Theater & art

Critic’s museum picks from around New England

Amy Sillman’s “C” at the Institute of Contemporary Art.
John Berens
Amy Sillman’s “C” at the Institute of Contemporary Art.

New England’s art museums put on many of their most ambitious exhibitions in the fall. Here, state by state, is a selection of recently opened, or soon-to-be-opened, exhibitions at museums across the region.


INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART “Amy Sillman: One Lump or Two.” The brilliant and restlessly inventive New York-based artist’s first museum solo show. Paintings, works on paper, cartoons, and animated drawings. Through Jan. 5. 617-478-3100,

MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS “John Singer Sargent Watercolors.” More than 90 of Sargent’s beloved watercolors in a show that combines the superb Sargent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Through Jan. 20. 617-267-9300,


DECORDOVA SCULPTURE PARK AND MUSEUM The 2013 deCordova Biennial. New England’s contemporary artists are featured in this closely watched exhibit featuring work in all media. Through April 13. Lincoln. 781-259-8355,

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ISABELLA STEWART GARDNER MUSEUM “Sophie Calle: Last Seen.” Fourteen works incorporating photography and text by the provocative French artist. The works, made in 1991 and 2012, respond to the 1990 theft from the Gardner of Jan Vermeer’s “The Concert.” Oct. 24 through March 3.

PEABODY ESSEX MUSEUM “Impressionists on the Water.” Sixty paintings, works on paper, models, and small craft explore the affinity of French Impressionists such as Monet, Sisley, Caillebotte, and Renoir for boating and the water. Organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Nov. 9 through Feb. 17. Salem. 978-745-9500.


BRATTLEBORO MUSEUM AND ART CENTER “Jerry’s Map.” Jerry Gretzinger has been working on this map-like magnum opus, comprising thousands of panels, since 1963. Nov. 1 through March 8. Brattleboro, Vt. 802-257-0124,

SHELBURNE MUSEUM “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, Vt. 802-985-3346,

New Hampshire


HOOD MUSEUM OF ART “Picasso: The Vollard Suite.” One hundred etchings, all belonging to the same suite, made by Picasso between 1930 and 1937. One of his greatest accomplishments. Through Dec. 20. Hanover, N.H. 603-646-2808,

CURRIER MUSEUM OF ART “Africa Interweave: Textile Diasporas.” Forty textiles, garments, and other woven items from across the continent of Africa. Through Jan. 12. Manchester, N.H. 603-669-6144,


COLBY COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART “Jean Victor Bertin and Landscape Painting in France.” Hinging on a recent acquisition – a classical landscape by Bertin – this show looks at the French idea of landscape from the Baroque through to the 19th century. Oct. 22 through Jan. 5. Waterville, Maine. 207-859-5600,

BOWDOIN COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART “Breakthrough: Work By Contemporary Chinese Women Artists.” More than two dozen works by eight artists working in different media, among them Cai Jin, Cao Fei, Peng Wei. Through Dec. 22. Brunswick, Maine. 207-725-3275,

PORTLAND MUSEUM OF ART “2013 Portland Museum of Art Biennial: Piece Work.” Thirty artists, most of them resident in Maine, show work that emphasizes process and time-intensive labor. Through Jan. 5. Portland, Maine. 207-775-6148,

RISD Museum
A Chinese “Punch Bowl With Cantonese Hongs,” from “Making It in America” at the RISD Museum.

Rhode Island


RISD MUSEUM “Making It in America.” More than 100 objects selected from the museum’s collection – paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts – demonstrate aspects of the forging of national identity in the United States. Through Feb. 9. Providence. 401 454 6400,


YALE UNIVERSITY ART GALLERY “Still Life: 1970s Photorealism.” A survey of painters working in the style of photorealism from the gallery’s collection. Includes work by Robert Bechtle, Idelle Weber, Paul Staiger, Franz Gertsch, John DeAndrea, and Gerhard Richter. Through March 9. New Haven. 203-432-0600,

YALE CENTER FOR BRITISH ART “Sculpture by Nicola Hicks.” Animal sculptures molded in straw and clay and sometimes cast in bronze by the respected British sculptor. Nov. 14 through March 9. New Haven. 877-274-8278,

FLORENCE GRISWOLD MUSEUM “Harry Holtzman and American Abstraction.” The first retrospective of the painter, teacher, and writer, who was a friend and colleague of Piet Mondrian. Through Jan. 26. Old Lyme, Conn. 860-434-5542,

Sebastian Smee can be reached at