American Beauties

3 minute read
Richard Lacayo

Lucian Freud: Portraits

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

By the last half of the 20th century, portraiture was supposed to be a dying art form. Good thing the great British artist Lucian Freud, who died last year at age 88, never got the news. His profound inspection of the human face and form, from his finely delineated early work to the magma flows of pigment that marked his mature style, was never less than thrilling. (7/1–10/28)

Dario Robleto’s The Melancholic Refuses to Surrender, made from, among other things, men’s broken hand bones

More Real? Art in the Age of Truthiness

Site, Santa Fe, N.M.

Just the thing for a summer of endless political campaigning: a survey of painting, photography, video and installation art, from a global selection of artists, that plays with half-truths, illusions and deceptive realities. You won’t believe your eyes. And really, you shouldn’t. (7/7–January 2013)

Skyscraper: Art and Architecture Against Gravity

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

In the town that invented the skyscraper, this show looks at how the tall building–its forms, its romance, its sheer inhuman immensity–has infiltrated the work of artists who dream big. Or at least dream about bigness. The marquee names include Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg and Gabriel Orozco. (6/30–9/23)

Made in L.A. 2012

Hammer Museum and other venues

The city’s first biennial, with work by 60 artists

George Bellows

National Gallery of Art, Washington

Just 42 when he died in 1925, George Bellows was one of the first great painters of city life in America. This large retrospective also includes his seascapes, sunlit sporting scenes and portraits. (6/10–10/8)

Os Gmeos

Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, the Brazilian brothers called Os Gmeos (the Twins), are two of the best-known street artists to make the transition from city blocks to gallery walls–inside and out. For this show, their first solo exhibition in the U.S., they’ll make a site-specific work on the museum’s exterior. They mix music, pop imagery, the mad bustle of daily life in So Paulo and Brazilian folk culture into big, dazzling fever dreams. (8/1–11/25)

Gauguin, Czanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia

Philadelphia Museum of Art

To examine how the ancient dream of paradise entered the modern imagination, the Philadelphia Museum brings together three great epic-scale paintings, Paul Gauguin’s Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?, Paul Czanne’s The Large Bathers and Henri Matisse’s Bathers by a River (below). Art-historical mashups don’t get much better than this. (6/20–9/3)

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