What If: Art on the Verge of Architecture and Design Moderna Museet (May 6-Sept. 3). What does contemporary art owe to your blender?More than just a penchant for mixing things up, it turns out. With projects by some 30 artists, this show examines the ways in which art borrows from design and architecture, and delves into the cultural and psychological implications of style. —Kim Levin
Désert Fondation Cartier (June 21-Nov. 5). For anyone who has ever been enthralled by a dune, this exhibition is irresistible. Exploring the desert as virgin territory, seductive mirage, and life at degree zero, it offers photographs by 19th-century adventurers, scientific explorers, and other incurable romantics. Don't miss the films by Pasolini and Bill Viola, and a number of specially commissioned artworks.
Brassaï Centre Georges Pompidou (through June 26). Marking the centennial of the great photographer's birth, this major retrospective (with twice as many works as the one currently touring the United States) is the most comprehensive showing ever of his indelible images of urban life.
Elizabeth Taylor National Portrait Gallery (May 18-July 16). This tribute to Liz — Dame Elizabeth to you — includes portraits by Cecil Beaton, film stills, and memorabilia, all the while emphasizing her links to Britain and her work for AIDS organizations.
Cy Twombly: The Sculpture Kunstmuseum Basel (April 15-July 13). Unlike his melancholic paintings — large-scale canvases whose surfaces are marred by his signature scrawls — Twombly's sculpture is nearly unknown. This exhibition presents everything from early assemblages to works that take up his favorite themes: architecture, literature, and loss.
Man Ray: Retrospective 1890-1976 Schirn Kunsthalle (May 28-July 30). Finally, the American photographer and artist who was Marcel Duchamp's Paris sidekick gets his due. Besides Man Ray's quintessential surreal objects, this show of 950 works comprises drawings, paintings, photographs, and experimental Rayographs.
The Glory of the Golden Age Rijksmuseum (through Sept. 17). To celebrate its bicentennial, this venerable museum mounts a major survey of 17th-century Dutch art. Among the 300 works in the lavish show are paintings by Hals, Rembrandt, Ruisdael, and Vermeer.
Alice Neel 1900-1984 Whitney Museum (June 29-Sept. 17). Neel's unconventional portraits of friends, neighbors, family, and fellow denizens of the art community (including Frank O'Hara and Andy Warhol) are as cruel as they are tender. The retrospective explores the evolution of her unique style from the WPA 1930's to her death in 1984.
Painting Revolution: Kandinsky, Malevich, and the Russian Avant-Garde Phoenix Art Museum (through July 2). Reminding us that Paris wasn't the only center of early avant-garde art, this show spotlights 85 familiar and obscure works by 31 revolutionary Russian artists from the first three decades of the 20th century — including Alexander Rodchenko, Natalya Goncharova, and Mikhail Larionov — on loan from Russian museums.
Gabriel Orozco MoCA at California Plaza (June 4-Sept. 3). The first major survey of the Mexican-born art star's playful work, with sculptures, photographs, and works on paper. —K.L.
Here's to you
The Graduate acts up
The 1967 Mike Nichols film that redefined postgrad angst — and plastics — just when America was sliding into a whole new groove has been adapted for the stage. It's minus the Simon and Garfunkel sound track, but with femme fatale Kathleen Turner playing Mrs. Robinson, fans are assured a worthwhile trip down memory lane. (Matthew Rhys is Benjamin Braddock.) The Graduate, Gielgud Theatre, London, through June 17; 44-207/494-5065.
The Witches of Eastwick Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, opens June 24; 44-207/494-5000. Lucie Arnaz plays one of the witches in this musical adaptation of the John Updike novel that also served as the basis of the 1987 film.
Coriolanus The Almeida at Gainsborough Studios, opens June 1; 44-207/359-4404. Ralph Fiennes stars in Shakespeare's tragedy about a Roman war hero who turns against his people. (On Saturdays after the matinee performance of Coriolanus, Fiennes reappears as the lead in an evening performance of Richard II.)
Lautrec Shaftesbury Theatre, through July 15; 44-207/379-5399. With music and lyrics by the French roi de chansons Charles Aznavour, this musical chronicles the last year in the life of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, whose art depicted the demimonde of 19th-century Paris.
Jeff Koons Schauspielhaus, through July 16; 49-40/248-713. In this kitschy production, the artist's controversial works are brought to life, with dialogue set to techno rhythms. Watch (or writhe) as a gang in Warhol wigs sings Madonna's wailer "Frozen."
The Green Bird Cort Theatre, open-ended run; 212/239-6200. The latest fantasy production of Tony Award-winning director and designer Julie Taymor (The Lion King) is an adaptation of an 18th-century Italian fable by Carlo Gozzi.
Proof Manhattan Theatre Club, May 2-July 9; 212/581-1212. Mary-Louise Parker stars in this world premiere about a young woman and her manipulative sister, their brilliant father, and an unexpected suitor — each an element in the solution of a cryptic mathematical equation.
The Wild Party Virginia Theatre, open-ended run; 212/239-6200. The second musical production this spring based on Joseph Moncure March's Jazz Age poem stars Toni Collette as a flapper named Queenie who gets caught up in the decadence of the Roaring Twenties.
The Full Monty Old Globe Theatre, May 23-July 2; 619/239-2255. A musical based on the film about six unemployed working-class men who create their own jobs as down-market versions of the Chippendales.
A Skull in Connemara A Contemporary Theatre (ACT), July 21-Aug. 20; 206/292-7676. In this black comedy by Martin McDonagh — one of the hottest voices in Irish theater — a gravedigger is ordered to unearth his late wife's remains, and rumors begin to fly about his involvement in her sudden death seven years earlier.
Costa Mesa, Calif.
The Education of Randy Newman South Coast Repertory, May 26-July 2; 714/708-5555. Singer-songwriter Randy Newman, famous for the irreverent "Short People," is the subject of this new musical modeled on The Education of Henry Adams.
From the Bauhaus to their house
The crucible of modern design, the Bauhaus may have been short-lived, but its aesthetic aspirations still shape ours. After it was shut down by the Nazis, the earliest Bauhaus buildings were consigned to decay when they fell behind the Iron Curtain. Now Walter Gropius's stark design school in Dessau has been transformed into a museum. And earlier this year, the former quarters for the school's senior faculty — including the house in which the painters Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky lived — opened to the public. Built in the 1920's, these classic monuments of Modernism recall a time when their residents helped set off a cultural revolution.
—Michael Z. Wise
Curated by Jean-Hubert Martin, whose exhibition "Magicians of the Earth" forever axed the word primitive from our vocabulary, Lyons's fifth contemporary art biennial (at Halle Tony Garnier, June 28-Sept. 24) is set to offer a global survey of live-wire art. Entitled "Sharing Exoticism," this display of works by artists from at least 50 countries sprawls through what was once a slaughterhouse.
Not just a job, an adventure
Djibouti, an East African republic roughly the size of Massachusetts, seems an unlikely setting for an American classic. But that's where French director Claire Denis shot Beau Travail, inspired by Herman Melville's Billy Budd. The arid landscapes serve as a vast petri dish for Denis's cool examination of human nature, as she transposes Melville's tale of good and evil among sailors to a far-flung outpost of the Foreign Legion. By day the men perform grueling exercises. On weekends, they unwind in the neon-lit nightclubs of Tadjoura, where Rimbaud once trafficked in arms. Sensual and startling, Denis's film tests the limits of Europe's relation to Africa.
Verdi walks on water
A floating stage on Lake Constance provides the spectacular backdrop for Verdi's A Masked Ball in Richard Jones and Anthony McDonald's sensational production. Indoors: 19th-century Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov's seldom-produced final opera, The Golden Cockerel. And for a more contemporary investigation of the complications of seduction, there's Argentinean Astor Piazzolla's "tango operita" María de Buenos Aires. Bregenz Festival, July 20-Aug. 30; 43-5/574-4070.
Lincoln Center Festival July 11-30; 212/875-5928. Dance takes center stage with the Bolshoi Ballet performing Giselle; Wim Vandekeybus's inventive performance-art piece In Spite of Wishing and Wanting (with a score by David Byrne); and Meredith Monk's Voice Travel, a three-part retrospective of the work of this iconoclastic performance artist.
Salzburg Festival July 23-Aug. 31; 43-662/804-5579. Soprano Dawn Upshaw and baritone Dwayne Croft star in Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho's opera L'Amour de Loin (Love from Afar). Staged by maverick director Peter Sellars, it promises to be the most talked-about production at this renowned festival.
Aix-en-Provence Festival June 15-July 28; 33-442/17-34-34. Four new opera productions ranging from the Baroque era — Monteverdi's vivid Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria — to the 20th century — Janácek's fantastical Makropoulos Affair. Plus, the ever-energetic Pierre Boulez, the guru of Modernist music, conducts four concerts.
Dresden Music Festival May 26-June 12; 49-351/486-6317. Bach's Brandenburg concertos and numerous cantatas mark the 250th anniversary of his death. To leaven the 18th-century polyphony, Cuban octogenarian Rubén González, of Buena Vista Social Club fame, takes his turn at the piano.
Florence Maggio Musicale April 19-June 29; 39-055/211-158. Soprano Mariella Devia and tenor Marcelo Álvarez portray Verdi's tragic lovers in La Traviata, which opens this year's festival. Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea, and the world premiere of contemporary composer Giorgio Battistelli's Impressions d'Afrique round out the operatic offerings.
Drottningholm Court Theater May 31-Sept. 2; 46-8/665-1400. The Royal Swedish Opera and Drottningholm's Teatermuseum present period opera and dance performances with reproductions of original stage settings. Mozart's Così fan tutte and Handel's Tamerlano alternate with two ballets that take a stab at unraveling the Gordian knot of love and power, Semiramis and Médée.
Glyndebourne Festival May 20-Aug. 27; 44-1273/815-000. At this festival, good news comes in threes: a trio of Mozart-Da Ponte collaborations — The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte — and three 20th-century works, including Britten's Peter Grimes.
Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival Aug. 18-Sept. 30; 61-2/9297-2000. Cultural programs encompassing opera, music, dance, and theater are on a scale comparable to the Olympic Games: 4,000 artists, 53 productions, 50 exhibitions, 45 locations. Classical concerts aside, the fare ranges from crowd-pleasing duets to avant-garde dance. Cabaret star Barbara Cook and Australian favorite son David Campbell team up at the Sydney Opera House, while choreographer Bill T. Jones delivers his new work, You Walk?, at Her Majesty's Theatre.
—Mario R. Mercado
Portraits by van Gogh at the Museum Of Fine Arts, Boston, July 2-Sept. 24.
1900: Art at the Crossroads at the Guggenheim, New York, May 19-Sept. 10.
Barbara Kruger's politically charged installations at the Whitney Museum, New York, July 13-Oct. 22.
Eighteenth-century French genre painter Chardin at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art, June 27-Sept. 3.
The Stroganoff family treasures at the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Tex., July 2-Oct. 1.
Ben Shahn's New York at the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., June 10-Aug. 27.
Retrospective of American photographer Walker Evans at San Francisco MOMA, June 2-Sept. 12.
The Work of Charles and Ray Eames at the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art, June 25-Sept. 10.
Artists' favorite Philip Guston at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, May 12-July 30.
Inside/Out: New Chinese Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, through July 9.