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Must-See Museum Exhibits for 2013

Art, Science, and History Exhibits You Should Check Out in 2013


Thousands of exhibits will come and go at U.S. museums in 2013. Which exhibits are ones that can't be missed? I've tracked down these must-see exhibitions running at U.S. museums during 2013 that focus on everything from Chinese art to the Civil War.

If you want to learn more about the latest museum events and exhibits across the USA, you should follow my USA museums list on Twitter. The list contains up-to-the=minute info from nearly 300 museums and counting. For even more in-depth info about U.S. museums, visit the website for the American Association of Museums.

Ai Weiwei: According to What?

Ai Weiwei: According to What?
© Melanie Renzulli
Location: Washington, DC; Indianapolis, Indiana; Miami, Florida; Brooklyn, New York
Dates: See below

Last year, I listed Ai Weiwei's "According to What?" as one of the must-see exhibits for 2012. Now that I have seen the exhibit and I can highly recommend it, I would like to add it to the 2013 must-see list, especially since it will be traveling to several cities this year.

Exhibition Dates:

  • National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC: October 7, 2012-February 24, 2013
  • Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana: April 5-July 28, 2013
  • Miami Art Museum, Miami, Florida: Fall 2013
  • Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York: Winter 2013-2014
  • Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop

    Faking It: Photography Manipulation
    © Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Location: New York City; Washington, DC; Houston, Texas
    Dates: See below

    This unusual exhibition of manipulated photography runs through January 27, 2013, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art before it heads to the National Gallery for a run from February 17 to May 5, 2013, and later to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Covered in the exhibit, which is sponsored by Photoshop creator Adobe, are some of the earliest landscape photographs, improved by hand with pigments or through blending multiple negatives into one shot, as well as novelty photographs manipulated to trick the eye or amuse. Anyone with an interest in photography, especially those who aren't familiar with the pre-digital medium, would enjoy this show.

    Exhibition Dates:

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City: Through January 27, 2013
  • National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC: February 17-May 5, 2013
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas: July to October 2013
  • The Civil War And American Art

    Harvest of Death Civil War photography
    © Smithsonian American Art Museum
    Location: Washington, DC; New York City
    Dates: See below

    While the Civil War was raging in America from 1861 to 1865, some of the country's most famous artists were producing works inspired by the bloody battles and the politics and loss surrounding the conflict. Anchoring this exhibition, which opened November 16, 2012, in Washington, DC, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and runs through April 28, 2013, are the works of Winslow Homer, Eastman Johnson, Frederic Church, and Sanford Gifford. The show, which features 57 paintings and 18 gruesome battlefield photographs Antietam and Gettysburg, heads to the Metropolitan Museum of Art from May 21 to September 2, 2013.

    Exhibition Dates:

  • Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC: November 16, 2012-April 28, 2013
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City: May 21-September 2, 2013
  • Frida and Diego

    Frida Kahlo Self Portrait
    © High Museum of Art
    Location: Atlanta, Georgia
    Dates: February 14-May 12, 2013

    The works of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, two of Mexico's most famous artists known for their paintings and their politics, will be on display at Atlanta's High Museum of Art from February 14 to May 12, 2013. More than 75 of the couple's most famous works, including Frida's self-portrait with monkeys and Diego's Calla Lily Vendor, will be on view at the High, which will be the only U.S. venue for this exhibit.

    Picasso and Chicago

    "The Red Armchair" by Pablo Picasso
    © Art Institute of Chicago
    Location: Chicago, Illinois

    The Art Institute of Chicago dives into its extensive collection of paintings, drawings, and sculptures from Pablo Picasso. More than 250 works will be on display from February 20-May 12, 2013.

    Hollywood Costume

    Indiana Jones
    © V&A
    Location: Richmond, Virginia
    Dates: November 2, 2013-February 17, 2014

    Hollywood movies belong to the world, as evidenced by the fact that this upcoming blockbuster exhibit on a very American institution was organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Hollywood Costume will feature some of film's most famous costumes, from Darth Vader's imposing black armor and cape to ruby red slippers worn by Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz." The exhibition's U.S. premier will take place at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond from November 2, 2013, to February 17, 2014.

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