Art Exhibitions in 2013: Art Worth Traveling For

The theme for this month’s ArtSmart Roundtable is “art worth traveling for.” There certainly is a lot of art out there that is worth traveling for, from the sculptures that line the piazzas and streets of Italy to the ornate temples of Asia. Of course, there are the numerous exhibitions that are always occurring around the world; in fact, I spent some of my earlier travels just visiting exhibitions in cities like London and Munich. Have you added art exhibitions in 2013 to your travel plans?

As I will explain in an upcoming post, I expect 2013 to be a relatively slow year for me travel-wise. I have a lot going on in my personal life, but I still love to dream about the places I would like to go. The following picks for great art exhibitions in 2013 in the United States and Italy got my wanderlust going. What about you? (Links to the museums’ websites are in orange below.) (For the fourth and last two exhibitions, I found images of the artists’ work to share with you but do not know if those exact pieces will be in the exhibition.)

Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis

de Young Museum, San Francisco, California:  January 26 – June 2, 2013

A collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age by 30 artists including Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals.

Girl with a Pearl Earring San Francisco

Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, 1665

Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City: February 26 – May 27, 2013

At one of my favorite museums (I was fortunate to visit NYC frequently as a child), this collection of paintings, period costumes, accessories, and more provides a survey of the important role fashion played in art of the time period (mid-1860s to mid-1880s), when Paris was the capital of fashion.

monet garden

Claude Monet’s Women in a Garden, 1866-1867

Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Masterpieces of Modern Mexico

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri: June 1 – August 18, 2013

Jacques and Natasha Gelman were wealthy Europeans who adopted Mexico as their second home. After becoming citizens there in 1942, they supported many Mexican artists and acquired a huge collection of valuable art, including the more than 100 works that will be displayed in this exhibition.

frida kahlo exhibit

Frida Kahlo’s Self-Portrait with Monkeys, 1943

Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris

National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.: September 29, 2013 – January 5, 2014

Charles Marville is a photographer whom I had not heard of, but I would love to see this show.  I love photography, including old photography when the artist’s ability to create great images depended just on his or her use of the elements of photography. This exhibition of around 100 photographs are mostly of Paris, including architecture and landscapes, and span Marville’s his entire career. What an excellent way to see what life was like in Paris in the 19th century.

Charles Marville exhibit

Pont des Saints Péres, 1877

The Springtime of the Renaissance: Sculpture and the Arts in Florence 1400-1460

Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy: March 23 – August 18, 2013

I am a sucker for analyses of the Italian Renaissance and have even tried to help others understand the transformations that took place in art in this period (by guiding people to see the art chronologically, for example, so that they can see the development of artistic innovations step by step).

Palazzo Strozzi is a museum that cares deeply about the visitor’s experience, so it’s no surprise that this exhibition will carefully guide visitors through the tough topic of Early Renaissance art. The exhibition will illustrate the early developments of the Italian Renaissance, mostly through sculpture, by displaying the work in separate themes.

Springtime of the Renaissance

One of the works that marks the beginning of the Renaissance: The Sacrifice of Isaac by Ghiberti in 1401

Rembrandt’s Century

de Young Museum, San Francisco, California: January 26 – June 2, 2013

This exhibition complements the above-mentioned Girl with a Pearl Earring exhibition at the same museum. This large collection of works on paper from the 17th century includes many by Rembrandt, whom the de Young calls :arguably his generation’s most influential artist.” As a fan of works on paper since doing my undergraduate thesis on the German printmaker Kaethe Kollwitz, I love the possibility of seeing such “small” works that often reflect more ordinary scenes and details from the artists’ lives and surroundings.

Rembrant San Francisco

The Shell, 1650

Roman Vishniac Rediscovered 
We Went Back: Photographs from Europe 1933-1956 by Chim

International Center for Photography, New York City: January 18 – May 5, 2013

These two exhibitions highlight two photographers who documented life in Europe before, during, and after World War II. Roman Vishniac’s powerful work documents Jewish life before World War II, and Chim’s work as a photojournalist focuses on politics, culture, and workers’ rights from various parts of Europe.

Vishniac exhibit

Recalcitrance, a scene of Berlin by Roman Vishniac, 1926.

Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York: February 8 – August 4, 2013

I happened upon an exhibition of the Brazilian artist Vik Muniz once in São Paulo and was amazed by his use of found objects to create large artworks. El Anatsui, who is from Ghana, also finds new life for found materials, such as bottle caps and wire. The result is huge floor and wall sculptures, more than 30 of which are on display in this exhibition.

el anatsui

Photo credit: See-ming Lee from Flickr

Those are my picks for art exhibitions in 2013 that I would love to see. I expect to see the ones in San Francisco, but you never know…I may just make it to some of the others. Which of these would you most like to see? Do you have other suggestions for great art exhibitions in 2013?

For more ArtSmart posts on the topic of art worth traveling for, please check out these:

From Erin of A Sense of Place: “Wait, You Want Me to Go to Liverpool to See Art?” 

From Lesley of Culture Tripper: “The power and the glory of San Vitale, Ravenna 

From Christina of Daydream Tourist: “A Day in Medieval Europe at the Cloisters, New York City” 

From Kelly of Travellious: “Richard Serra’s Band Sculpture

From our newest member, Murissa of The Wanderfull Traveler: “Art Worth Traveling For in Rural Italy”

From Jeff or Eurotravelogue: “Art Museums Worth Traveling For”

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23 Responses to Art Exhibitions in 2013: Art Worth Traveling For

  1. Laurel- Capturing la Vita 03/05/2013 at 1:22 am #

    “…even tried to help others understand the transformations that took place in art in this period (by guiding people to see the art chronologically, for example, so that they can see the development of artistic innovations step by step).” This is exactly what I do! I encourage a visit to the Uffizi and to really notice the transition and growth as you walk through. That museum is just PERFECT for it!

    Looking forward to the next Strozzi exhibit. Going today to see the current one. It hasn’t really pulled me in, but I have never been disappointed there.
    Laurel- Capturing la Vita recently posted..A Mom Traveling Solo- And Some Opinions About itMy Profile

    • Jenna 03/05/2013 at 6:14 pm #

      You and I need to meet one day. So much in common :) And the more I hear about your tours, the more I think they sound wonderful.

  2. Jeff Titelius 03/05/2013 at 9:20 am #

    What an extraordinary lineup my friend! I am so HAPPY you included Vermeer’s visit to US!! I have been a fan of that painting for a LONG time and actually fortunate enough to see in the Mauritshuis Royal Picture Gallery last march in The Hague, Netherlands! And of course, I am a sucker too for all things Italian Renaissance!! Great post!
    Jeff Titelius recently posted..A Journey Through Warsaw’s Past and PresentMy Profile

    • Jenna 03/05/2013 at 6:15 pm #

      I hope to get to that very exhibition so I’ll let you know how it is when I get to see that painting as you did.

  3. bringingtravelhome 03/05/2013 at 9:48 am #

    great line up! I would love to see the NYC and DC photo exhibits – I love photos from that time period. And especially in places like paris. There is an incredible slideshow on the web site, Curious Eggs, on rare color photography in the early 20th C in Paris you should check out. It made such an impression because we can only imagine the past in Black and White – and seeing it in color changes everything.
    bringingtravelhome recently posted..grand island mansionMy Profile

    • Jenna 03/05/2013 at 6:16 pm #

      Thanks for the tip. Will check it out.

  4. ehalvey 03/05/2013 at 3:12 pm #

    I need to see the Marville! I hadn’t heard of Marville either, but I LOVE old photography.
    ehalvey recently posted..ArtSmart Roundtable: Wait, You Want Me to Go to Liverpool to See Art?My Profile

    • Jenna 03/05/2013 at 6:16 pm #

      Me too

  5. Maria 03/05/2013 at 5:50 pm #

    Nice pics for 2013. Always remember to check your local college/university art departments as well so if you can’t get out outta town, you can still get away… at least for a few hours.
    Maria recently posted..Catch and ReleaseMy Profile

    • Jenna 03/05/2013 at 6:18 pm #

      Great tip!! If we look, there are usually good ones nearby. There is a good local one near here in Stockton, California that a friend of mine mentioned, but I didn’t have an image to use to put it in this post. It’s a photography exhibition about the bracero program here in CA.

  6. Christina 03/05/2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Thanks, what a great list! I remember reading about this Impressionism & Fashion exhibit in Paris but didn’t realize it was coming to the US! So clearly I am taking a long weekend to NYC soon. :) Can’t wait to hear what you think of the de Young exhibits.

    For art with a powerful political and social commentary, I would recommend Ai Weiwei’s “According to What?” which is amazing. It just wrapped up in DC and is headed to the Indianapolis Museum of Art (April 5 – July 28) then the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (August – October) and finally to Miami and Brooklyn.
    Christina recently posted..ArtSmart Roundtable – Medieval Europe at the Cloisters, New York CityMy Profile

  7. Lesley Peterson 03/05/2013 at 7:50 pm #

    Wow, thanks for the head’s up, Jenna. I had no idea the Girl with a Pearl Earring would not be in Holland this spring. I should be there for the reopening of the Rijksmuseum and was planning a quick trip to the Hague to see this particular work:o The Frida & Diego show was just at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Royal Ontario Museum has several works by El Anatsui. Definitely art worth traveling for!
    Lesley Peterson recently posted..ArtSmart Roundtable: mosaics of the Basilica of San Vitale, RavennaMy Profile

    • Jenna 03/05/2013 at 10:11 pm #

      How fun that you are going to be in Holland this spring! I look forward to visiting the Rijksmuseum one day.

  8. The Wanderfull Traveler 03/05/2013 at 8:44 pm #

    I too enjoy old photography from its budding days and am especially intrigued by the photos by Chim.
    Being from a smaller city I don’t get to see many great exhibitions unless they come to Vancouver. The last exhibition I really enjoyed was the Surrealism show of which Frieda Kahlo was included. Surprisingly I know only some of her background (aside from her marriage and the film etc) since my professor wanted to give relatively unknown female Surrealists their due.
    Her work is so colourful and yet melancholy (not sure if that’s the word for it)
    I would travel to Kansas for the BBQ and now one more reason…

    The Wanderfull Traveler recently posted..Art Worth Traveling For in Rural ItalyMy Profile

    • Jenna 03/05/2013 at 10:12 pm #

      I also am from a smaller city (well, not too small), but San Francisco is less than 2 hours away, so I can go there for good exhibitions. However, it’s often hard for me to find time away from my kids to do it, and one of them is too young to take to a good art show still.

  9. Sand in my Suitcase 03/05/2013 at 11:33 pm #

    The Dutch paintings exhibition is reason alone to woo us back to San Francisco. Thanks for the great list!
    Sand in my Suitcase recently posted..Botanical Kauai: the whimsical Allerton and McBryde GardensMy Profile

    • Jenna 03/06/2013 at 8:38 pm #

      I hope to see it! I live in Sacramento, so I have no excuse not to go!

  10. Dale 06/21/2013 at 2:29 am #

    It’s such a shame that the majority of these exhibitions are in the US as I don’t think we’ll be in the country this year at all.
    Dale recently posted..Break Free – The Ultimate Guide To HousesittingMy Profile

    • Jenna 06/21/2013 at 7:12 am #

      As I was researching the exhibitions that are happening in many of the world’s major cities for this post, I found myself drawn to many of the exhibitions that happen to be in the U.S. this year. Just my preference, but certainly there are many fantastic ones all over the world this year and every year.

  11. mark 12/17/2013 at 4:49 am #

    One of the best exhibitions of 2013 is the Madge Gill: Medium & Visionary exhibition at Orleans House Gallery. This free retrospective brings together over a hundred stunning works by the UK’s leading outsider artist – many of which have never been shown to the public before.

    There is still time to see it – it ends on 26 January 2014.

    • Jenna 12/17/2013 at 9:24 pm #

      Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll check it out.


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