The Art of Fashion
London Imperfect Beauty Victoria and Albert Museum (through March 18). Examining the process behind the glitz of contemporary fashion photography, this show goes directly to the source. Find out what really went into Prada's recent ad campaigns, Corinne Day's controversial "heroin chic," and the transformation of Kate Moss into, well, Kate Moss. Art directors and stylists finally get their due.
William Blake Tate Britain (Nov. 9–Feb. 11). In a major show of some 400 works, the Tate takes a new look at the visionary British poet and artist (1757–1827), grouping his work into four thematic sections. Engravings, manuscripts, illuminated books–and even a reconstruction of the artist's studio–tell of Blake's relation to poet John Milton and his fascination with medieval art, as well as his interest in the radical politics of the French Revolution.
Paris Édouard Manet: The still-life paintings Musée d'Orsay (Oct. 9–Jan. 7). Most famous for his bold picnic on the grass and his daring Olympia, Manet seems an unlikely candidate for an exhibition of still lifes. Yet he made a surprising number of forays into the genre, all of which are assembled here.
China The Glory of the Emperors Petit Palais (Nov. 2–Jan. 28). A collection of more than 200 works discovered in the past 25 years, this show casts a whole new light on the art of China's first dynasties. Look for a set of terra-cotta soldiers, each distinctly individual.
Rome Sandro Botticelli and the Divine Comedy Scudiere Papali al Quirinale (through Dec. 3). The Renaissance master whose name is most closely associated with angels took on heaven and hell in 92 drawings that illustrate Dante's Divine Comedy. Selections from Dante's original manuscripts accompany Botticelli's work.
New York Giorgio Armani Guggenheim Museum (Oct. 20–Jan. 17). The proposed Chanel show came a cropper at the Met, but Issey Miyake's pleats were a hit at the Fondation Cartier in Paris last year. So why shouldn't the Guggenheim mount its own ode to a world-famous designer?Certainly Armani's tailoring is sublime. And with theatrical genius Robert Wilson in charge of the installation, it just might hang together.
Edward Steichen Whitney Museum of American Art (Oct. 5–Feb. 4). Steichen's photographs range from portraits (Louise Brooks, Winston Churchill) and fashion shots for Vogue to documentary images of both world wars. His first major retrospective in 40 years also showcases his paintings, the textiles he designed, and his role as a curator of exhibitions, among them the seminal 1955 photographic survey The Family of Man at the Museum of Modern Art.
The Golden Deer of Eurasia Metropolitan Museum of Art (Oct. 12–Feb. 4). Known as the Filippovka find, a vast array of animals, ornately carved and overlaid in gold, was excavated in the late 1980's from a single site on the southern Russian steppes. These 100 objects, made by Eurasian nomads in the first millennium b.c., will be joined by 85 works from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.
Ruskin's Italy, Ruskin's England Morgan Library (through Jan. 7). The British critic's diaries, manuscripts, drawings, and sketchbooks reveal a staggering precocity, a tormented personal life, and the sensibility of one of the 19th century's most influential thinkers on art.
Washington, D.C. Art Nouveau National Gallery (Oct. 8–Jan. 28). Organized in collaboration with London's V&A, where it premiered last spring, this show celebrates one of the most innovative aesthetic movements of the 20th century. One section of this American version is devoted to the decorative arts exposition held in Turin in 1902, another to the designs of Chicago native Louis Sullivan.
Pittsburgh The Arts of Jean Cocteau Andy Warhol Museum (Nov. 5–Jan. 28). Like Warhol himself, Cocteau embraced a breadth of styles in art and life. Best known for his novels and plays, he also designed stage sets (for Stravinsky, among others), made numerous films including a Beat version of the Greek myth Orpheus, and befriended Picasso, Chaplin, and the Prince of Wales. Fittingly, the exhibition is multifaceted, too, with artworks, ephemera, and manuscripts, as well as a film program and several performances of Cocteau's plays.
Louisville Linda McCartney's Sixties: Portrait of an Era Speed Art Museum (through Nov. 12). McCartney may have started out just "being there," but the former Linda Eastman had a remarkable talent for snapping casually dramatic pictures that captured the rocking spirit of the sixties. Images of Frank Zappa, Bob Dylan, and, of course, the Beatles abound.
Atlanta Chorus of Light: Photographs from the Sir Elton John Collection High Museum of Art (Nov. 4–Jan. 28). Celebrity also plays a role in Elton John's personal trove of works by more than 100 photographers, who range from early American innovators Berenice Abbott and Edward Weston to enfants terribles Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano. Installed salon-style (as they are in the star's residences), these pictures prove that the titled pop singer has not only a voice but an eye.
Houston Romantics, Realists, Revolutionaries: 19th-Century German Masterpieces from the Museum of Fine Arts, Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Oct. 22–Jan. 28). Works by Caspar David Friedrich, Arnold Böcklin, Lovis Corinth, and a slew of less familiar names represent the development of German painting from the Nazarenes, who fantasized about 15th-century Italian style (before the Pre-Raphaelites in England did the same) to the German Impressionists, Symbolists, and Secessionists.
Los Angeles Made in California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900–2000 Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Oct. 22–Feb. 25). With some 800 works of art – and hundreds more movie posters, magazines, postcards, orange-crate labels, and other memorabilia – this show explores how the arts shaped popular images of the Golden State.
Paul Mccarthy MOCA at the Geffen Contemporary (Nov. 12–Jan. 21). Famous for his regressive performances with the psychically charged stuff of childhood – e.g. ketchup – California-based artist Paul McCarthy (not to be confused with Paul McCartney) is one of the most influential creators around. He's also among the least acknowledged.The first American survey of his bad-boy art rectifies that. With more than 100 of his outrageous sculptures, elaborate video installations, performance photographs, and nasty drawings, it aims at pinning down his wayward 30-year evolution, as well as his impact on generations of L.A. artists.
San Francisco Celebrating Modern Art: The Anderson Collection San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (Oct. 7–Jan. 15). The largest show since the museum's inception comprises the work of 140 blue-chip artists, among them Giacometti, Jackson Pollock, and Richard Diebenkorn. All were amassed by preeminent Bay Area husband-and-wife team Harry W. ("Hunk") and Mary Margaret ("Moo") Anderson.
- Photographs commissioned by the Countess de Castiglione, documenting the 19th-century beauty's public and private fantasies, at the metropolitan museum of art, New York, through Dec. 31.
- Retrospective of Abstract Expressionist painter Lee Krasner at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, Oct. 6–Jan. 7. Sol LeWitt: A Retrospective at the whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Dec. 7–Feb. 25.
To the Max With the opening of contemporary art museums everywhere you turn, more and more masterworks of postwar American art are showing up in unlikely places on the Continent. Now add northern Italy to the itinerary. Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo has donated his 18th-century villa in Varese, along with a spectacular collection of 2,500 artworks, to the Italian Environmental Fund, which spent $4 million to restore the villa. The gallery's star attractions were amassed by Panza over the past five decades: brash assemblages by Robert Rauschenberg and Claes Oldenburg; the Minimalist boxes of Carl Andre and Donald Judd; and the sublime installations of Dan Flavin and James Turrell. The ticket office, designed by architect Gae Aulenti, adds an Italian touch.
by Design The Vitra Museum, housed in a spectacular Frank Gehry–designed building in Weil-am-Rhein, Germany (58 Kopenhagener Str.; 49-30/473-7770), has brought together one of the world's most extensive collections of modern furniture. Now there's a new Berlin branch. Retrospectives devoted to Luis Barragán and Mies van der Rohe are in the pipeline.
In New York, "Masterpieces from the Vitra Design Museum" is currently on view at the Cooper-Hewitt (Oct. 10–Feb. 4). –Michael Z. Wise
In The Mood For Love
Almost nothing remains of the Hong Kong in which director Kar-Wai Wong spent his childhood. So he went to Bangkok to shoot his latest film, In the Mood for Love. Opening next month, it's a romance set in 1962 Hong Kong's exiled Shanghai community. Best known stateside for Chungking Express, a fast-paced comedy that takes place on one Hong Kong street corner, Kar-Wai Wong has an ultra-contemporary sensibility that seems tailor-made for capturing his hometown's perpetual motion. But In the Mood for Love, in which the curve of a woman's neck or a man's downcast eyes speak volumes, is laced with melancholy grandeur. Of the final scenes, shot at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the director says: "The temple is a great museum – of jealousy, passion, and regret." –Leslie Camhi
- Retrospective of American photographer Walker Evans at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Dec. 17–Mar. 4.
- From Renoir to Picasso at the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Nov. 12–Feb. 25.
In Search of Marcel Proust
By adapting Marcel Proust's semiautobiographical opus for the stage, London theater legend Harold Pinter joins this year's parade of Proust devotées. There's Jean-Yves Tadié's biography Marcel Proust: A Life; Roger Shattuck's Proust's Way, A Field Guide to In Search of Lost Time; Raoul Ruiz's film, Time Regained; and – as if reading Proust's 4,000-.