles and from many periods taken from the Hood’s exceptional collection. Through March 11. Dartmouth College, Hanover. 603-646-2808, www.hoodmuseum.dartmouth.edu

Maine

PORTLAND MUSEUM OF ART “Gather up the Fragments: The Andrews Shaker Collection.’’ More than 200 objects from the collection of Faith and Edward Deming Andrews, the first important collectors of Shaker objects, in a show that tells the story of the collection’s development. Oct. 27 through Feb. 5. Portland. 207-775-6148, www.portlandmuseum.org

FARNSWORTH ART MUSEUM “Beyond Rugs!’’ A survey of contemporary rug hooking by American textile artists, reaching back to the modernist works of Marguerite Zorach. Through Feb. 5. Rockland. 207-596-6457, www.farnsworthmuseum.org

BOWDOIN COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART “Along the Yangzi River: Regional Culture of the Bronze Age From Hunan.’’ Billed as the first exhibition ever to focus on the regional characteristics of Hunan sculpture, this show presents around 60 bronze sculptures and monumental bells made in southern China between 1300 B.C.E. and 221 B.C.E. Through Jan. 8. Brunswick. 207-725-3275, www.bowdoin.edu/art-museum

Rhode Island

MUSEUM OF ART, RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN “Made in the UK: Contemporary Art From the Richard Brown Baker Collection.’’ Approximately 100 works of British postwar art given to RISD by Providence native Richard Brown Baker (or purchased with funds he made available). Through Jan. 8. Providence. 401-454-6400, www.risdmuseum.org

Connecticut

YALE CENTER FOR BRITISH ART “Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed.’’ An in-depth look at this leading society painter in late-18th century Britain. Oct. 27 through Feb. 12. New Haven. 877-274-8278, www.britishart.yale.edu

WADSWORTH ATHENEUM MUSEUM OF ART “Patti Smith: Camera Solo.’’ The first US exhibition of photographs by the pioneering musician, poet, and performer. Through Feb. 19. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford. 860-278-2670, www.thewadsworth.org

FLORENCE GRISWOLD MUSEUM “The Exacting Eye of Walker Evans.’’ A revealing show examining Evans’s underexamined post-Depression era photographs, delving particularly into his time in Connecticut, where he spent three decades, teaching at Yale and living in Lyme. Through Jan. 29. Old Lyme. 860-434-5542, www.flogris.org

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