NY, Boston, Philly Art Institutions Gear Up For Major Shows

Metropolitan Museum of Art

An evening dress by Valentino is part of the "China: through the Looking Glass" exhibit opening in May at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Cory VanderPloeg, The Metropolitan Museum of Art / November 14, 2014)

Spring doesn't just bring May flowers, it brings blockbuster shows at museums throughout the Northeast and this year is no exception. Art institutions in New York, Boston and Philadelphia are gearing up for major exhibits.

Some, like The Philadelphia Museum of Art's "Discovering the Impressionists," skew toward the traditional, while others, like the Bjork retrospective and "Yoko Ono: One Woman Show," both at MoMA in New York promise to be more offbeat. (Just remember, big exhibits mean big crowds, so if you're interested, you might want to grab a ticket as soon as they go on sale. Be sure to check for special discounts and free admission days.)

"Leonardo da Vinci and the Idea of Beauty," which opens on April 15 and runs through June 14 at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, features 29 master drawings and a manuscript by the famed artist. The works are on loan from the Uffizi Museum in Florence, the Biblioteca Reale in Turin, and the Casa Buonarroti, the ancestral property of Michelangelo in Florence. A number of special events are planned in coordination with the exhibit. Admission is $25 for adults with discounts for seniors and students and children. You can purchase tickets in advance. Information: mfa.org/visit

Art and popular culture overlap at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's much-anticipated "China: Through the Looking Glass" exhibit. The New York museum's Department of Asian Art and the Anna Wintour Costume Center will explore how Chinese art has influenced current fashion and film by juxtaposing 100 examples of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear with Chinese costumes, paintings, porcelains and scenes from movies directed by Ang Lee and others. The exhibit runs from May 7 through Aug. 16. You can purchase advance tickets to avoid waiting in line when you visit. Admission is $25 for adults; there are discounts for seniors, students and children under 12. Information: metmuseum.org.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art will highlight more than 80 Impressionist works by Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Degas, Manet and others in its "Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting" exhibit. Tickets go on sale April 14; the exhibit runs from June 24 to Sept. 13. Admission, which includes access to the entire museum, are $25, with discounts available for seniors, students and children 12 and under. Information: philamuseum.org.

"Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life" at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx will feature 12 of Kahlo's works, plus a recreation of Kahlo's home, Casa Azul, and the artist's gardens. With special events, including "Frida Al Fresco" dinners, special concerts, a symposium on Kahlo's professional and personal relationship with Diego Rivera, Day of the Dead celebrations, Mexican-inspired shopping experiences and a margarita bar, it's expected that the Botanical Gardens could break past attendance records. (The Monet's Garden at Giverny exhibit in 2012 drew more than 300,000 visitors.) The exhibit runs from May 16 to Nov. 1. Tickets, available now, are $20 for adults, with discounts for seniors, students and children 12 and under. (There is an additional charge for select weekends, Monday holidays and other peak days.) Information: nybg.org.

In May, The Museum of Modern Art in New York City will present its first exhibition dedicated exclusively to the work of Yoko Ono. Ono had an unauthorized exhibition at MoMA in 1971. When visitors arrived at the exhibit, titled "Museum of Modern [F]art," they found a sign outside the entrance that announced that Ono had released flies on the museum grounds, and the public was invited to track them as they dispersed across the city. This authorized exhibit, "Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971," brings together about 125 of the artist's early objects, works on paper, installations, performances, audio recordings and films. The exhibit open on May 17 and runs through Sept. 7. Information: moma.org.

The Björk retrospective, currently on display at The Museum of Modern Art, chronicles the singer, songwriter and composer's more than 20-year career through sound, film, visuals, instruments, objects, and costumes, (yes, including the infamous swan dress she wore to the 2001 Oscars). Entry to the Björk exhibit is included with general museum admission. Timed tickets are required for the Songlines portion of the exhibition, and are available same-day and on-site only, at no additional charge, on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning at 10:30 a.m. daily. Admission is $25 for adults, with discounts for seniors and students. Children 16 and under are free. The exhibit ends June 7. Information: moma.org

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