One of James Turrell's "Ganzfeld" light installations from 2011.
Photo: Florian Holzherr

6 Must-See Art & Design Exhibitions in November

From James Turrell in Mexico City to Bugatti race cars in Phoenix, these museum shows are not to be missed
Sarah Oppenheimer’s S-334473 installation at Mass MoCA lets visitors manipulate their environment. Photo: Courtesy of Mass MoCA

1. Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Berkshires

Opening October 2019

Sarah Oppenheimer: S-337473

Straddling the realms of art, architecture, and engineering, New York artist Sarah Oppenheimer creates striking interventions that become one with the spaces in which they are exhibited. Mass MoCA’s converted factory in the Berkshires will host two monumental glass-and-metal structures anchored by a pivot mechanism, which rotates upon contact by visitors, shifting the perception of the installation entirely.

Pablo Picasso, Buste de Femme Avec Autoportrait, 1929. Photo: Collection Particulière, Courtesy of McClain Gallery

2. Musée National Picasso, Paris

Through February 23, 2020

Picasso: Magic Paintings

Located in the magnificent 17th-century former Hôtel Salé, the museum is showcasing the poignant paintings Pablo Picasso did from 1926 to 1930, a short yet formative period when he reached new emotional depths that would be the foundation for his masterwork, Guernica.

Peony Table Lamp, circa 1901–10. Probably by Clara Wolcott Driscoll (American, 1861–1944), Tiffany Studios. Photo: Courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art

3. Cleveland Museum of Art

Through June 14, 2020

Tiffany in Bloom: Stained Glass Lamps by Louis Comfort Tiffany

Louis Comfort Tiffany’s designs, many featuring exquisitely colored glass shades, are celebrated for their dazzling craftsmanship. This exhibition presents 20 stunning table and floor lamps that explore Tiffany’s many stylistic influences, along with period photographs.

A 1960 etching and aquatint titled To Catch a Unicorn by Betye Saar. Photo: Rob Gerhardt, Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art, New York

4. Museum of Modern Art, New York

Through January 4, 2020 

Betye Saar: The Legends of Black Girl’s Window

Born in 1926, Betye Saar is best known for the fantastical assemblage-style works she began in the 1960s as well as her depictions of the African-American experience. She is now receiving long-overdue institutional recognition: MoMA, which recently acquired 42 rare early works on paper, is mounting a show dedicated to her printmaking practice. (Simultaneously, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is showcasing Saar’s personal sketchbooks and finished works in an exhibition titled “Betye Saar: Call and Response,” which runs through April 5, 2020.)

Recommended: 5 Major Art Exhibitions Not to Miss This Fall

1967 All American Racer, Gurney Eagle F-1 Race Car. Private Collection. Photo: Peter Harholdt

5. Phoenix Art Museum

November 3–March 15, 2020

Legends of Speed

The evolution of race car design is showcased through some 20 iconic autos, proving that they are not only feats of engineering but also works of art. Accompanying the cars are stories of the legendary drivers behind the wheels. Among the highlights are a 1927 Bugatti Type 35 driven by Hellé Nice, a French dancer turned Grand Prix racer; a 1964 Shelby Daytona Coupe; and the 1973 Porsche 917/30, one of the most powerful race cars ever constructed.

One of James Turrell’s “Ganzfeld” light installations from 2011. Photo: Florian Holzherr

6. Museo Jumex, Mexico City

November 22–March 29, 2020

James Turrell: Passages of Light

For the past 50 years, American artist James Turrell has been fixated on the way light can be manipulated through space and color. This survey exhibition presents works from the 1960s to today and includes both small-scale studies as well as new works conceived for the museum. Don’t miss the drawings and models made for the famed Roden Crater, the dormant volcano in the northern Arizona desert that the artist has been converting into an elaborate celestial observatory since he acquired the dramatic site more than 40 years ago. 

A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2019 Late Fall issue under the headline “What’s On View.” Subscribe to the magazine.

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