After a 2016 in which a solid gold toilet and a chandelier made of underwear were among the most Instagrammed art all year, 2017's slate of major museum exhibitions was always going to seem more tasteful, even if the calendar weren't already marked by retrospectives of designers like Rei Kawakubo, Cristóbal Balenciaga, and Iris Van Herpen. Those, plus Irving Penn's centennial celebration at the Met, Georgia O'Keeffe's fashion-centric exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, and more are among the best shows headed to institutions in our 2017 preview, here.
“Marisa Merz: The Sky Is a Great Place” at the Met Breuer (January)
The only female figurehead of Arte Povera, the contemporary art movement that reigned Italy through the '60s and 70's, Merz is finally getting her due with her first-ever major retrospective in the U.S., which recaps five decades' worth of her paintings, sculptures, and inventive installations crafted from everyday materials like clay, copper, and wax paper.
"Diana: The Fashion Story" at Kensington Palace (February)
From the velvet gown she once wore to dance with John Travolta to her pantsuits from the '90s, much of Princess Diana’s wardrobe will soon be on full display at Kensington Palace—a homecoming of sorts for the garments, from the 15 years the location served as Diana's home in London.
“Wolfgang Tillmans” at the Tate Modern (February)
After a year of playing musician with the likes of Frank Ocean and Hari Nef, the German photographer is returning to his primary medium at the Tate Modern, along with more music, videos, and other assorted curatorial projects stretching back to 2003, when the invasion of Iraq stirred a political turn in Tillmans’ work.
“Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work” at the New Museum (February)
He started off as a punk in the back ends of L.A.’s burgeoning music scene in the late '70s, drawing up album art and fliers for the likes of Black Flag and Sonic Youth, but Raymond Pettibon’s thousands of drawings since then are certainly getting a museum-quality retrospective with his first-ever major New York survey, spanning no less than three floors of the New Museum.
“David Hockney” at the Tate Britain (February)
In advance of his 80th birthday and the opening of his own gallery, David Hockney's putting his full career on display at the Tate Britain, including decades-old paintings to the more recent, along with his forays into iPad art.
“Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern” at the Brooklyn Museum (March)
There's Georgia O’Keeffe the artist, and there's Georgia O'Keeffe the fashion plate, both of whom a new show at the Brooklyn Museum asserts are derived from the same sense of irreverence.
“Doug Wheeler: PSAD Synthetic Desert III,1971” at the Guggenheim (March)
If Doug Wheeler had it his way, you wouldn’t know anything about his upcoming series of installations until you stepped into the Guggenheim, which the Light and Space movement pioneer’s promised to transform into one of his innovative “infinity environments” that he first dreamed up in the 70’s, which is devoid of ambient sound and meant to only be experienced in the flesh.
“Queer British Art 1861-1967” at the Tate Britain (April)
Fifty years after male homosexuality was finally decriminalized in Britain, the country’s queer art history is being surveyed in the first-ever exhibition dedicated to LGBTQ British artists, David Hockney, John Singer Sargent, and Dora Carrington among them.
“Louise Lawler: Why Pictures Now” at MoMA (April)
Four decades after "Birdcalls," her seminal sound piece in which she squawked the names of male artists on her nighttime walks home through New York, Louise Lawler is getting her first major New York museum survey with a retrospective spanning 40 years of her work, including her very influential contributions to the Pictures Generation, at MoMA.
“Irving Penn: Centennial” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (April)
From his birth 100 years ago to his death in 2009, Irving Penn kept up a steady, seven decade-long stream of iconic images that ranged from fashion to portraits to still-lifes, all of which will be present in the most comprehensive exhibition dedicated to his photography to date at the Met.
“Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion” at the V&A (May)
Before Demna, before Nicolas, there was the original: This spring, the V&A’s taking a look back at Balenciaga’s early days circa Cristóbal Balenciaga in the first U.K. retrospective dedicated to the Basque designer, 100 years after he opened his fashion house.
“Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (May)
After months of rumors and hopeful hints like the presence of the Met’s curator, Andrew Bolton, in the front row at Comme des Garçons’ show for spring 2017, Rei Kawakubo is officially the second living design legend to be at the center of a Costume Institute exhibition—the first was Yves Saint Laurent—which’ll no doubt make for an interesting Met Gala come May.
“Robert Rauschenberg” at MoMA (May)
The first 21st-century retrospective of Robert Rauschenberg, by all accounts an uncommonly prolific artist, is set to fill MoMA with all manner of his work spanning six decades, including 250-plus paintings, photos, drawings, prints, sculptures, and videos.
“Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion” at the Dallas Museum of Art (May)
Having long beguiled the crowds with her sculptural designs at Paris Fashion Week, Iris Van Herpen is now headed to Dallas, where an exhibition featuring 15 of her namesake collections will showcase the Dutch designer’s mastery at experimenting with technology, from wearable magnets to 3D printing.
“Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium” at the Whitney Museum (July)
On the heels of the Whitney Biennial, and the first-ever monographic exhibition of another neo-concrete Brazilian artist, Lygia Pape, at the Met Breuer, the Whitney Museum is mounting the first full-scale American retrospective of Hélio Oiticica, whose interactive installations, like his movable "fireball" sculptures, will no doubt turn many viewers into participants.
"Basquiat: Boom for Real" at the Barbican (September)
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s continued buoyancy in the art market mirrors his undimmed cultural cache. The late American artist’s first major exhibition in the U.K., opening at the Barbican, marks the overseas debut of many of his works, including the first ones he ever exhibited back in the early '80s.
Jeremy Scott at the Dallas Contemporary (late 2017)
Van Herpen isn't the only designer headed to Dallas in 2017: Jeremy Scott, aka the people’s designer, is getting his first-ever retrospective 20 years after launching his namesake label, just in time for his 40th birthday.
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