LIFE’S WORK: TOM PHILLIPS AND JOHNNY CARRERA Tom Phillips’s conversion of a 19th-century novel into a work of art (above), more than half a century in the making, is the highlight of this show that also features the brilliant US artist Johnny Carrera. Through Jan. 20. Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams. 413-662-2111, www.massmoca.org
SACRED PAGES: CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THE QUR’AN Pages selected from 25 Qur’ans, ranging from the seventh century to contemporary, in the collection of the MFA, complemented by commentaries from Boston’s Islamic community. Through Feb. 23. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org
FLASHBACK – NOVEMBER 22, 1963 Paintings, prints, photographs, and sculptures responding to the assassination of President Kennedy, including work by Andy Warhol, Marisol, and Ant Farm. Through Jan. 12. Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover. 978-749 4015, www.andover.edu/Museums/Addison
COLOR, PATTERN, WHIMSY, SCALE: THE BEST OF SHELBURNE MUSEUM One hundred objects from the eclectic permanent collection illustrate the principles guiding museum founder Electra Havemeyer Webb’s inspired collecting. The show inaugurates Shelburne Museum’s new Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education, which, unlike the rest of the museum, will remain open year-round. Through Dec. 31. Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, Vt. 802-985-3346, www.shelburnemuseum.org
Sebastian Smee can be reached at email@example.com.