Arts Agenda: Museums make fashion statements with latest exhibits


High fashion is a key attraction at museums in New York, London and Paris. Also featured are art and artifacts from ancient Rome, Egypt, Afghanistan, Japan and the Silk Road.


Berkeley, Calif. -- The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive features one of the most comprehensive exhibitions of current Chinese art to be shown in the U.S. "Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art From the Sigg Collection" is on exhibit through the end of 2008.

Denver -- The focus is on abstraction  in "Color as Field: American Painting, 1950-1975," a touring American Federation of Arts exhibition whose first stop is at the Denver Art Museum through Feb. 3. Shown at left is Helen Frankenthaler's "Off White Square."

Greenwich, Conn. -- Art from 1960 to the present, including works by Jim Dine, Ed Ruscha and Cy Twombly, is featured in "Contemporary and Cutting Edge: Pleasures of Collecting, Part III" at the Bruce Museum through Jan. 6.  

Houston -- More than 60 paintings of emperors, kings and popes are showcased in "Pompeo Batoni: Prince of Painters in Eighteenth Century Rome" at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston through Jan. 27.

Indianapolis -- "Roman Art From the Louvre," an exhibition organized by the Musee du Louvre and the American Federation of Arts, makes its first stop on a three-city tour at the Indianapolis Museum of Art through Jan. 6.  

Kids will enjoy an interactive exhibition that enables them to play games against robots in "Robots & Us" at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis through April 27.  

Jacksonville, Fla. -- Roman villas, long buried in ash, come to life again in "Art From the Ashes: In Stabiano. Exploring the Ancient Seaside Villas of the Roman Elite." The exhibition at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens through Feb. 3 includes  26 fresco wall prints among its 73 pieces of art and archaeology.

Los Angeles -- Works by such leading 19th and 20th century artists as Thomas Eakins, Man Ray and Chuck Close are included in "The Nude" at the J. Paul Getty Museum through Feb. 24.

Milwaukee -- The Milwaukee Art Museum highlights the complex, multilayered work of a major, self-taught 20th century artist in "Martin Ramirez" through Jan. 13.  

Napa, Calif. -- Copia, the American Center for Wine Food & the Arts, focuses on an area it knows well in the exhibition "Wine Across America: A Photographic Road Trip" through mid-June.  

New York -- An exhibit titled "blog.mode: addressing fashion" at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art invites visitors not only to see some 40 costumes and accessories from the 18th century to the present but enables them to share their reactions in a blog on the museum's Web site. Shown here, a harlequin coat designed by Elsa Schiaparelli.

The exhibit runs from Dec. 18 to April 13. Through May 4, the Met also features the first exhibition devoted to the work of two prominent 19th century American artisans in "Silversmiths to the Nation: Thomas Fletcher and Sidney Gardner, 1808-1842."

Midwest fashion is on display in "Chic Chicago: Couture Treasures from the Chicago History Museum" at the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology through Jan. 5. 

The Museum of Modern Art explores the relationship between a leading British artist's paintings and etchings in "Lucian Freud: The Painter's Etchings" from Dec. 16 to March 10. The museum also uses drawings and models to celebrate "75 Years of Architecture at MoMA" through March 10.

In celebration of its 100th anniversary, the Japan Society through Jan. 13 looks at the work of 33 artists in "Making a Home: Japanese Contemporary Artists in New York." 

The Jewish Museum features the work of one of America's leading cartoonists in "From the New Yorker to Shrek: The Art of William Steig," which runs through March 16. The Jewish Museum also is spotlighting a Nobel Prize-winning author and a renowned photographer in "Isaac Bashevis Singer and the Lower East Side: Photographs by Bruce Davidson," through Feb. 3.

Works by some of America's leading outdoor painters are celebrated at the New-York Historical Society through Jan. 13 in "Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School."    

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts celebrates the centennial of a noted writer and arts patron through Jan. 30 in "Lincoln Kirstein: Alchemist." The museum turns its attention to opera as seen through the lens of a noted Italian photographer in "Graziella Vigo Captures Verdi on Stage" through Feb. 22.

Sacramento, Calif. -- A famed residence comes to life at the California Museum for History, Women & the Arts through April 8 as the museum focuses on "Treasures From Hearst Castle."

Santa Fe, N.M. -- "Excavating Egypt: Great Discoveries From the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology" is at the New Mexico Museum of Art through Jan. 6.

Stockbridge, Mass. -- The Norman Rockwell Museum looks at "Lit Graphic, the World of the Graphic Novel" through May 26.    

Washington -- The Smithsonian Institution's Freer Gallery of Art displays "Japanese Arts of the Edo Period, 1615-1868" through Feb. 24.



Amsterdam -- "Hidden Afghanistan" at the Niewe Kerk from Dec. 22 to April 20 displays 250 rare archeological objects rediscovered in the Central Bank in Kabul in 2004 and tells the story of the National Museum of Kabul, which once had 10,000 objects in its collection.

Berlin -- "Origins of the Silk Road," at the Martin-Gropius-Bau through Jan. 14, focuses on the people who lived along the famed route and includes objects and archaeological finds from 4,000 years ago.

Cologne, Germany -- Museum Ludwig showcases "Mondrian" from Dec. 15 to March 30. 

Halifax, Nova Scotia -- The life and career of an American icon is the attraction in a comprehensive exhibition at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. "Marilyn Monroe: Life as a Legend" from Dec. 15 to Feb. 17 includes 186 works by more than 65 artists. 

London -- A key period in fashion history is explored in "The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957," at the Victoria and Albert Museum through Jan. 6. 

Paris -- The Museum of Fashion and Textiles celebrates the 20th anniversary of the introduction of a noted French designer's clothing line in "Christian Lacroix: Histoires de Mode" through April 27.

Toronto -- Through Jan. 6, the Ontario Science Center uses some 250 objects, re-created cabins and photographs to tell the story of a doomed ship in "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition."

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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