celebrating the 20th century
LONDON THE YEAR 1900: ART AT THE CROSSROADS ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS (JAN. 16-APRIL 3). A reassessment of the birth of modern art, this millennial show looks at the cultural currents that swirled around the year 1900, hoping to find what gave birth to the 20th century's various styles and "isms." Juxtaposing works by fledgling avant-gardists such as Picasso and Mondrian with canvases by French academic painter Bouguereau, Pre-Raphaelite Burne-Jones, and the stars of the 1900 World's Fair, this exhibition remaps history. At New York's Guggenheim May 19-Sept. 13. —Kim Levin
London ART NOUVEAU 1890-1914 Victoria and Albert Museum (April 6-July 30). Perhaps the most comprehensive exhibition ever on Art Nouveau, this show presents an array of seductive artworks and decorative objects — and suggests wildly diverse sources for the development of the sinuous fin-de-siècle style. PHOTOGRAPHS BY SNOWDON: A RETROSPECTIVE National Portrait Gallery (Feb. 25-June 4). Featuring glam portraits of stage greats, irreverent fashion photographs, and documentary pictures for the London Times, this show takes a close look at the best of Lord Snowdon. RUSKIN, TURNER, AND THE PRE-RAPHAELITES Tate Britain (March 9-May 28). Much as Clement Greenberg championed a generation of American artists, the Victorian critic John Ruskin shaped the aesthetic of the late 19th century. This exhibition marks the 100th anniversary of his death, gathering his own artwork and more than 250 paintings by Turner, Rossetti, and others whom Ruskin either praised or condemned. (Closer to home, in New Haven, "Ruskin: Past, Present, Future," at the Yale Center for British Art, surveys the influential critic's manuscripts, drawings, and watercolors, through February 27.)
Paris THE OTHER SIDE OF EUROPE Jeu de Paume (Feb. 8-June 21). Divided into four parts, this exhibition looks at memory, ideology, and the culture of secrecy in the countries that were once "behind the Iron Curtain."
New York WALKER EVANS Metropolitan Museum of Art (Feb. 1-May 14). In the first comprehensive retrospective of Evans's photographs, 175 images are on display, including his indelible portraits of coal miners, cotton pickers, and subway riders. And there's a footnote: "Walker Evans and African Art, 1935" (Feb. 1-Sept. 3) comprises 50 vintage prints of tribal sculpture from a series produced during MOMA's groundbreaking 1935 show of African art. THE WORLDS OF NAM JUNE PAIK Guggenheim Museum (Feb. 11-April 26). Four decades of the Korean-born video pioneer's electronic sculpture, installations, and television projects. A site-specific installation fills the museum's rotunda. MOMA 2000: MAKING CHOICES Museum of Modern Art (March 16-Sept. 12). The second cycle of the museum's millennial trilogy focuses on the years between 1920 and 1960, reconsidering utopian visions, the art of social protest, and the backlash against Modernism. ONE HUNDRED FAMOUS VIEWS OF EDO Brooklyn Museum of Art (Feb. 18-April 23). Utagawa Hiroshige's ukiyo-e prints inspired Monet, van Gogh, Whistler, and Degas. A complete set of woodcuts, rarely on view, depicts daily life in 19th-century Edo (now Tokyo) across four seasons.
Philadelphia THE SPLENDOR OF ROME: ART CAPITAL OF THE 18TH CENTURY Philadelphia Museum of Art (Feb. 16-May 28). With 320 works by more than 160 artists, this exhibition surveys the eternal city's artistic wealth and vitality.
Washington, D.C. TREASURES FROM THE TOPKAPI, ISTANBUL Corcoran Gallery of Art (March 1-June 15). More than 200 precious objects from the Ottoman Empire, all of which once graced the sultan's palace. Among them are bejeweled ceremonial objects, elaborately inlaid desks, illuminated manuscripts, and statuettes made of pearls.
Columbus, Ohio ILLUSIONS OF EDEN: VISIONS OF THE AMERICAN HEARTLAND Columbus Museum of Art (Feb. 18-April 30). With more than 100 paintings and photographs from the 1920's to the 40's and four contemporary environmental projects (including one by Maya Lin), this exhibition homes in on the utopian, isolationist, rural face of the Midwest.
Detroit VAN GOGH: FACE TO FACE Detroit Institute of Arts (March 12-June 4). Everything from early drawings to the frenzied yet lucid portraits van Gogh painted in Arles, in which he hoped to capture "something of the eternal."
Minneapolis LET'S ENTERTAIN Walker Art Center (Feb. 12-April 30). Works by more than 50 artists — from Andy Warhol's Warhol TV to Cindy Sherman's Untitled (Film Stills)— put a whole new spin on popular culture.
San Francisco SOL LEWITT: A RETROSPECTIVE San Francisco Museum of modern art (Feb. 19-May 21). A pioneer Conceptualist known for providing haiku-like instructions for others to execute his systematic art. Here are 200 works spanning four decades, from LeWitt's photographs to his skeletal cubes and colorful geometric murals.
Santa Ana, Calif. THE SECRET WORLD OF THE FORBIDDEN CITY Bowers Museum of Cultural Art (Feb. 6-Sept. 3). Some 300 precious Qing dynasty objects from the royal palace (now the national museum in Beijing), and the bicycle of the last emperor, Pu-Yi. —K.L.
Traveling Exhibitions THE ART OF BLOOMSBURY at the Yale Center For British Art, New Haven, May 20-Sept. 3. PHOTOGRAPHS BY CARLETON WATKINS at the National Gallery, Washington, D.C., Feb. 20-May 7. Nineteenth-century satirist HONORÉ DAUMIER at the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., Feb. 19-May 14. NORMAN ROCKWELL at the Chicago Historical Society, Feb. 26-May 21. SCYTHIAN TREASURES FROM UKRAINE at the Walters art gallery, Baltimore, March 7-May 28. The Stroganoff family's collection at the Portland art museum, Portland, Oreg., Feb. 19-May 31. PHARAOHS OF THE SUN at the Los angeles county museum of art, March 19-June 4. EGYPTIAN ART IN THE AGE OF THE PYRAMIDS at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Feb. 13-May 22. Eighteenth-century painter CHARDIN at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, March 11-May 29. THE ART OF THE MOTORCYCLE at the Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain, through April 23.
New YorkPLATÉE New York City Opera, April 11-22; 212/870-5570.With sets by Adrianne Lobel, costumes by former fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, and choreography by wild man Mark Morris, this incarnation of Jean-Philippe Rameau's French Baroque opera about a swamp-dwelling nymph with romantic designs on Jupiter assumes lively new dimensions. No courtiers in powdered wigs here. French tenor Jean-Paul Fouchecourt reprises the title role in the production, which was first seen at the 1997 Edinburgh Festival. DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN Metropolitan Opera, March 25-April 22 (cycle 1), April 24-29 (cycle 2), May 1-6 (cycle 3); 212/362-6000. Wagnerians have several chances to see this 16-hour tale of feats and follies both human and divine in Otto Schenk's masterly staging of the Ring Cycle. THE ETERNAL ROAD Brooklyn Academy of Music, Feb. 28-March 5; 718/636-4100. Kurt Weill's monumental oratorio is the centerpiece of BAM's five-part celebration of the iconoclastic composer. The first modern German-language production of this work to be mounted in the United States, it is performed by a cast of several hundred. DANCE Paul Taylor Dance Company, City Center, Feb. 29-March 12; 212/581-1212. The company celebrates its 45th anniversary with two New York premieres — Cascade, set to music by J. S. Bach, and Arabesque, with music by Debussy — and classics from a four-decade-long repertoire.