Like movie blockbusters and music festivals, the art world always saves its best and biggest exhibitions for the hot summer months.
Painting buffs will want to mark their calendars for Frida Kahlo at the Nelson Atkins, Lichtenstein at the Centre Pompidou, and Jeff Koons at New York City’s Gagosian Gallery, while post-modern connoisseurs can get their fix with Jack Turrell’s massive fluorescent light sculptures at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
Of course, a person can work up a sweat absorbing all that high culture. Fortunately, the Rain Room at MoMA’s PS1—a giant indoor installation that allows visitors the opportunity to walk through rain drops—is perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day.
"Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait," at The Jewish Museum of London: Co-curated by her brother, Alex, and sister-in-law, Riva, this summer exhibition offers an intimate look at the family life of Amy Winehouse. Never-before-seen snaps include images of the family's Friday night dinners, bar mitzvahs, and their grandmother, Cynthia.
July 3 to September 15; details at jewishmuseum.org.uk.
The Jewish Museum/The Jewish Museum
"Claes Oldenburg: The Street and the Store" at MoMA in New York City: Best known for his paper-mache homages to fast food, Claes Oldenburg's retrospective at MoMA—which includes painted sculptures of sandwiches and ice cream sundaes—is bound to strum up your appetite for pop art.
April 14 through August 5; details at moma.org.
"Fashion Rules: Dress from the Collections of
HM The Queen, Princess Margaret, and Diana, Princess of Wales," at
Kensington Palace in London: Iconic royal regalia—including a number of Princess Di's pouf-sleeve gowns and Queen Elizabeth's countless caps—will go on display this summer at Kensington Palace.
Opens July 4; details at hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalace.
Kensington Palace/Kensington Palace
"Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Masterpieces of Modern Mexico," at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City: Culled from the private collection of Jacques and
Natasha Gelman, this highly-anticipated summer exhibit offers a look at the evolution of contemporary Mexican art (not to mention plenty of works depicting Frida Kahlo's iconic unibrow).
May 25 through August 18; details at nelson-atkins.org.
Nelson Atkins/Nelson Atkins
"James Turrell: A Retrospective," at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston: James Turrell, whose large-scale light installations won him a MacArthur "Genius" grant back in 1984, is staging a massive exhibition of his florescent works which, after opening in Houston, will tour LACMA and the Guggenheim next fall.
June 9 through September 22; details at mfah.org.
Jeff Koons at the Gagosian Gallery in New York City: New York
mega-dealers Larry Gagosian and David Zwirner are both hosting exhibits of the newest works from Jeff Koons—he of the giant, candy-colored balloon animals—at Gagosian Gallery this through June.
May 9 to June 29; details at gagosian.com.
Gagosian Gallery/Gagosian Gallery
"Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective," at the Centre Pompidou in Paris: This comprehensive retrospective in Paris tracks Lichtenstein's work from its early '60s comic book origins to the artist's later, less celebrated "brass and glass" sculptures.
July 4 to November 4; details at centrepompidou.fr.
Centre Pompidou/Centre Pompidou
The Rain Room at MoMA PS1 in New York City: This summer, New Yorker's can cool off in "The Rain Room," essentially a giant indoor-shower designed by architect art collective, Random International. Not cool enough? The room can sense human heat, so the rain will stop wherever the viewer walks (so you won't get too soaked).
May 12 to July 28; details at moma.org.
Paul McCarthy at Hauser & Wirth in New York City: Dubbed the father of "abject art," Paul McCarthy is presenting himself as a naked corpse—really a wax cast—laid out on a table in Hauser & Wirth for the first half of the summer.
May 10 to June 1; details at hauserwirth.com.
Hauser & Wirth/Hauser & Wirth
"Punk: Chaos to Couture" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City: When it comes to giant art openings, nothing can top the Costume Institute's latest "Punk" exhibit, which features everything from Vivienne Westwood's safety-pin studded couture creations to the bathroom of CBGB's re-built in all its putrid glory.
May 9 through August 14; details at MetMuseum.org.
Metropolitan Museum of Art/Metropolitan Museum of Art