At the city’s major art museums, contemporary artists, photography and new media promise to make this spring an exciting one. But while the avant-garde may get all the attention, the season’s biggest blockbuster may come when the Met unveils its new Ancient Greek and Roman galleries, an extensive project 15 years in the making.
The eagerly-awaited “Van Gogh and Expressionism,” opens at the Neue Galerie March 22. The exhibition features more than 80 drawings and paintings by the Impressionist master, as well as works by German and Austrian Expressionists such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Otto Dix. Through July 2. neuegalerie.org
Starting March 27, two exhibitions at the Met –“Europe and the Islamic World: Prints, Drawings and Books” and “Venice and the Islamic World, 828-1797”– explore the cultural exchange between West and the Near East. metmuseum.org
The Japan Society takes on medieval Buddhist art in “Awakenings: Zen Figure Painting in Medieval Japan,” the first international exhibition of its kind in 30 years. March 28 – June 17. japansociety.org
Himalayan works from the collection of the Rubin Museum of Art converse with the spiritual, contemporary photographs of Lynn Davis in “Illumination, Lynn Davis,” an exhibition curated by the artist. April 6-July 16. rmanyc.org
Just in time for the renovation of the Guggenheim’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building, the exhibition “The Shapes of Space,” examines how artists have dealt with the representation, creation and division of space over the past 100 years. Included are installations from contemporary artists Pipilotti Rist, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Piotr Uklanski. April 14-September 5. guggenheim.org
For 15 years, the Met’s director, Philippe de Montebello, has dedicated himself to reinventing the museum’s permanent Greek and Roman Galleries. On April 20, his work is unveiled to the public, when more than 6,000 objects return to view in the reconstructed, 30,000-square-foot wing metmuseum.org
The interplay between line and light is studied in the exhibition, “Gego, Between Transparency and the Invisible” a selection of sculptural drawings without paper, monotypes and woven paper pieces by Venezuelan artist Gertrude Goldschmidt. April 21-July 21 at the Drawing Center. drawingcenter.org
Works dealing with the relationship between painting and the science of seeing will be on display at the Guggenheim, in “Divisionism/Neo-Impressionism: Arcadia and Anarchy,” an exhibition that includes work by French Pointillists Camille Pissarro and Georges Seurat together with work by Italian Divisionists like Angelo Morbelli. April 27-August 6. guggenheim.org
At the Met, “Frank Stella: Painting into Architecture” investigates the link between contemporary art and architecture, through two exhibitions of the work of Frank Stella, including an installation on the museum’s roof. May 1-July 29. metmuseum.org
Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi’s unique take on drawing will be on display at MoMA, when the artist will draw on the museum’s walls during public hours. “Project 85: Dan Perjovschi,” is the artist’s first solo U.S. museum show. May 2-Aug. 27. moma.org
The Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum highlights the work of socially-conscious designers in “Design for the Other 90%,” which showcases affordable objects that service populations living in poverty or recovering from natural disasters. May 4-September 23. ndm.si.edu
The large-scale sculpture of Louise Nevelson is surveyed for the first time in the United States since the ‘80s at the Jewish Museum. Sixty-six sculptures and works on paper, as well as two room-sized installations will be on display May 5 – September 16.
The photographs of gender-bending French surrealist photographer Claude Cahun and her partner Marcel Moore deal with gender, sexuality and identity. “Don’t Kiss Me: The Art of Claude Cahun & Marcel Moore” is on display at the Chelsea Art Museum from May 9-July 25. chelseaartmuseum.org
On May 11, three new exhibitions open at the International Center of Photography. “Biographical Landscape: The Photography of Stephen Shore, 1969-1979,” features Shore’s large-format color photography of the roadside landscape of Texas. In “Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits,” 86 photographs from the National Portrait Gallery tell the story of 150 years of black history. Another exhibition of portraiture, “Amelia Earhart: Image and Icon,” looks at the way the iconic pilot was represented in the magazines and newspapers of her day. Through September 9. icp.org
Everyday objects get the full artistic treatment by the artists in the exhibition, “Hidden in Plain Sight: Contemporary Photographs from the Collection,” which includes work by Gabriel Orozco, Jean-Marc Bustamante and Damián Ortega, among others. At the Met, May 15-September 3. metmuseum.org
Six new works by Leipzig painter Neo Rauch will be on display at the Met in the third installment of the museum’s series of exhibitions of living artists. “Neo Rauch at the Met: para” opens May 22. metmuseum.org
Take a trip back in time at the Whitney with “Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era” on view from May 24 – Sept 16. Painting, photography and sculpture as well as posters, album covers and underground magazines by era-defining artists like Richard Avedon, Lynda Benglis, Robert Indiana and Jimi Hendrix explore the relationship between the social unrest and creative output of the ‘60s and ‘70s. whitney.org
MoMA hosts a retrospective of 40 years of sculpture by Richard Serra in an exhibition so big, they had to renovate part of the museum. “Richard Serra Sculpture: 40 Years,” features 27 large-scale works in industrial materials from throughout the artist’s career. June 3-September 10. moma.org
Photo: The Met unveils its reinvented Greek and Roman galleries on April 20.