ARTS & CULTURE
06/28/2010 01:58 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

GREAT EXHIBITIONS: Metropolitan Museum, De Young Museum, Phillips Collection

WHAT: American Woman: Fashioning A National Identity WHO: House of Worth, Liberty of London, Madeleine Vionnet, Madame Gres WHEN: May 5 - August 15, 2010 WHERE: Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10028

WHY:
American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity is the first Costume Institute exhibition drawn from the newly established Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Met. It explores developing perceptions of the modern American woman from 1890 to 1940 and how they have affected the way American women are seen today. Focusing on archetypes of American femininity through dress, the exhibition reveals how the American woman initiated style revolutions that mirrored her social, political, and sexual emancipation. "Gibson Girls," "Bohemians," and "Screen Sirens," among others, helped lay the foundation for today's American woman. (From the Metropolitan Museum's website.)

WHAT: Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musee d'Orsay
WHO: Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne
WHEN: May 22 - September 6, 2010
WHERE: De Young Museum
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118

Family Reunion by Frederic Bazille
WHY:
Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musee d'Orsay presents nearly 100 magnificent works by the famous masters who called France their home during the mid- to late-19th century and from whose midst arose one of the most original and recognizable of all artistic styles, Impressionism. The exhibition begins with paintings by the great academic artist Bouguereau and the arch-Realist Courbet, and includes American expatriate Whistler's Arrangement in Gray and Black, known to many as "Whistler's Mother." Manet, Monet, Renoir, and Sisley are showcased with works dating from the 1860s through 1880s, along with a selection of Degas' paintings that depict images of the ballet, the racetrack, and life in the Belle Epoque. (From the de Young Museum website.)

WHAT: Pousette-Dart: Predominantly White Paintings
WHO: Richard Pousette-Dart
WHEN: June 5 - September 12, 2010
WHERE: The Phillips Collection
1600 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009

Richard Pousette-Dart, "White Cosmos," 1950-51
WHY:
In the early 1950s, Richard Pousette-Dart (1916-1992) created a series of paintings nearly without paint, working in graphite and oil on canvas to produce works that are both complex and spare. Luminous and poetic, they are filled with symbolic imagery and natural forms, and they represent a dramatic departure from the artist's more characteristic, richly colored and thickly painted surfaces. Although Pousette-Dart began the white paintings when a shortage of funds prevented him from buying his usual supply of paints, he continued to make mostly white works at intervals in later years. "White," he said, "is something you endlessly return to."
(From the Phillips Collection website.)