10 Must-See Fall Art Shows from Cities Around the World


Museums and galleries in cultural capitals around the world are just starting to roll out an exciting new line-up of fall exhibitions to entice their viewers. From Willem de Kooning’s sensual abstractions at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Diane Arbus’ iconic photographs of nudists and transvestites at the Jeu de Paume in Paris to Pipilotti Rist’s colorful video installations at London’s Hayward Gallery and KAWS’ playful interpretations of cartoon characters at Honor Fraser in Los Angeles, the new art season is a major moment of renewal for artists, both old and new. Click through our top ten show picks worldwide and let us know what you would add to the list.

de Kooning: A Retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, September 18, 2011 – January 9, 2012

Willem de Kooning, Woman, I, 1950-52, Oil, enamel and charcoal on canvas, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase. © 2011 The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

MoMA kicks off the fall season with a blockbuster exhibition of paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by celebrated abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning. Spanning seven decades, the show occupies the museum’s whole sixth floor and features nearly 200 works—ranging from 1920s’ academics works, made in Holland prior to his move to America, to the artist’s sublime, sparse canvases of the late 1980s.

Diane Arbus at the Jeu de Paume in Paris, October 18, 2011 – February 5, 2012

Diane Arbus, Child with a toy hand grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C. 1962, Silver gelatin print, © The Estate of Diane Arbus LLC, New York

Some 200 of Diane Arbus’ iconic images of nudists, transvestites, and eccentrics are mixed with lesser-known photographs that have never been publicly exhibited for the first comprehensive French retrospective of work by the troubled artist, who committed suicide at age 48 in 1971.

Andy Warhol: Shadows at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, September 25, 2011 – January 15, 2012

Andy Warhol, Shadows, 1978-79. Installation view at the Dia Art Foundation. © 2011 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Bill Jacobson.

As popular in death as he was in life, Andy Warhol is being celebrated this fall with his Liz Taylor paintings at Gagosian Gallery in New York, Brigitte Bardot canvases at Gagosian in London, newspaper headline pieces at our capital’s National Gallery of Art and — most importantly — with his complete set of 102 large-scale Shadow paintings at the Hirshhorn Museum, also in Washington, DC. The first time that this massive, seemingly cinematic installation has been shown in its entirety since its inaugural presentation at a SoHo gallery in 1979, Shadows promises to be an insightful look at the famed Pop artist from another—more haunting and enigmatic—angle.

Anthropocene Extinction, A Site-Specific Installation by Swoon at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, September 3 – December 30, 2011

Swoon, Anthropocene Extinction, 2011. Site-specific installation at ICA Boston. Courtesy the artist.

Off the street and once again shining forth in the white box, Swoon’s Anthropocene Extinction installation takes over ICA Boston’s lobby with a dynamic, cut-paper wall mural and a 400-pound, suspended bamboo sculpture. One of Flavorpill’s favorite artists, Swoon never fails to enchant viewers with her community conscious, thought provoking projects.

Christian Marclay: Cyanotypes at Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, September 8 – October 29, 2011

Christian Marclay, Large Cassette Grid No. 1, 2011, Cyanotype. Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Christian Marclay, fresh off his world tour of The Clock, a 24-hour video remix of film clips charting the movement of time from morning to night, goes back to the beginnings of photography with his use of the cyanotype process to make experimental photograms of our culture’s soon-to-be-extinct cassette tapes. Capturing the tapes and their cases in grids and pulling them apart at their seams to create energetic patterns, Marclay make music speak a totally different, and remarkably new, language.

Dana Schutz: If the Face Had Wheels at the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, NY, September 25 – December 18, 2011

Dana Schutz, Swimming, Smoking, Crying, 2009. Oil on canvas, Collection Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kansas. Gift of Marti and Tony Oppenheimer and the Oppenheimer Brothers Foundation

One of the most coveted American painters of the past decade, Dana Schutz is being honored with her first major museum survey show, featuring some 30 paintings and a dozen drawings that reflect her absurdist sensibility for storytelling, while conveying her intuitive and jovial handling of paint.

Sterling Ruby: Vampire at The Pace Gallery in Beijing, September 25 – November 5, 2011

Sterling Ruby, SP178, 2011. Spray paint on canvas, 145 x 213 x 2 inches, © Sterling Ruby, Courtesy The Pace Gallery

A rising star on the international art scene, Sterling Ruby is the first Western artist to land a solo show at The Pace Gallery’s high-profile Beijing branch. His exhibition, Vampire, offers a powerful mix of urethane stalagmite sculptures, spray-painted geometric works resembling civic monuments, hallucinogenic color-field canvases, hand-wrought ceramics, and bronze sculptures that explore the idea of the vampire’s uncontrollable and insatiable appetite, which also informs the darker aspects of human behavior.

KAWS: Hold The Line at Honor Fraser in Los Angeles, September 10 – October 22, 2011

KAWS, Hold the Line, 2011, installation view. Courtesy Honor Fraser, Los Angeles

A graffiti artist, painter, illustrator, sculptor, toymaker, and product designer, Brian Donnelly, aka KAWS, made his name altering public advertisements with X-eyed, skull-and-crossboned, spermazoidal characters, before turning his talents to editorial collaborations, collectible toy figures, design objects, and colorful canvases. A wildly successful crossover artist, KAWS cleverly makes Mickey Mouse, the Simpsons, Smurfs, and SpongeBob SquarePants anew. His second solo show at Honor Fraser reveals the artist at his best with scores of arresting paintings and two striking Companion sculptures.

Gert & Uwe Tobias at Contemporary Fine Arts in Berlin, August 26 – October 1, 2011

Gert & Uwe Tobias, Ohne Titel (Untitled,) 2011. Colored woodcut on paper, 246 x 195 cm / 96.85 x 76.77 in. Courtesy Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin

Rumanian twin brothers that live in Germany, Gert & Uwe Tobias have been wowing audiences around the globe with their large-scale, funky, colorful woodcuts since finishing art school in Cologne in 2002. While previous pieces has been informed by folk art from their Transylvania homeland, their new body of work focuses on the still life, where hanging birds, insects, skulls, and prickly cacti come together to construct an intriguing view of death and decay.

Pipilotti Rist at the Hayward Gallery in London, September 28, 2011 – January 8, 2012

Pipilotti Rist, Extremitäten (weich, weich) [Extremities (smooth, smooth)], 1999 Audio video installation, Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth Zürich London and Flick Collection, © the artist 2011

Born Elisabeth Charlotte Rist, Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist took her creative name in reference to the carefree, literary character Pippi Longstocking. Known for her trippy video installations and single-channel pieces that riff on rock videos, Rist is an artist that’s willing to take chances in order to reveal the underlying angst and seductiveness found in nature. Her first British survey show offers videos, sculptures, photographs, wallpapers, and installations spanning her whole career, from the 1980s to today.