TWENTY TOP SHOWS

Ornament in the Form of a Ram
1st century B.C.-1st century A.D.
© Photo Thierry Ollivier / Musee Guimet
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Mar. 1-May 17, 2009
More than 220 lavish treasures from the National Museum of Afghanistan, including many that were hidden away during the country’s civil war and Taliban rule, in a show organized by the National Geographic Society and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The exhibition celebrates Afghanistan’s cultural golden age as the "crossroads of Central Asia" -- dating from 2200 BC to AD 200 -- via works from four archeological sites, including more than 100 gold ornaments from the "Bactrian Hoard." The show, which is supported in Houston by Linn Energy, closes out its four-city U.S. tour at the Metropolitan Museum in June 2009.

Martin Kippenberger
The Happy End of Franz Kafka’s "Amerika"
1994
Installation view at the Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art
Mar. 1-May 11, 2009
The artistic output of the late German artist Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997) -- known for his uninhibited personality as well as his rambunctious art -- is surveyed via a wealth of paintings (including multiple self-portraits), a wide selection of drawings made on hotel stationary, and a huge installation of tables and chairs (inspired by the interview scene in Franz Kafka’s Amerika) given pride of place in the MoMA atrium. Organized by Ann Goldstein, the show premiered at L.A. MOCA, its organizing institution; at MoMA it is overseen by Ann Temkin. The survey is accompanied by a 372-page catalogue co-published by MIT Press.

Video still from Pia Lindman’s Fallow (2000)
Bronx Museum
Mar. 5-July 20, 2009
A year-long, three-part celebration of the Bronx’s most famous thoroughfare (modeled on the Champs-Élysées) begins with a historical look at the transverse avenue designed at the beginning of the 20th century to carry Manhattan residents to parkland in the north Bronx. The show mixes archival materials like a 1935 copy of American Builder Magazine with artworks, including Jay Leyda’s film A Bronx Morning (1931), a 1949 painting by Bronx-born Burgoyne Diller, Gordon Matta-Clark’s Bronx Floors sculpture and photos of Bronx residents taken in 1976 by Helio Oiticica. The show is accompanied by a 150-page catalogue published with Fordham University Press.

Cindy Sherman
Untitled Film Still #28
1979
Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas Museum of Art
Mar. 6-May 3, 2009
Star Trek fans be warned, this is not an exhibition about space travel. Rather, this eclectic selection of 34 works from the Dallas MFA collection, ranging from prints by Japanese ukiyo-e maestro Ando Hiroshige to photos by Rice University photo prof. Geoff Winningham, focuses on depictions of spaces in which the artist provides "visual cues" that reflect the values and ideas of the time. The show is organized by the DMA’s current crop of interns: Cortney Garman, Holly Harrison, Isabel Heyer, Kristina Hilliard, Nico Machida, Kim McCarty, Cara Romano and Christina Zendt.

Yoko Ono
Snow Piece
1963, published in grapefruit 1964
Wunternaum Press, Tokyo
Chelsea Art Museum
Mar. 6-Apr. 11, 2009
Eight Belgian artists and eight American artists -- including Berlinde De Bruyckere, Jen DeNike, Adrian Piper and Joëlle Tuerlinckx -- make work reflecting on the U.N. resolution calling attention to the plight of women in war zones. The show is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium and supported by the Armory Show, among others, and organized by freelance curator Jan Van Woensel.

Norman Rockwell
Triple Self-Portrait (The Saturday Evening Post, February 13, 1960)
1960
Norman Rockwell Museum
Detroit Institute of Arts
Mar. 8-May 31, 2009
This full-on homage to everyone’s favorite kitsch-meister, Norman Rockwell, features the entirety of his Saturday Evening Post covers, alongside a variety of paintings. The show is originally organized by the Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass.

Llyn Foulkes
The Lost Frontier
1997-2005
Courtesy the artist and Kent Gallery
Hammer Museum, UCLA
Mar. 8-May 31, 2009
More than 100 works by nine L.A. artists: Lisa Anne Auerbach, Julie Becker, Llyn Foulkes, Charles Irvin, Hirsch Perlman, Victoria Reynolds, Kaari Upson, Jeffrey Vallance and Charlie White. Curated by Ali Subotnick, this show is fifth of the Hammer’s biannual invitationals designed to highlight local talent.

Franz West
Dorit
2002
Collection of Amalia Dayan and Adam Lindemann
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Mar. 12-June 7, 2009
A retrospective of work by the peerless Austrian artist Franz West, curated by Darsie Alexander for the Baltimore Museum of Art, where it premiered, features everything from early interactive pieces to his bright, colored steel outdoor sculptures.

Jenny Holzer’s Xenon for Berlin (2001)
© Jenny Holzer
Whitney Museum of American Art
Mar. 12-May 29, 2009
The venerable political text artist gets the royal retrospective treatment -- albeit one that focuses specifically on Holzer’s more "decorative and immersive" installations since the mid-‘90s. Curated by Elizabeth Smith of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, where the show originated. Note: this installation does contain flashing lights.

Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller
Opera for a Small Room (detail)
2005
Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine
© Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller
Carnegie Museum of Art
Mar. 14-July 19, 2009
This installation by Cardiff and Bures Miller is described as a shrine to "R. Dennehy," the one-time owner of a trove of opera records the artists purchased in British Columbia. Twenty-four antique speakers pour out music to the accompaniment of pulsing lights in a recreation of an imaginary ramshackle apartment. Visitors are allowed to peer in, but may not enter.

Ernest Leonard Blumenschein
The Extraordinary Affray
1926
Stark Museum of Art
Phoenix Art Museum
Mar. 15-June 14, 2009
Retrospective of work by the Pittsburgh-born, European-trained artist Ernest L. Blumenschein (1874-1960), who founded the Taos Society of Artists (1915-27) and helped bring a modernist sensibility to depictions of the American Southwest. The show is organized in collaboration with the Albuquerque Museum of Art, where it premiered, and the Denver Art Museum, its second stop. The show is accompanied by a 400-page book published by the University of Oklahoma Press.

Jacques Goudstikker’s inventory notebook
Jewish Museum
Mar. 15-Aug. 2, 2009
Forty Old Master paintings from the collection of Amsterdam art dealer Jacques Goudstikker, who died in 1940 while fleeing the Nazis. His collection was looted by Hermann Goering, and has been held by Dutch museums until recently, when Goudstikker's family was able to reclaim 200 of the works. Curated by Peter C. Sutton, the show is funded by Herrick, Feinstein LLP, others.

Titian
Flora
ca. 1516-18
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Mar. 15-Aug. 16, 2009
Some 60 paintings by the three rival master painters of Venice. The exhibition, which is accompanied by an impressive website, presents the works "in dialogue," so that visitors can experience the mutual influencing. A number of the paintings here come straight from the Venetian churches for which they were originally made.

Tim Hyde
Untitled "New York City"
2004
Max Protetch Gallery
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Mar. 20-June 21, 2009
Brooklyn-based artist Tim Hyde gets a showcase for his film installations about the relation of space to perception, including the topical Video panorama of New York City during which the camera failed to distinguish the city from a snowstorm. Along the way, Hyde promises to transform two PMA first-floor galleries into "a filmic device."

Ranjani Shettar
Sun Sneezers Blow Light Bubbles
2008
© Ranjani Shettar
Photo courtesy Talwar Gallery
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Mar. 21-July 7, 2009
Site-specific installations and a group of wood-cut prints by the Bangalore-based artist, known for her spidery abstract touch. The show includes a preview of a group of Shettar sculptures that will form part of SFMoMA's soon-to-open Rooftop Garden.

Bonnie MacLean’s Yardbirds, Doors, Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco (1967) / Moby Grape, Chambers Brothers, Winterland/ Wes Wilson’s Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco (1967)
© 1967 Bill Graham Archives, LLC. www.wolfgangsvault.com<
Denver Art Museum
Mar. 21-July 19, 2009
They don’t call it the "Mile-High City" for nothing -- the era of free love and head trips is back, and it’s in Denver. DAM presents 300 psychedelic posters, album covers, underground newspapers and other items from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s by the likes of Lee Conklin, Rick Griffin, Alton Kelley, Bonnie MacLean, Stanley Mouse, Victor Moscoso, David Singer and Wes Wilson. Also promised are video, music and interactive activities that capture the sights and sounds of the psychedelic era.

Boolean Valley 2008 as installed at the San José Museum of Art
© Montalvo Arts Center
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Mar. 22-July 5, 2009
When you think high art, you think George Boole, the English mathematician who invented so-called "Boolean logic." Or you will after this quirky exhibition, a collaboration between experimental potter Adam Silverman and architect Nader Tehrani, featuring 400 clay objects organized according to a mathematically determined "valley" pattern. Brooke Hodge organizes.

Gustave Caillebotte
Oarsman in a Top Hat
1877-78
Private collection
Brooklyn Museum
Mar. 27-July 5, 2009
About 40 paintings by the man with a reputation as the "Urban Impressionist," focusing on his love of water. As a curiosity, the show offers models and sketches Caillebotte made when he dipped his toe into the world of sailboat design. Curated by Judith F. Dolkart, Dorothee Hansen, Anne-Birgitte Fonsmark and Gry Hedin.

Paul Outerbridge
Images de Deauville
ca. 1936
Museum of Modern Art
Getty Center
Mar. 31-Aug. 9, 2009
Some 100 prints by the legendary American Surrealist photographer (1896-1958), in a show organized by Getty assistant curator Paul Martineau. The display runs the gamut from Outerbridge’s early platinum still-lifes to his later risqué, vaguely sadomasochistic nudes. The Getty accompanies this show with another monographic showcase, focusing on contemporary photographer Jo Ann Callis, whose charged work makes for interesting dialogue with Outerbridge.