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10 must-see museum shows around New England

From the ICA’s ‘Revival: Materials and Monumental Forms’ to ‘Andrew Wyeth: Life and Death’ in Maine.

Loïs Mailou Jones, "Ubi Girl from Tai Region," 1972, part of the MFA's "Touching Roots: Black Ancestral Legacies in America." © Lois Mailou Jones Pierre-Noel Trust © Museum of Fine Arts, BostonPhotograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

TOUCHING ROOTS: BLACK ANCESTRAL LEGACIES IN THE AMERICAS Tracing “narratives of Blackness across the Atlantic world,” this exhibition brings together artists from the African diaspora who took cultural motifs, customs, and stories from their African heritage and repurposed them to portray Black experience in the colonial west, with an emphasis on artists working here in New England: Allan Rohan Crite, Napoleon Jones-Henderson, Ifé Franklin, Bryan McFarlane, Karen Hampton, Loïs Mailou Jones, and Stephen Hamilton. May 26-May 23, 2023, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 465 Huntington Ave. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org

REVIVAL: MATERIALS AND MONUMENTAL FORMS Since it opened in 2018, the Institute of Contemporary Art’s Watershed Annex across the harbor in East Boston has hosted monumental pieces by a single artist, some made for that very space. This show changes things up — having the Venice Biennale on its plate this spring probably had something to do with it — a group effort featuring sculptural works by El Anatsui, Madeline Hollander, Ibrahim Mahama, Karyn Olivier, Ebony G. Patterson, and Joe Wardwell. Still, the Watershed’s topical ethos remains intact: The show addresses creative reuse of cast-off materials in a world drowning in trash. May 26-Sept. 5, ICA Watershed, 256 Marginal St., East Boston. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.com


El Anatsui, "Area B," 2007, included in the ICA Watershed exhibition "Revival: Materials and Monumental Forms." Image courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. © El Anatsui

AMY YOES: HOT CORNERS For those not fans of the prevailing look-don’t-touch ethos of art museums, this will come as a welcome remedy. Yoes will transform a giant gallery footprint into five rooms of varying function — the Foyer, the Parlor, the Library, the Theatre, and the Drawing Room — outfitted with custom-built furniture made to be moved around by the audience in an ever-evolving participatory experience. Opens May 28; closing TBD. Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, 1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams. 413-662-2111, www.massmoca.org

ANDREW WYETH: LIFE AND DEATH The quintessential painter of 20th-century American rural life — “Christina’s World,” his 1948 painting of a woman crumpled in a field of long grass, is one of those few paintings instantly recognizable by almost anyone, anywhere — had an equal fascination with death, including his own. This is the first public presentation of recently rediscovered drawings that Wyeth made in the 1990s of his own funeral; the show couples those drawings with works by Duane Michals, Andy Warhol, and George Tooker, all of whom depicted their own passing, as a deeper look at the nature of artistic meditation on mortality. June 2-Oct. 16, Colby College Museum of Art, 5600 Mayflower Hill Drive, Waterville, Maine. 207-859-5600, www.colby.edu/museum


IMPRINTED: ILLUSTRATING RACE More than 100 illustrations and artifacts made for the public sphere, whether for advertising or editorial purposes, comprise this exhibition, which explores how mainstream representation of race has helped reinforce or counter stereotypes. It takes a long view, spanning pieces from the late 18th century right up to the present day. June 11-Oct. 30, Norman Rockwell Museum, 9 Route 183, Stockbridge. 413-298-4100, www.nrm.org

Auguste Rodin, "Christ and Mary Magdalene," original model 1894.carved by Victor Peter, 1908. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.32

RODIN IN THE UNITED STATES: CONFRONTING THE MODERN Some 1,300 works by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin are held by museums in the United States, testament not only to the artist’s success but to the many advocates on this side of the ocean that made it so. This exhibition, hosted by the Clark, gathers 50 sculptures and 25 drawings that explore the reputation-building effort that cemented Rodin’s work at the center of the American experience of early modern art. June 18-Sept. 18, Clark Art Institute, 225 South St., Williamstown. 413-458-2303, www.clarkart.edu


PATRICK KELLY: RUNWAY OF LOVE This show features the Mississippi-born, Paris-based fashion designer whose short life — he died in 1990 at 35 years old — was jam-packed with innovative and provocative work that drew on everything from Parisian club fashion to his childhood growing up in the American South. His designs, the museum says, “pushed racial and cultural boundaries, asserted Black empowerment, and were rooted in expressions of love and joy.” A revival of a 2014 exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the 2022 version includes a display of Kelly’s “significant” collection of racist memorabilia. June 25-Nov. 6, Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St., Salem. 978-745-9500, www.pem.org

Patrick Kelly’s Fall/Winter 1989–1990 advertising campaign. Photograph by Oliviero Toscani. Courtesy of the Estate of Patrick Kelly. Scan by Randy Dodson / Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. (Copyright Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

FLYING WOMAN: THE PAINTINGS OF KATHERINE BRADFORD Bradford, a Maine-and-Brooklyn based painter, is having a moment. This first-ever survey of her work comes on the heels of the artist being named as the recipient of last year’s $35,000 Rappaport Prize, administered by the de Cordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln. Bradford, whose loose and dreamy canvases mean to evoke psychological states, was also recently featured at Harvard’s Carpenter Center for Visual Arts in a two-person show with Diedrick Brackens. June 25-Sept. 11, Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Square, Portland, Maine. 207-775-6148; portlandmuseum.org

CELEBRATING COLLAGE: A 20TH ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art lost its namesake when Carle, a legendary children’s book author and illustrator, died last year at 91. But his legacy lives on: The museum celebrates twenty years this summer with this show of 90 collages by Carle and other icons including Leo Lionni, alongside a new generation of collagists like Ekua Holmes and Thao Lam. June 25-Dec. 31, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 125 West Bay Road, Amherst. 413-559-6300, www.carlemuseum.org


THE SUN RISES IN THE WEST AND SETS IN THE EAST A sharp-minded exploration of how rational disciplines like science and philosophy have collapsed in an increasingly post-fact society, this exhibition features a stellar roster of contemporary artists whose work catalogs an era of dystopian discontent: Lida Abdul, Kader Attia, Yael Bartana, Asli Çavuşoğlu, Ergin Çavuşoğlu, Ali Cherri, Anton Ginzburg, Emily Jacir, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Nyugen E. Smith, and Nari Ward. Aug. 30-Dec. 11, Tufts University Art Galleries, 40 Talbot Ave., Medford. 617-627-3518, artgalleries.tufts.edu


Murray Whyte can be reached at murray.whyte@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheMurrayWhyte.