VAN GOGH AND NATURE The great Dutch artist’s passionate investigations into the natural world are the subject of this ambitious show, featuring 40 paintings and 10 drawings. Through Sept. 13. Clark Art Institute, Williamstown. 413-458-2303, www.clarkart.edu.
ARLENE SHECHET: ALL AT ONCE The first museum survey of the celebrated sculptor, who works primarily in clay and was recently an artist in residence at the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory. Through Sept. 7. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3100, www.icaboston.org
JIM SHAW: ENTERTAINING DOUBTS A wide range of work by the superb Los Angeles-based artist, emphasizing his interest in fallen heroes, disgraced political figures, and broken economies. The show is centered on new work using old theatrical backdrops, but includes much more. Through January 2016. Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams. 413-662-2111, www.massmoca.org
BYZANTIUM TO RUSSIA: THE ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT OF RUSSIAN ICONS 1200 TO 1900 Rare icons and artifacts from the British Museum feature in this show that traces the development of sacred art in Byzantium and Russia. Includes two famous 14th-century icons — “Saint John the Baptist” (pictured) and “Saint George and the Dragon” — never previously sent to a US museum. Through Sept. 12. Museum of Russian Icons, Clinton. 978-598-5000, www.museumofrussianicons.orgSebastian Smee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.