Arts Agenda: Festivals, major exhibits share stage as spring winds down


A variety of festivals dot the arts calendar in May and June, with events taking place in Charleston, S.C.; Toronto; Leicester, England; and Cannes, France. Meanwhile, major exhibitions here and abroad focus on such artists as Nevelson, Hopper, Corot, Munch and Monet.



Boston -- One of America's most popular 20th century artists is the subject of a major retrospective at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston through Aug. 19. "Edward Hopper" features nearly 100 watercolors, paintings and prints, including his most famous work, "Nighthawks," shown here.

Charleston, S.C. -- The Spoleto Festival USA, featuring U.S. premieres of theater, dance and opera from throughout the world, takes place from May 25 to June 10. Highlights include a new concert work by composer Philip Glass, the first U.S. performances by the State Ballet of Georgia and the return of the Gate Theatre of Dublin.

Chicago -- More than 30 monumental sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle, covered in glass, mosaics and mirrors, are the attraction in "Niki in the Garden" at the Garfield Park Conservatory through Oct. 31.

Claremont, Calif. -- The new Claremont Museum of Art, which just opened its doors in a renovated citrus packing house about 30 miles east of Los Angeles, features the work of a local artist in its opening exhibition. "A Conversation With Color: Karl Benjamin, Paintings 1953-1995" runs through June 25. 

Hartford, Conn. -- Nearly 400 works from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art's collection of Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo art are on display through Dec. 9 in the exhibition, "Faith and Fortune: Five Centuries of European Masterpieces."

Jamestown, Va. -- The 400th anniversary of the first English settlement in North America is being celebrated this year, with the top event, America's Anniversary Weekend, held at the Jamestown Settlement, Historic Jamestown and Anniversary Park, May 11 to 13. The event, featuring appearances by top U.S. and British dignitaries, includes musical performances and cultural events.

Los Angeles -- "Zoopsia: New Works by Tim Hawkinson" at the J. Paul Getty Museum through Sept. 9, treats viewers to a menagerie of zoological forms using common household and industrial items and reconfigured images of Hawkinson's own body.

New Haven, Conn. -- Paul Mellon, a renowned art collector who gave millions of dollars and significant works of art to museums, is being celebrated with exhibitions in his honor here and in Washington (see below). To mark the centennial of his birth, the Yale Center for British Art, which Mellon founded, features "Paul Mellon's Legacy: A Passion for British Art" through July 29.

New York --The American Ballet Theatre's spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House from May 14 to July 7 includes the world premiere of a new production of "The Sleeping Beauty" as well as other full-length ballets, including "Romeo and Juliet," "Cinderella" and "Swan Lake," shown here.

A giant figure in the pre-World War I fashion world is celebrated in a landmark Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition. "Poiret: King of Fashion," presented in a series of tableaux, runs from May 9 to Aug. 5.

America's most famous female aviator is celebrated through photographs, ads and print media in "Amelia Earhart: Image and Icon" at the International Center of Photography from May 11 to Sept. 9.

"The Sculpture of Louise Nevelson: Constructing a Legend" at the Jewish Museum through Sept. 16, features 66 works by the famed sculptor.   

The cultural and natural history roots of fantastical beasts of land, sea and air is explored in "Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids" at the American Museum of Natural History from May 26 to Jan. 6.

The Whitney Museum of American Art is exploring one of the most revolutionary periods of the 20th century, tracing the explosion of contemporary art and pop culture in the '60s and early '70s. "Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era" runs from May 24 to Sept. 16. The Whitney also celebrates the centennial of the New York City Ballet's cofounder in "Lincoln Kirstein: To See Deeply," through Aug. 25. The exhibition focuses on the work of three artists important to Kirstein: sculptor Elie Nadelman; photographer Walker Evans and painter Pavel Tchelitchew. 

The birds are in flight, artistically, at the New York Historical Society through May 20 where "Audubon's Aviary: Natural Selection" features 43 watercolors by the naturalist John James Audubon, accompanied by surround-sound audio of chirping birds. Through Sept. 30, the Historical Society also is displaying more than 70 works by a noted Hudson River School artist in "The World of Asher B. Durand: The Artist in the Antebellum New York."

Phoenix -- If you're a car buff, "Curves of Steel: Streamlined Automobile Design" at the Phoenix Art Museum through June 1 will entice you with 22 rare American and European automobiles.

San Diego -- A noted collection of Victorian art, "Waking Dreams: The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites From the Delaware Art Museum" is featured at the San Diego Museum of Art from May 19 to July 29.

San Francisco -- "Picasso and American Art" at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art through May 28, includes some 40 works by Picasso as well as works by Pollock, Lichtenstein and de Kooning.

Washington -- The 100th anniversary of the birth of noted philanthropist and art collector Paul Mellon is being celebrated in "Paul Mellon and the National Gallery of Art " from May 18 to Sept. 10. The exhibit includes photos, documents and memorabilia illustrating Mellon's influence on the development of the National Gallery.


Amsterdam -- Some 120 galleries from the Netherlands and abroad are participating in Art Amsterdam at Amsterdam RAI from May 9 to 13.

Basel, Switzerland -- The Foundation Beyeler through July 15 is featuring "Edvard Munch," an exhibition that includes nearly 150 of the Norwegian artist's works.

Berlin -- A treasure trove of 19th century art from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, including works by van Gogh, Gauguin and Monet, figures to be a crowd-pleasing attraction at the New National Gallery. "Metropolitan in Berlin" runs from June 1 to Oct. 7.

Every evening from May 18 to Sept. 16, Berlin's Museum Island comes alive with visitors as the centerpiece of the world's longest open-air festival.

Budapest, Hungary -- More than 500 Mongolian objects are included in "Genghis Khan and His Heirs" at the Hungarian National Museum from May 24 to Aug. 31.

Cannes, France -- Films by the Coen brothers, Quentin Tarantino and Gus Van Sant, all past Palme d'Or winners, are among those in competition when the Cannes Film Festival holds forth at the Palais des Festivals and other sites from May 16 to 27.

Leicester, England -- Medieval music is the attraction at the Leicester Early Music Festival from May 19 to June 9, held at concert halls and churches in the city.

Murcia, Spain -- For the 300th anniversary of the birth of native son Francisco Salzillo y Alcaraz, the city celebrates with an exhibition of more than 300 works by the artist and contemporaries Bernini and Zurbaran. "Salzillo, Witness of a Century" runs through July 31 at the Salzillo Museum and two local churches. 

Paris -- The Louvre, which houses the world's largest collection of Corot drawings, displays many of them in "Camille Corot: 1796-1874," from May 31 to Aug. 17.

Tokyo -- "Claude Monet and His Posterity" at the National Art Center through July 2 includes nearly 100 works by the French artist along with works by some of the artists he influenced.

Toronto -- Luminato, the Toronto Festival of Arts & Creativity, takes place at various sites throughout the city from June 1 to 10. Focusing on the innovative and avant-garde, the festival includes the world premiere of "Book of Longing," a collaborative concert work by Philip Glass and Leonard Cohen based on a collection of Cohen's poems published in 2006.

Longtime arts and tourism writer Alvin H. Reiss is editor of Arts Management and author of eight books including his latest, "The ReissSource Directory of the Arts" (AEBMedia, Chicago).

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