Arts Agenda: Museums take faith-based initiative as holidays approach

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With the holiday season only a month away, religious art, fittingly, is on display in museums throughout the world. The season gets off to an early start in New York with some major dance performances and important new museum exhibitions.

Domestic

Boston -- Fashion is art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where "Fashion Show: Paris Collections 2006" is on display from Nov. 12 to March 18. The exhibition includes about 10 designs shown on Paris runways this year from 10 of the top fashion houses in the world, including Chanel, Dior and Valentino. Through Nov. 26, the museum also features "Domains of Wonder: Selected Masterpieces of Indian Painting."   

Fort Lauderdale -- "Cradle of Christianity: Treasures From the Holy Land," at the Museum of Art from Dec. 7 to April 15, explores the shared history of early Judaism and Christianity.

Katonah, N.Y. -- The Katonah Museum of Art explores female forms from the past and present in two exhibitions. "Ancient Art of the Cyclades" and "Wonder Women: Idols in Contemporary Art" run through Dec. 31.

Los Angeles -- Religious art from the oldest continuously operating Christian monastery is the focus of "Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons From Sinai" at the Getty Museum from Nov. 14 to March 4. The museum also features "From Caspar David Friedrich to Gerard Richter: German Paintings From Dresden" through April 29, and an exhibition surveying late-20th century American life in "Where We Live: Photographs of America From the Berman Collection" through Feb. 25.

Miami -- The Miami Book Fair International will welcome about 300 authors, including Nora Ephron and Isabel Allende, to the Wolfson Campus of Miami Dade College downtown from Nov. 12 to 19.

Miami Beach -- "Art Basel Miami Beach," the sister show of "Art Basel" in Switzerland, will be at the Miami Beach Convention Center from Dec. 7 to 10. The contemporary exhibit showcases art from more than 160 galleries throughout the world.

The Bass Museum focuses on Germany and Austria through Jan. 21 with "Constructing New Berlin," the first major art survey of post-Wall Berlin, and "Austrian Art from the Bass Museum Collection" through the end of February.

New York --  The Metropolitan Museum of Art gives viewers an inside look at one of America's most noted residences, the home of an outstanding artist and designer, in "Louis Comfort Tiffany and Laurelton Hall: An Artist's Country Estate" from Nov. 21 to May 20. Organized in collaboration with the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, Fla., which has one of the world's most extensive collections of Tiffany's work, the exhibition of nearly 200 Tiffany designs features surviving elements of the estate, which was ravaged by fire nearly 50 years ago. One of the works on display is aWisteria Panel, shown at left. The Met also features "Glitter and Doom: German Portraits From the 1920s," Nov. 14 to Feb. 18.

New exhibitions at the Morgan Library through Jan. 7 include "Fragonard and the French Tradition," focusing on the work of the noted 18th century French artist, and "Mozart at 250: A Celebration," tracing the composer's career through letters, manuscripts and first editions of his work.

"Domenico Tiepolo (1727-1804): A New Testament," at the Frick Collection through Jan. 7, brings together 313 drawings by the Venetian master, the largest-known New Testament cycle produced by a single artist. Also on view are two rare religious panels by a famed Italian Renaissance artist along with other devotional art of the period in "Cimabue and Early Italian Devotional Painting" through Dec. 31. From Nov. 8 to Jan. 7, the Frick features "Masterpieces of European Painting from the Cleveland Museum of Art."

Spanish painting of the past five centuries is the attraction in the Guggenheim Museum exhibition "El Greco to Picasso: Time, Truth and History" from Nov. 17 to March 28.

More than 200 photographs by one of America's most celebrated contemporary artists are featured in "Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer's Life, 1990-2005," at the Brooklyn Museum through Jan. 21.

"Albers and Moholy-Nagy: From the Bauhaus to the New World" at the Whitney Museum of American Art through Jan. 21, spans four decades in focusing on the work of two 20th century pioneers of Modernism. 

The New York Historical Society presents the final installment of its three-part exploration of slavery in New York with "New York Divided: Slavery and the Civil War" from Nov. 17 to Sept. 3.

All that glitters is "Gold" at the American Museum of Natural History from Nov. 18 to Aug. 19. The giant exhibition illustrates the story of the precious mineral by showcasing gold objects from museums and collections throughout the world. Shown at right is a hollow gold Inca figurine from Peru.

Dance takes center stage during the holiday season with the New York City Ballet's production of "George Balanchine's The Nutcracker" at Lincoln Center from Nov. 24 to Dec. 30. Meanwhile, the annual Alvin Ailey Dance Theater's season at the New York City Center runs from Nov. 29 to Dec. 31.

The Signature Theatre Company's season of August Wilson plays, with every seat only $15, continues with the production of "Two Trains Running" from Nov. 7 to Jan. 7.

Philadelphia -- The attraction for design aficionados at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from Nov. 17 to April 1 is "Georg Jensen Silversmiths."  The museum continues its exploration of Latin-American art with "Mexico and Modern Printmaking: A Revolution in the Graphic Arts, 1920-1950" through Jan. 14.

Raleigh, N.C. -- "Monet in Normandy," at the North Carolina Museum of Art through Jan. 14, features 50 paintings created by the French artist during the years he lived in Normandy.

Williamsburg, Va. -- A famed Italian collection makes its American debut in "Natura Morta: Still Life Painting and the Medici Collections." More than 40 works by Renaissance and Baroque artists are featured in the exhibition from Nov. 11 to Jan. 7 at the College of William & Mary's Muscarelle Museum of Art.

International

Amsterdam -- "Vincent van Gogh and Expressionism" at the Van Gogh Museum from Nov. 24 to March 4 shows the Impressionist artist's impact on early-20th century Expressionist artists.

Berlin -- An unusual holiday event, the Weihnukka Market at the Jewish Museum from Dec. 3 to 31, is the only Christian-Jewish Christmas Market in the country.

Liverpool, England -- The Liverpool Biennial International Festival of Contemporary Art, through Nov. 26, can be viewed at more than 40 locations throughout the city, including the Tate Liverpool Museum.

London -- Several major retrospectives are on tap for visitors to the National Gallery. "Velazquez," through Jan. 21, traces the career of the noted Spanish artist. "Cezanne in Britain," through Jan. 7, marks the 100th anniversary of the artist's death with an exhibition of about 40 of his works in British collections.

Toronto -- Comic books have been in vogue recently as the subject of museum shows. The Ontario Science Center features the "Marvel Super Heroes Science Exhibition" through March 25, covering the history of Marvel Comics through 30 action stations, including such figures as Spider Man and Iron Man.

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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