GOING FOR BAROQUE WITH AN ITALIAN PALETTE: THE GENIUS OF ROME 15921623
Royal Academy of Arts (through April 16).
At the end of the 16th century, Rome was not only the papal seat but also the center of a dramatic new style. This exhibition draws from collections across Italy to explore the origins of the Baroque, presenting more than 145 paintings by 50 artists who gravitated to the Eternal City, among them Caravaggio, Rubens, Van Dyck, and several named Carracci.
CENTURY CITY: ART AND CULTURE IN THE MODERN METROPOLIS
Tate Modern (Feb. 1April 29).
Burrowing into the souls of nine cities that played key cultural roles in the 20th century, this exhibition leaps from the obvious (Paris and Vienna in the 1910's) to the unexpected (Rio in the 50's, Lagos in the 60's, and Bombay in the 90's). The choices may be arguable, but that's part of the fun.
INVENTING NEW BRITAIN: THE VICTORIAN VISION
Victoria And Albert Museum (April 5July 29).
Queen Victoria's decisive role in shaping modern British life—she presided over the beginnings of the seaside vacation and football fandom—is conveyed with objects and images relating to evolution, celebrity, sex, trade, and technology.
Whitney Museum of American Art (March 22June 10).
Proposing that "nothing since the invention of photography has had a greater impact on visual art than digital media," Whitney curator Lawrence Rinder gathers work by some 40 artists who use computers, digital cameras, software programs, and the Internet to make visceral, shape-shifting art.
Museum of Modern Art (March 4May 15).
Some 50 of the German artist's stunning large-scale photographs of public and private spaces—hotel lobbies, stock exchanges, apartment blocks, airport lounges—offer a bird's-eye view of life in a late-capitalist era.
VERMEER AND THE DELFT SCHOOL
Metropolitan Museum of Art (March 8May 27).
In addition to the usual refined domestic images of the Dutch masters, this large exhibition presents history pictures, princely portraits, and lavish decorative art. The highlight?Fifteen transcendent works by Vermeer.
COMMITTED TO THE IMAGE: CONTEMPORARY BLACK PHOTOGRAPHERS
Brooklyn Museum (Feb. 16-April 29).
African-American photographers from around the country bear witness to personal, social, and aesthetic change over the past 50 years. Gordon Parks, Carrie Mae Weems, and Albert Chong are among the elders.
WAYNE THIEBAUD: A PAINTINGS RETROSPECTIVE
Phillips Collection (Feb. 10April 29).
Thiebaud's cakes, gum-ball machines, and suburban vistas lathered with painterly icing were always sweeter than Pop art. So it's only fitting that the California artist should get a retrospective of 100 oil paintings, watercolors, and pastels in celebration of his 80th birthday.
BEYOND THE EASEL: DECORATIVE PAINTINGS BY BONNARD, VUILLARD, DENIS, AND ROUSSEL 18901930
Art Institute of Chicago (Feb. 25May 28).
Long before Modernism equaled strict formalism, the guiding radical idea was decoration. Some 85 dazzling paintings and screens, created for French interiors, are in this show, which considers the implications of that luxuriant legacy.
POP ART: U.S./U.K. CONNECTIONS, 19561966
Menil Collection (through May 13).
The all-American art style of the sixties was not as exclusively American as it pretended to be. The truth is that media-savvy Brits such as Richard Hamilton and David Hockney had been doing it since the fifties. An array of works from both sides of the Atlantic sets the record straight.
MOCA (through May 6).
Organized by artist Takashi Murakami, whose work is inspired by the Japanese cartoon culture known as manga, this exhibition shows manga's influence on new Japanese art. It also reveals that the perversely cute cartoon style is a direct descendant of traditional wood-block prints.
SHACKING UP AT THE GUGGENHEIM
Hardly anyone expected the coveted Hugo Boss Prize, previously bestowed on high-profile artists Matthew Barney and Douglas Gordon, to go to Slovenian Marjetica Potrc. Few people this side of the Atlantic had even heard of her. After beating out such short-listed heavy hitters as Vito Acconci and Barry Le Va, Potrc will now fill Frank Lloyd Wright's Modernist Guggenheim with her shanty-town shacks. These modest, anti-monumental, and very smart architectural installations take an unsentimental look at urban realities—and promise to be an eye-opener. Guggenheim Museum, Fifth Ave. at 89th St., New York; through April 29.
Hungary's answer to Louis Comfort Tiffany, Miksa Roth fashioned brilliantly hued stained-glass windows and mosaics for virtually every major fin de siècle building in his country. Working in Budapest, he pieced together images as diverse as junglescapes and portraits of Hungarian heroes. His city home is now a museum; some rooms still have their original Arts and Crafts furniture. Don't expect much English from the wall texts, but do check out Roth's immodest memoirs—he liked to quote his own fan mail. One letter gushes, "Anyone who looks at those windows becomes a better person." Miksa Roth Glass Museum, 26 Nefelejcs Utca, Budapest. —Eve Kahn
Brassaï: The Soul of Paris at the Hayward Gallery, London, Feb. 22May 13.
Botticelli's Dante: The Drawings for the Divine Comedy at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, March 17June 10.
Yes Yoko Ono at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, March 10June 17.
Noble Dreams, Wicked Pleasures: Orientalism in America, 18701930 at the Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, N.C., Feb. 3April 22.
Jacob Lawrence at the Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Ky., Feb. 6April 22.
Modern Architecture in Central Europe at the Getty Center, Los Angeles, Feb. 20May 6.
Manet: The Still Life Paintings at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Md., through April 22.
Walker Evans at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, through March 4.
The Triumph of French Painting: Masterpieces from Ingres to Matisse at the Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach, Fla., through March 11.
Norman Rockwell at the Phoenix art Museum, through May 6.