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MUSEUMS SPECIAL 2017

A season for art at New England museums

deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum

Paul Laffoley’s “The Ultimate Quest” at the deCordova.

By Cate McQuaid  Globe Correspondent 

Massachusetts 

MARK DION: Misadventures of a 21st-century Naturalist A survey of three decades of work by Dion, who grounds his conceptual art in the processes upon which society builds knowledge: scientific inquiry, taxonomy, and collection. Then he pulls the rug out. Through Dec. 31. Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Drive. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.org

BARBARA TAKENAGA Takenaga’s intricately designed, swirling, and psychedelic patterned paintings might render cosmic scenes or microscopic ones. Her luminous, transcendental works tap Op Art, decorative art, Japanese printmaking, Tantric painting, and more. Through Jan. 28. Williams College Museum of Art, 15 Lawrence Hall Drive, Williamstown. 413-597-2429, www.wcma.williams.edu

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COOL MEDIUM: Art, Television & Psychedelia, 1960-1980 In this companion show to – and retro version of? – “Screens: Virtual Material,” artists respond to how the rise of color television and psychotropic drugs beckoned people to tune in and drop out. Through March 11. deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, 51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln. 781-259-8355, www.decordova.org

LIZ GLYNN: The Archaeology of Another Possible Future Glynn’s expansive, multilevel installation in a former factory space takes on the conundrum of industry, labor, and living in a physical body in an increasingly virtual economy. Through early September 2018. Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art,
1040 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams.
413-662-2111, www.massmoca.org

DRAWN FROM NATURE & ON STONE: The Lithographs of Fitz Henry Lane The celebrated Luminist, best known for his marine paintings, was also an avid printmaker. This exhibition looks at his illustrations, his cityscapes, and where his paintings and prints intersect. Through March 4. Cape Ann Museum,
27 Pleasant St., Gloucester. 978-283-0455, www.capeannmuseum.org

JOE BRADLEY This dexterous, Maine-born painter pivots from color-field washes to grease-pencil iconography, constantly changing style. His work links his protean inner rumblings to a larger conversation with the history of painting. Through Jan. 28. Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, 415 South St., Waltham. 781-736-3434, www.brandeis.edu/rose

TAKASHI MURAKAMI: Lineage of Eccentrics The Japanese artist, known for his so-called superflat pop style and for pushing the boundaries between high art and low, partners with art historian Nobuo Tsuji to contextualize his work with objects from the MFA’s Japanese collection. Oct. 18-April 1. Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org

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HENRY JAMES AND AMERICAN PAINTING The great chronicler of transatlantic high society wrote like a painter. His heady circle included Isabella Stewart Gardner, John Singer Sargent, John La Farge, and James McNeill Whistler. This show investigates how they influenced one another. Oct. 19-Jan. 21. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 25 Evans Way. 617-566-1401, www.gardnermuseum.org

HEIMO ZOBERNIG: chess painting Zobernig, an Austrian multimedia artist, riffs on Modernism’s romance with the grid while subverting expectations for museum display by toppling walls, turning them into performance platforms, and inviting visitors up to enjoy the view. Oct. 27-Dec. 31. MIT List Visual Arts Center, 20 Ames St., Cambridge. 617-253-4680, listart.mit.edu

COMING AWAY: Winslow Homer and England In 1881, Homer traveled to England and settled in Cullercoats, a fishing village. His time there transformed him. This show spotlights works he made in Cullercoats and after, and examines their links to English painting.
Nov. 11-Feb. 4. Worcester Art Museum,
55 Salisbury St., Worcester. 508-799-4406, www.worcesterart.org

NEVER ABANDON IMAGINATION: The Fantastical Art of Tony Diterlizzi More than 200 paintings and drawings by the illustrator known to legions of gamers for his Dungeons and Dragons renderings and to fantasy readers for “The Spiderwick Chronicles.” Nov. 11-May 28. Norman Rockwell Museum,
9 Glendale Road, Stockbridge. 413-298-4100,
www.nrm.org

NICHOLAS NIXON: Persistence of Vision
Using the Boston-area photographer’s well-known series “The Brown Sisters,” depicting his wife and her siblings, as a spine, the exhibition follows his work, and its attention to what it means to be human, across four decades.
Dec. 13-April 22. Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Drive. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.org

GEORGIA O’KEEFFE: ART, IMAGE, STYLE
O’Keeffe wasn’t simply a painter. She was a Modernist fashion icon. She made her own clothes and carried off a crisp, understated style. This exhibition finds confluences between her wardrobe and her art. Dec. 16-April 1. Peabody Essex Museum, East India Square, 161 Essex St., Salem. 978-745-9500, www.pem.org

Maine

CONSTRUCTING REVOLUTION: Soviet Propaganda Posters From Between the World Wars The 1917 Russian Revolution sparked an upwelling of crisp, urgent, propagandistic graphic design. Call these posters the Facebook memes of their day – they got their message across. Through Feb. 11. Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 245 Maine St., Brunswick, Maine. 207-725-3275, www.bowdoin.edu/art-
museum

Rhode Island

LINES OF THOUGHT: Drawing From Michelangelo to Now: From the British Museum This exhibition shines a light on drawing as a foundational process, from mindless doodling to decision-making. It includes works by Leonardo da Vinci, Paul Cézanne, and Bridget Riley. Through Jan. 7. RISD Museum, 20 North Main St., Providence. 401-454-6500, www.risd
museum.org

Vermont

SWEET TOOTH: The Art of Dessert Electra Havemeyer Webb, founder of the Shelburne Museum, was a sugar heiress. In this show, contemporary artists reckon with confectionaries from lollipops to licorice, exploring desire, nostalgia, addiction, and industry. Through Feb. 18. Shelburne Museum,
6000 Shelburne Road, Shelburne, Vt.
802-985-3346, www.shelburnemuseum.org


Cate McQuaid can be reached at catemcquaid@gmail.com
Follow her on Twitter @cmcq.