Aztecs And Old Masters

Museums opening here, in Washington and New York


September 02, 2004|By Glenn McNatt | Glenn McNatt,SUN ART CRITIC

The fall art season promises a little something for everyone this year, with important shows on everything from impressionist art and Dutch Old Masters to treasures from ancient China and the art of the Aztecs.

In Baltimore, it's largely a retrospective mood that will dominate the major museum shows. At the Walters Art Museum, the 19th-century French countryside is the star of The Road to Impressionism: Landscapes from Corot to Monet.

The Baltimore Museum of Art weighs in with its version of the dewy dappled look with In Monet's Light: Theodore Robinson at Giverny. Robinson, a great admirer of Monet, was one of the most important American impressionists after Mary Cassatt.

In Washington, there are shows that look to the past and the future. The National Gallery of Art presents a major retrospective of American contemporary artist Dan Flavin next month, then looks at the dazzling art of the 17th-century Dutch master Gerard ter Borch in November.

At the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the work of performance artist Ana Mendieta will be the subject of a major retrospective next month; also that month, the Corcoran Museum of Art will present recent paintings by contemporary artist Caio Fonseca, and the Phillips Collection offers the magical art of modernists Alexander Calder and Joan Miro.

This month will see the opening of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall, which promises to be a highlight of the season. In New York, the Museum of Modern Art will reopen in November after a two-year renovation.

And later this fall, Baltimore's newest museum, the much-anticipated Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, is scheduled to open its doors.

Look for sparks to fly when Sanford Biggers, the brash New Yorker whose sculptures, videos and performances blend African, Asian and Christian philosophy, brings his work to Baltimore's Contemporary Museum next month.

And don't you dare miss this season's show at the American Visionary Art Museum, where the kind of ingenious exhibition we've come to expect, titled Holy H2O, presents an intriguing social history of water -- its spiritual, religious and environmental dimensions, as well the ubiquitous role it plays in everyday life.

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