28 Art Shows You Need To See This Fall

From Boston to San Francisco and everything in between -- here are the art exhibitions you'll be talking about this fall.

09/01/2015 10:38 am ET | Updated Sep 28, 2015

As we approach Labor Day and the unofficial end to summer, the only thing motivating us to open our laptops and begin another day anew is the thought of a new season of art exhibitions. Well, maybe that and the promise of cooler temperatures. But the slate of fall art shows is considerably high on our list of autumnal things to look forward to.

In anticipation of fall, we scoured the calendars -- one editor on the East coast, one writer on the West -- and came up with 20 exhibitions (and eight honorable mentions) we're excited to ogle over the next few months. Whether you're in New York or Los Angeles, New Orleans or Detroit, St. Louis or Fort Worth, here's your guide to getting down with art in September and beyond.

1. "Spirit and Matter: Islamic Art" (Dallas, Texas)

Manuscript, The Shahnama of Firdawsi Iran: Shiraz, 1539 Work on paper 15.2 x 10 inches (38.5 x 25.5 cm) The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art.

What: "Spirit and Matter: Masterpieces from the Keir Collection of Islamic Art"
Where: Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas, Texas
When: Sept. 18, 2015 to July 31, 2016 
Why: Islamic art is still radically underrepresented in the museum world. This expansive show features 13 centuries' worth of work from three continents of Islamic artists. Expect artworks ranging from rock crystals to carpets to textiles, capturing the stunning diversity of the Islamic experience then and now.
Also on view: Jackson Pollock and Irving Penn


2. "The Big Hope Show" (Baltimore, Maryland)

Wayne Coyne The King's Mouth (detail) 2015 Sculpture/installation. Collection of the artist. Photo by John Lewis.

What: "The Big Hope Show"
Where:American Visionary Art Museum, Maryland
When: Oct. 3, 2015 to Sept. 4, 2016
Why: This uber-happy exhibit, marking the 20th anniversary of the AVAM, features the work of visionary and self-taught artists who have suffered from extreme trauma, and have used their powers of creative expression to overcome. The show features everyone from outsider artist and extreme dog lover Bobby Adams to The Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne, who apparently discovered his creative fire after surviving a robbery while working as a fry cook. Who knew?

3. Joyce Pensato (Fort Worth, Texas)

Joyce Pensato Groucho-Homer 2014 Enamel on linen 90 x 80 inches 228.6 x 203.2 cm Signed and dated verso Courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York. Photo credit: Ken Adlard.

What: "FOCUS: Joyce Pensato"
Where: Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Forth Worth, Texas
When: Nov.21, 2015 to Jan. 31, 2016
Why: Pensato's subjects include Homer Simpson, Batman, and Kyle of "South Park." She transforms these iconic American cartoon figures into menacing and peculiar beasts, using sweeping black-and-white brush strokes reminiscent of Abstract Expressionism and street art. Her dark cartoon mania is sure to please any art lover and her creepy uncle. 
Also on view: Kehinde Wiley, Frank Stella and KAWS

4. "Rebel Rebel" (Seattle, Washington)

Woman Landing on Man in the Moon1971 Ann Leda Shapiro, American, born 1947. Watercolor on paper 20x14in. (50.8x35.6cm). Seattle Art Museum, Gift of Matthew Offenbacher and Jennifer Nemhauser with funds from the 2013 Neddy Award in Painting, © Ann Leda Shapiro. Photo: Elizabeth Mann

What: "Rebel Rebel"
Where: Seattle Art Museum in Seattle, Washington
When: Aug. 29, 2015 to Dec. 13, 2015
Why: Do you even have to ask? This feminist exhibition features artists who've fought gender stereotypes and cliches since the 1960s, especially as they apply to female artists. Giving a large F.U. to established ideas of the male genius and the woman as muse, artists including Victoria Haven, Ann Leda Shapiro and Dawn Cerny show that women artists don't take no crap from nobody.

5. "Earth Machines" (San Francisco, California)

Kevin McElvaney, Agbogbloshie: John Mahama, 2013, digital print. Courtesy the artist.

What: "Earth Machines"
Where: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California
When: Aug. 14, 2015 to Dec. 6, 2015
Why: How are all the laptops, cell phones and other techno-gadgets we've become so obsessed with and dependent on changing the future of our planet? A variety of contemporary artists in disparate media consider the dark repercussions of our choices, exploring issues including rare earth mining, the disposal of e-waste and the long-term decomposition of tech products.
Also on view: Won Ju Lim and "Radical Presence"

6. Sheila Hicks (St. Louis, Missouri)

Sheila Hicks, Voyage of Serpentina, 1985. Linen, silk, wool, and synthetic fibers, 19 pieces, approximately 34 x 54 inches each. 

What: Sheila Hicks
Where: Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis in St. Louis, Missouri
When: Sept. 11 to Dec. 27, 2015
Why: For almost 60 years, Paris-based, American-born artist Sheila Hicks has been exploring the potential to play with traditional textile techniques including weaving, crocheting, dying and spinning. Over the years Hicks has created her own visual language, navigating the texture, color and unorthodox possibilities of her weaved abstractions. Using everything from natural fibers to rubber bands, Hicks transformed a traditional craft into an endless avant-garde experiment. 
Also on view: "Hurvin Anderson: Backdrop," "Wyatt Kahn: Object Paintings," "Street Views: Marilyn Minter"

7. Ishiuchi Miyako (Los Angeles, California)

Ishiuchi Miyako, Hiroshima #43 (Shizuko Yamane), 2007

What: "Ishiuchi Miyako: Postwar Shadows"
Where: The Getty Center in Los Angeles, California
When: Oct. 6, 2015 to Feb. 21, 2016
Why: Self-taught Japanese photographer Miyako is known for her stunning images documenting life in her hometown of Yokosuka, where the U.S. Navy had set up base. The grainy, black-and-white images present a haunting depiction of political realities mixed with childhood fears, hopes, shadows and memories. The exhibit will also include images from Miyako's most recent series, which revisits children's clothing and other artifacts from the time of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, 70 years ago.
Also on view: "The Younger Generation: Contemporary Japanese Photography," "Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: Food in the Middle Ages and Renaissance," "Art of the Fold: Drawings of Drapery and Costume"

8. Njideka Akunyili Crosby (Los Angeles, California)

Umezebi Street, New Haven, Enugu, 2012. Acrylic, charcoal, pastel, color pencil, and Xerox transfer on paper. 84 x 105 in. (213.36 x 266.7 cm). Collection of Craig Robins. Image courtesy of the artist and Tilton Gallery, New York. Photo: Max Yawneya.

What: Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Where: The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, California.
When: Oct. 3, 2015 to Nov. 21, 2015
Why: Crosby, a Nigerian-born artist, fuses African and American culture in her collage-painting-printing hybrids, referencing her life as an expatriate in the contemporary age. The works offer a crucial counterpoint to the often dismal depictions of Africa in the west.
Also on view: "UH OH: Frances Stark," "The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris," "Hammer Projects: Avery Singer"

9. "Hippie Modernism" (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Helio Oiticica and Neville D'Almeida, CC5, Hendrixwar/Cosmococa Programa-in-progress, 1973

What: "Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia"
Where: The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota
When: Oct. 24, 2015 to Feb. 28, 2016
Why: If the title isn't enough to intrigue you, the exhibition will chronicle the art, architecture and design of the counterculture of the 1960s and early 1970s, including everything from experimental furniture, alternative living structures, retro magazines and books, and archival films.
Also on view: "International Pop"

10. "Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980" (New York, New York)

Juan Downey. Map of America. 1975. Colored pencil, pencil, and synthetic polymer paint on map on board. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchased with funds provided by the Latin American and Caribbean Fund and Donald B. Marron. © 2015 Juan Downey / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

What: "Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980"
Where: The Museum of Modern Art in New York 
When: Sept. 5, 2015 to Jan. 3, 2016
Why: "Transmissions" focuses on artists and art communities in Eastern Europe and Latin American during the 1960s and '70s who emphasized creation outside of a market context. If you're into radical, experimental and subversive post-WWII art, this is the MoMA show for you.
Also on view: "Picasso Sculpture"

11. Photographic Portraits from West Africa (New York, New York)

Unknown Artist (Senegal). Portrait of a Woman, ca. 1910. Gelatin silver print from glass negative, 1975; 6 x 4 in. (16.5 x 11.4 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Susan Mullin Vogel, 2015.

What: "In and Out of the Studio Photographic Portraits from West Africa"
Where: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, New York
When: Aug. 31, 2015 to Jan. 3, 2016
Why: Experience 100 years of portrait photography in West Africa through a series of 80 photographs taken between the 1870s and the 1970s by amateur and professional photographers active from Senegal to Cameroon and from Mali to Gabon.

12. Becky Suss (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Becky Suss, Living Room (six paintings, four plates), 2015, oil on canvas, 84 x 108 inches. Courtesy the artist and Fleisher/Ollman, Philadelphia.

What: Becky Suss
Where: The Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
When: Sept. 16, 2015 to Dec. 27, 2015
Why: Philly-born and Philly-raised, Suss reimagines the domestic spaces of her relatives, flattening the physical spaces of her memories and filling them up with skewed perspectives and historic kitsch. 
Also on view: Josephine Pryde and Christopher Knowles


13. "Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer" (Boston, Massachusetts)

Johannes Vermeer, A Lady Writing, about 1665. Oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Harry Waldron Havemeyer and Horace Havemeyer, Jr., in memory of their father, Horace Havemeyer, 1962.10.1

What: "Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer"
Where: The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts
When: Oct. 11, 2015 to Jan. 18, 2016
Why: The exhibition will feature 75 Dutch paintings from the 17th century that depict not just princes and paupers, but all walks of Dutch societal life from over 400 years ago. Art history nerds, this show will cover the gorgeous colors and brushworks of Rembrandt and his ilk, as well as the class narratives embedded in each of their paintings.


14. "Shadows and Dreams: Pictorialist Photography in America" (Cleveland, Ohio)

Riverside Drive and 83rd Street, New York, 1914. Paul Strand (American, 1890–1976). Vintage platinum print: 24.4 x 31.7 cm. Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund 1983.201. © Aperture Foundation, Inc., Paul Strand Archive

What: "Shadows and Dreams: Pictorialist Photography in America"
Where: The Cleveland Museum of Art in Cleveland, Ohio
When: Sept. 5, 2015 to Jan. 17, 2016
Why: The Pictorialists were known for their eagerness to strip photography of its constraints and infuse the medium with as much personal expression as abstract painting or sculpture, striving to be less reporters and documentarians and more photographic illustrators and visual pioneers. Here is a happy summary of the movement and its impact on American art.
Also on view: "Music Videos II" and "Silent Poetry: Masterworks of Chinese Painting"


15. Deana Lawson (Chicago, Illinois)

Deana Lawson. The Garden, Gemena, DR Congo, 2014. © Deana Lawson. Courtesy of Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago.

What: "Deana Lawson: Ruttenberg Contemporary Photography Series"
Where: The Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois
When: Sept. 5, 2015 to Jan. 10, 2016
Why: New York-based photographer Deana Lawson has spent over 10 years exploring the ways in which black culture has been portrayed visually across the world, through staged images and found candids alike. She's captured photographs in her hometown of Brooklyn as well as places in Louisiana, Haiti, Jamaica, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Also on view: "Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings" and Charles Ray


16. "Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion" (Atlanta, Georgia)

Iris van Herpen Refinery Smoke, July 2008 Photo by Bart Oomes, No 6 Studios © Iris van Herpen

What: Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion
Where: The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia
When: Nov. 7, 2015 to May 15, 2016
Why: This will be the first U.S. museum exhibition of work by the Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen. From haute couture to 3D printing, this is a show for any aspiring fashion devotees in and around Atlanta.

17. "30 Americans" (Detroit, Michigan)

Bird On Money, Jean-Michel Basquiat , 1981, acrylic and oil on canvas. Rubell Family Collection, Miami

What: "30 Americans"
Where: Detroit Institute of Arts in Detroit, Michigan
When: Oct. 18, 2015 to Jan. 18, 2016
Why: Where else can you see Kerry James Marshall, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kara Walker, Nick Cave, Kehinde Wiley, Carrie Mae Weems, Robert Colescott, Glen Ligon and Lorna Simpson all in one place? "30 Americans" is celebrating 30 years of art by African Americans, focusing on issues of racial, political, historical and gender identity.


18. "No Boundaries: Aboriginal Australian Contemporary Abstract Painting" (Miami, Florida)

Ngarra, Yalyalji and Malngirri, 2006 Synthetic polymer paint on paper. 14 x 20 inches. © Ngarra estate, courtesy Mossenson Galleries, Perth. Photo: Frank Casale.

What: "No Boundaries: Aboriginal Australian Contemporary Abstract Painting"
Where: Perez Art Museum in Miami, Florida
When: Sept. 17, 2015 to Jan. 3, 2016
Why: Here are the names of nine Aboriginal Australian artists you've probably never heard of: Paddy Bedford, Janangoo Butcher Cherel, Tommy Mitchell, Ngarra, Boxer Milner Tjampitjin, Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, Tjumpo Tjapanangvka, Billy Joongoorra Thomas, and Prince of Wales (Midpul). If you've ever wanted an introduction into the amazing world of Aboriginal abstraction, head to Miami.

19. "Orientalism: Taking and Making" (New Orleans, Louisiana)

Jean-Léon Gérôme, "Arnaut Blowing Smoke in His Dog's Nose," 19th century, Wikimedia Commons

What: "Orientalism: Taking and Making"
Where: The New Orleans Museum of Art in New Orleans, Louisiana
When: Through Dec. 31, 2015
Why: While the pop culture and fashion worlds at large grapple with what it means to appropriate traditions from historically oppressed cultures, NOMA is addressing "shades of oppression, racism, and superficial cultural understanding" found in 19th-century Orientalist paintings, photographs and decorative arts.

20. "Louise Bourgeois: No Exit" (Washington, D.C.)

Louise Bourgeois, M is for Mother, 1998, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Dian Woodner. © The Easton Foundation, Licensed by VAGA, NY

What: "Louise Bourgeois: No Exit"
Where: The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
When: November 15, 2015 to May 15, 2016
Why: It's Louise Bourgeois, do you need another reason


8 Honorable mentions:


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