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15 International Summer Art Exhibitions You Should Definitely See

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This Saturday marks the first official day of summer, and whether you've been hiding under air conditioned shelter for months or are still praying for a day you can bust out the denim shorts, one thing is for certain: Summer art exhibitions have arrived!

This year's crop of summer-fresh art shows is as wonderfully diverse, innovative and visually hypnotic as we could hope for. We're pleased to find an artistic horizon full of group shows and solo exhibitions that diversify the museum experience and poke holes in the singular art historical narrative that's grown so hopelessly obsolete. This year's stellar museum shows explore contemporary Latin American art, female modernist photographers, an Indian Cubist painter, and a female painter known to "paint like a man." There's also an exhibition dedicated to queer iconography, children's imaginations and African American paper artworks.

Get ready to wipe the sweat off your forehead and head to your local art viewing establishment, because art lovers know the best way to enjoy a sunny day is getting blasted by AC in the presence of groundbreaking art.

  • Photograph by David Leddy.
    What: Susurrus
    Where: The Contemporary, Austin
    When: Now until June 28, 2014
    Why: Described as "part radio play, part stroll in the park, part lesson in bird dissection, part musical recital," David Leddy's unorthodox performance is a play without actors or a stage. (Very loosely) based off "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," the piece gives viewers an audio tape and a map, allowing them to experience the unique walking play for themselves.
  • Athi-Patra Ruga, The Future White Women of Azania, 2012; performed as part of Performa Obscura in collaboration with Mikhael Subotzky; commissioned for the exhibition Making Way, Grahamstown, South Africa; photo: Ruth Simbao, courtesy Athi-Patra Ruga and
    What: Public Intimacy: Art and Other Ordinary Acts in South Africa
    Where: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco
    When: Now until June 29, 2014
    Why: The multimedia group exhibition features 25 artists exploring the political and poetic complexities of contemporary South Africa, a country in a singular state of transition. The show coincides with the 20th anniversary of democracy in South Africa.
  • Artist Unknown Heart pincushion Beamish, The Living Museum of the North Photo: Tate Photography
    What: British Folk
    Where:Tate Britain
    When: Now until August 31, 2014
    Why: Folk art has long been neglected by British culture. This exhibition asks why. With artworks including a sculpture of a cockerel made from mutton bones during the Napoleonic wars and votive offerings suspended in bottles of clear liquid, the show makes a good case for the often unacknowledged and humble art form.
  • Channing Hansen, Polytope Soap, 2013
    What: Made In L.A. 2014
    Where: The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
    When: Now until September 7, 2014
    Why: Los Angeles is becoming a more competitive and alluring cultural center every day and this diverse and delicious group exhibition shows just that. The selection of emerging and under-represented artists range from ceramicists to "quantum painters," as seen above.
  • M.F. Husain, Traditional Indian Festivals, 2008-2011. Courtesy of Usha Mittal © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
    What: M.F. Husain
    Where: Victoria and Albert Museum, London
    When: Now until July 27, 2014
    Why: Maqbool Fida Husain, one of India's most beloved artists, combines traditional Indian imagery with contemporary European modes of visualization, namely Cubism. The V&A Museum presents a series of eight triptychs made by the artist, combining religious iconography, Indian history and personal memories in what the artist called "a museum without walls."
  • Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler Eight 2001 Video 3 min. 35 sec. (loop) Courtesy: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York
    What: Go-Betweens: The World Seen through Children
    Where: Mori Art Museum, Japan
    When: Now until August 31, 2014
    Why: The striking group exhibition takes its name, the "go-betweens," from Jacob A. Riis' description of immigrant children who served as bridges for parents who sometimes couldn't speak English. Despite being at the whims of their environment, children continually possess the uncanny ability to traverse boundaries, whether between cultures or between reality and dreams. The show explores how kids, with unconstrained imaginations and no bounds to tradition, hold, in many ways, the maximum potential for new ideas.
  • George William Eggers, 1926. Laura Gilpin/ American, 1891-1979/ Museum Purchase through the National Endowment for the Arts Grant, 75.95.
    What: Sphere of Influence: Pictorialism, Women, and Modernism
    Where: New Orleans Museum of Art
    When: Now until August 24, 2014
    Why: While individual female photographers are just now being written into many of the art historical narratives they helped influence, the networks of women artists remain largely unacknowledged. This exhibition explores a group of female photographers including Eva Watson-Schütze, Gertrude Käsebier, and Anne W. Brigman, who, working at the turn of the century, ushered in an era in photography that privileged the artistic over the mechanical nature of the medium.
  • Wilfredo Prieto, Walk, 2000 Wheelbarrow, soil, plant, and chromogenic print, overall dimensions, variable, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund, Courtesy the artist and NoguerasBlanchard, Barcelona/Madrid
    What: Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today
    Where: Guggenheim Museum, New York
    When: Now until October 1, 2014
    Why: Featuring 50 works in a range of media, this group exhibition showcases the diverse range of contemporary art emerging from Latin America today. Depicting various creative responses to social inequality, political repression, economic progress, and an array of other cultural realities, the show revels in the complexity of Latin America's past and present, while posing questions about its future.
  • Laura Hernández (b.1960, Oaxaca) El hombre elemento agua, 1997. Oil on paper Maché, 71 x 60 x 71 in.
    What: Magical Realism and Modern Oaxaca: Remembering Gabriel García Márquez (1927–2014)
    Where: Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, California
    When: Now until November 30, 2014
    Why: The MoLAA presents a vibrant homage to the hyperrealist master Gabriel García Márquez, who passed away in April. His penchant for colorful myths and enchanted histories lives on in artists including Laura Hernández, Rodolfo Morales, and Francisco Toledo.
  • Elizabeth Catlett, Sharecropper, 1952, Linoleum cut; 17 5/8 x 16 7/8 in., The Harmon & Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art, Art © Catlett Mora Family Trust/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
    What: Spiritual Strivings: A Celebration of African American Works on Paper
    Where: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
    When: June 27 to October 12, 2014
    Why: Taking inspiration from W.E.B. Du Bois' 1903 essay “Of Our Spiritual Strivings,” the exhibition depicts the realization of Du Bois' goal of African Americans becoming "a co-worker in the kingdom of culture, to escape both death and isolation, to husband and use his best powers and his latent genius." Expect a stunning batch of the 20th century's most revolutionary African American artists working on paper.
  • Paul Chiappe, Untitled 48, 2010. Collection Lea Weingarten.
    What: Small
    Where: The Drawing Center
    When: July 11 to August 24, 2014
    Why: The group exhibition features a selection of diminutive artworks, ranging from postage-stamp-sized watercolors to manipulated found objects. The various works explore size in relation to perception, memory, gender roles and the power of imagination. And they're so tiny!
  • The Immigrants, 1923, oil on canvas, 40 x 50 in. Collection of Thomas and Karen Buckley.
    What: Theresa Bernstein: A Century in Art
    Where: Woodmere Art Museum
    When: July 26 to October 26, 2014
    Why: Beginning in 1910, Bernstein enchanted the world with her expressive portraits of immigrant women and the working class, inhabiting Manhattan sites like Coney Island and Carnegie Hall. For the next 80 years, Bernstein was hailed for "painting like a man." We hate the phrase, but we love her.
  • Attila Richard Lukacs, Coo coo ka-choo, Mr. Robinson, 1999. Oil, enamel and bitumen on canvas. Collection of Salah Bachir and Jacob Yerex. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid
    What: Over The Rainbow: Seduction and Identity
    Where: Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art
    When: June 21 to August 17, 2014
    Why: This stunning group exhibition, in collaboration with WorldPride Toronto 2014, riffs off queer tropes including camp, celebrity and rainbows, looking beyond the surface to explore the ways that mainstream and gay culture effect and shape each other. Artists include Attila Richard Lukacs, Keith Haring and Betty Goodwin.
  • Tom Wesselmann (American, b.1931, d.2004), Still Life #35, 1963. Oil and collage on canvas; 120 x 192 in. Lent by Claire Wesselmann. © Estate of Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY, Photo Credit: Jeffrey Sturges.
    What: Beyond Pop Art: A Tom Wesselmann Retrospective
    Where: Denver Art Museum
    When: July 13 to September 14, 2014
    Why: How much do you really know about the founder of Pop Art, Tom Wesselmann? Well, after this comprehensive and chronological survey of his artistic career, you'll know quite a lot. From his abstract collages to intense erotic compositions, you'll see the lesser-known artistic inclinations of Wesselmann as well as his iconic, color-saturated still-lifes.
  • Marsden Hartley, Indian Composition, 1914-1915. The Vassar Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College
    What: Marsden Hartley: The German Paintings (1913-1915)
    Where: LACMA, Los Angeles
    When: August 3 to November 30, 2014
    Why: Commemorating the centennial of World War I, LACMA presents the vibrant artworks of an American modernist painter's influential stay in Berlin. The paintings, spanning from 1913-1915, showcase the artist's melding of military symbols and Native American motifs, while exploring the impact of the war on his work.

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