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Seven Weeks of Summer

Five museum shows to enrich your summer excursions, from Connecticut to Maine

Gio Swaby, "Gyalavantin’," 2021.Gio Swaby

ALEXIS ROCKMAN: OCEANUS Rockman has been portraying environmental calamity in his paintings for decades, often with a nightmarish, finely detailed dystopian aesthetic that might bring to mind Hieronymus Bosch (a recent series on the Great Lakes featured views bisected by the waterline, with fresh hells both above and below). For this exhibition, he’s created a series of cascading watercolors with the despoilment of the ocean in mind. That he doesn’t lack for material shouldn’t surprise; his oeuvre is a guarantee of career longevity, if not longevity more broadly for the planet itself. Through spring 2024. Mystic Seaport Museum, 75 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic, Conn.. 860-572-0711,


PAINTED: OUR BODIES, HEARTS AND VILLAGE From 1915 to 1927, the Taos Society of Artists worked to transform their adopted New Mexico hometown from an outpost to an artistic hub. It worked — Sante Fe, down the road, hosts one of the most significant contemporary art events in the country, and the region is lousy with artists — but they forgot someone: The society was exclusively Anglo-American, and Native American Pueblo artists had been creating remarkable works there for centuries. This exhibition reverses the gaze, examining the society from the Indigenous point of view, and stacks up their work against contemporary Pueblo artists to amend the narrative the society created. Through July 28, 2024. Colby College Museum of Art, 5600 Mayflower Hill, Waterville, Maine. 207-859-5600,

Tony Abeyta (Diné/Navajo, born 1965), "Citadel," 2021. Tony Abeyta

PORTRAIT OF A PLACE: STUART DAVIS AND GLOUCESTER When it comes to local art history, the Cape Ann Museum has an embarrassment of riches upon which to draw. Along with its Edward Hopper blockbuster this summer, it’s opening another significant chapter with this exhibition of the work of Stuart Davis. Davis, whose kinetic, freewheeling pictures of Gloucester harbors, schooners, and piers are infused with the energies of the jazz music he so loved, loved Gloucester just as much. When in search of an outpost to serve as a summer painting refuge from New York, he bopped around the Atlantic coast until he landed in Cape Ann, where he found a place with “the brilliant light of Provincetown, but with the important addition of topographical severity and the architectural beauties of the Gloucester schooner.” July 22 to Oct. 16. Cape Ann Museum, 27 Pleasant St., Gloucester. 978-283-0455,


Stuart Davis, "Gas Pumps," 1935. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford: Gift of Henry E. Schnakenberg.Cape Ann Museum

GIO SWABY: FRESH UP A quiltmaker with a thoroughly contemporary vision for the medium, Swaby, who is in her early 30s, makes portraits of the women in her immediate social circle with needle, thread, and fabric. A gesture of tenderness and care, Swaby is also subverting the perception of the medium as utilitarian craft as she imbues it with deeply personal, emotional value and a desire to be seen on her own terms. Aug. 12 to Nov. 26. Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St., Salem. 978-745-9500,

2023 JAMES AND AUDREY FOSTER PRIZE This biennial ICA exhibition celebrates three Boston-area artists in a local showcase of the best in contemporary art made right outside our doorsteps. This year’s cohort represents a diverse array of materials, methods and practices: Cicely Carew, a painter who works across media that includes sculpture, installation, and printmaking; Venetia Dale, who works in pewter and in fiber; and Yu-Wen Wu, whose work encompasses public art, video, community intervention, filmmaking and drawing. Aug. 24 to Jan. 28. Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, 25 Harbor Shore Drive. 617-478-3100,


Murray Whyte can be reached at Follow him @TheMurrayWhyte.