Best in Show
Charles-Édouard Jeanneret didn't start using the pseudonym Le Corbusier until 1922. But as early as 1905 (when he was just 18), he was drawing, making furniture, and designing villas in the French countryside. "Le Corbusier Before Le Corbusier," at New York's Bard Graduate Center, traces the steps that gave birth to Corbu, whose architecture changed the urban landscape—from Rio de Janeiro to Chandigarh (Nov. 22—Feb. 23). ¶ "The Adventures of Hamza" at New York's Brooklyn Museum reunites 58 of the 200-odd surviving paintings from a suite of 1,400 epic illustrations. Commissioned by the Moghul emperor Akbar between 1557 and 1572, these boldly ornamental works were painted by a group of Persian and Hindu artists to depict the exploits of Amir Hamza (an uncle of the prophet Muhammad), and his encounters with demons, dragons, and giants. The paintings haven't been seen together since the 18th century (Nov. 1—Jan. 26).
• For four decades, Sigmar Polke has been manipulating existing imagery—printers' errors, photos of Hemingway—look-alike—contests, spy satellite pictures—to produce works of an inexplicable beauty. "Sigmar Polke," at the Dallas Museum of Art, presents nearly 50 works from the past four years by this widely influential German painter of the pop cultural sublime (Nov. 15—March 31).
• "Francis Picabia: Retrospective" at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris gathers the puzzling output of the 20th-century enfant terrible who shed styles so fast no one could keep up. Ranging from his early machine-age abstractions to the wonderfully tacky true-romance realism of his 1940's canvases, this show suggests that Picabia's sensibility was postmodern long before anyone knew what the word meant (Nov. 8—March 16). —Kim Levin