WIFREDO LAM: IMAGINING NEW WORLDS Wifredo Lam was born in Cuba to parents of Chinese and African-Spanish descent. He became a prominent modern artist, whose work reflected various 20th-century art movements, including surrealism, as well as the influence of Santeria, the syncretic religion practiced in West Africa and the Caribbean. This show will feature more than 40 paintings and many works on paper. Through Dec. 14. McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College. 617-552-8100, www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/artmuseum
CALDER AND ABSTRACTION: FROM AVANT-GARDE TO ICONIC Organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, this show will feature more than 40 three-dimensional works by the giant of 20th-century modernism. It will include examples of the kinetic metal works Calder called “mobiles,” and the standing sculptures he called “stabiles.” Through Jan. 4. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem. 978-745-9500. www.pem.org
SCULPTURE VICTORIOUS: ART IN AN AGE OF INVENTION, 1837-1901 An ambitious exhibition of diverse works that examines the role of sculpture in Victorian England, a time when that art was seen as “the highest form of culture.” The Yale Center for British Art describes it as “the first [exhibition] of its kind ever undertaken by a museum.” Sept. 11-Nov. 30. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven. 877-274-8278, www.britishart.yale.edu
MARK BRADFORD: SEA MONSTERS This exhibition of new paintings and sculptures by the widely admired artist and MacArthur Award winner will include a mural more than 100 feet in length, scaled to match the museum’s glass-fronted Lois Foster wing. The new works reveal the influence of 16th- and 17th-century decorated maps of the sea. Sept. 11-Dec. 21.
Rose Art Museum, Waltham. 781-736-3434, www.brandeis.edu/rose
WHAT NERVE! ALTERNATIVE FIGURES IN AMERICAN ART, 1960 TO THE PRESENT A show that presents an alternative history of contemporary art by focusing on a series of artists associated with several influential groups in different cities. It will include the Hairy Who in Chicago, Funk in San Francisco, Destroy All Monsters in Ann Arbor, and Forcefield in Providence. The artists are H.C. Westermann, Jack Kirby, William Copley, Christina Ramberg, Gary Panter, and Elizabeth Murray. Sept. 19-Jan. 4. RISD Museum, Providence. 401-454-6400, www.risdmuseum.org
LORNA SIMPSON A 30-year retrospective of the photographic and text-based work of Simpson, who taps into sensitive, often concealed aspects of gender and race. The show, which was organized by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis, with the Jeu de Paume in Paris and the Haus der Kunst in Munich, will feature a recent three-channel video installation called “Chess.” Sept. 20-Jan. 4. Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover. 978-749-4015, www.andover.edu/museums/addison
M.C. ESCHER: REALITY AND ILLUSION This retrospective of the ever-popular Dutch graphic artist (1898-1972), who painted and drew mind-confounding illusions, will contain many of his best-known works, as well as family portraits, mezzotints, and original sketches. The works are from the collection of the Herakleidon Museum in Athens. Sept. 20-Jan. 12 . Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, N.H. 603-669-6144, www.currier.org
HENDRICK GOLTZIUS: MYTHOLOGY AND TRUTH A selection of prints by the great Dutch artist, known for his incisive portraiture and innovative renderings of ancient mythology. The prints were recently donated to Bowdoin by Charles Pendexter and David P. Becker. Sept. 27 - March 1. Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine. 207-725-3275, www.bowdoin.edu/art-museum
FIBER: SCULPTURE 1960-PRESENT Featuring works by Sheila Hicks, Lenore Tawney, and Claire Zeisler, among others, this bold and colorful survey will look at developments in fiber art from the mid-20th century to the present. Oct. 1 - Jan. 4. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.org
TREASURES OF BRITISH ART 1400–2000: THE BERGER COLLECTION Organized by the Denver Art Museum, this show presents an overview of six centuries of British art, and features work by artists such as Hans Holbein the Younger, Joseph Wright of Derby, John Constable, and Howard Hodgkin. Oct. 2 - Jan. 4. Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine. 207-775-6148, www.portlandmuseum.org
GOYA: ORDER AND DISORDER Organized by theme, this show explores the full range of the great Spanish artist Francisco Goya’s prodigious output in paintings, prints, and drawings. Centered on the MFA’s deep collection of Goya works on paper, the exhibition also includes major loans from the Prado, the Uffizi, the Louvre, and
the Metropolitan Museum. Oct. 12-Jan. 19. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org
LEE BOROSON Employing inflatable fabrics and light,the Brooklyn-based Boroson will present a massive and immersive installation inspired by nature and the artist’s imagination, and divided into four parts: “The Fog,” “The Falls,” “The Crypt,” and “The Lava Field.” Opens Oct. 11. Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams. 413-662-2111, www.massmoca.org
WALDEN, REVISITED 160 years after the publication of Henry David
Thoreau’s “Walden,” this show gathers together work by contemporary artists who take up Thoreau’s themes in a contemporary context. Includes works in a range of media by Spencer Finch, Futurefarmers, Jane D. Marsching, Oscar Palacio, Lisa Sigal, and Hilary Wilder. Oct. 31-April 26. DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln. 781-259-8355, www.decordova.org
ODD VOLUMES: BOOK ART FROM THE ALLAN CHASANOFF COLLECTION Unusual and often cunning works of art made from books or in them, by postwar artists including Dieter Roth, Yoko Ono, and Olafur Eliasson. Nov. 7-Feb. 1. Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven. 203-432-0600, www.artgallery.yale.edu
HARVARD ART MUSEUMS REOPENING One of the world’s great museums — comprising the Fogg Art Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, all under one roof — reopens after six years, in a building designed by the Genoa-based Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Nov. 16. Harvard Art Museums, 617-495-9400, www.harvardartmuseums.org
Sebastian Smee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction: In an earlier version of this article, Wifredo Lam’s first name was misspelled.