10 Art Exhibits Worth Traveling for in 2018

Add Harry Potter, Yayoi Kusama and Michelangelo to your 2018 calendar.

Photo By: A phoenix rising from the ashes in a 13th-century bestiary (c) British Library

Photo By: Jeanne Hébuterne, 1919, Medium Oil paint on canvas, 914 x 730 mm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Photo By: Richard Wilks, Evotrope, 2009. Image courtesy of the artist.

Photo By: © Old Ideas, LLC

Photo By: Rembrandt van Rijn, Flora, 1634, © State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

Photo By: The Washington Post

Photo By: © & ™ 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. Used under authorization. Queen Amidala Throne Room Gown Star Wars™: The Phantom Menace

Photo By: Daniele da Volterra (Daniele Ricciarelli) (Italian, Volterra 1509–1566 Rome), Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564), Probably ca. 1544, Oil on wood, 34 3/4 x 25 1/4 in. (88.3 x 64.1 cm), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Clarence Dillon, 1977

Photo By: Photo by Robert Descharnes and Paul Averty. ©Descharnes & Descharnes sarl 2016. Duchamp and Dalí playing chess during filming for A Soft Self-Portrait, 1966 (photograph, 21×31 cm). Archivo Fotografico Pere Vehi, Cadaques

"Harry Potter: A History of Magic", London and NYC

Potterheads and passing fans alike still have time to apparate to The British Library for this first-time exhibit available through February 28, 2018, marking the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Philosopher’s Stone in the U.K.). The exhibit draws its magical collection (and actual inspiration for the books) from the British Library, J.K. Rowling and other international museums. Among the curiosities are ancient Chinese oracle bones used in fortune telling, the actual tombstone of the real-life Nicolas Flamel and a black crystal ball that belonged to the unfortunately nicknamed witch, Smelly Nelly. But the highlight is the 16th-century Ripley Scroll, a 20-foot-long manuscript containing instructions for making the philosopher’s stone. This was long-believed to be a substance that could convert base metals, such as tin, into precious metals, such as gold. Oh, and grant everlasting life to boot. Don’t despair if you can’t attend the British Library exhibit, as it’s coming to the New-York Historical Society in October 2018.

"Modigliani", Tate Modern, London

Like many an artist, Amedeo Modigliani's genius wasn’t recognized during his short life, particularly his nude paintings. In fact, police shut down his only solo exhibition in 1917, citing indecency. Fast forward to today, where his nudes are now the highlight of a new exhibition at Tate Modern. The show features about 100 pieces in 11 rooms, notably 12 nudes, making it the largest reunion of these paintings in the U.K. Hopefully this time, the only police presence will be those in attendance. Another highlight that would be difficult for Modigliani to fathom is the ability to experience his final studio thanks to virtual reality. It's available through April 1, 2018.

"No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man", Renwick Gallery, Washington D.C.

The annual phenomenon that is Burning Man (an art-centric counterculture event in the Nevada desert) isn’t for everyone. But thanks to the upcoming "No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" exhibit at the Renwick Gallery in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, curiosity seekers can learn all about it without wilting in searing desert heat. Beyond photographs and archival materials, visitors will find immersive exhibits, elaborate costumes and large-scale installations, including a specially-commissioned temple. It's available from March 30 to September 16, 2018.

"Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything", Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art

The famed Canadian singer and songwriter, who is perhaps best known for his haunting rendition of "Hallelujah," passed away in 2016. However, the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art began planning "A Crack in Everything" — a comprehensive, multidisciplinary exhibit that goes beyond showcasing his legacy — while he was still alive and with his approval. The final product not only incorporates archival footage of his work, but it also incorporates the work of artists around the world (from film to performance art) who were inspired by Cohen’s darkly beautiful genius. It's available through April 9, 2018.

"Dutch Masters from the Hermitage", Hermitage Amsterdam

It’s a who’s who of Dutch masters at this new exhibit at the Hermitage Amsterdam, a branch of The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. It’s also the first time in 250 years that paintings by Rembrandt, Adriaen van Ostade and Gerard Dou will be temporarily returning home to The Netherlands since Russian Tsars purchased these masterpieces that are now part of The State Hermitage Museum’s permanent collection. The Hermitage Amsterdam will be displaying more than 60 of these works. Of note is Rembrandt’s "Flora", believed to be his wife as a newlywed. The collection also includes five other Rembrandt paintings. It’s available through May 27, 2018, and it's best to buy tickets online to avoid the line.

"Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors", North American Tour

Yayoi Kusama is an avant-garde living legend whose exhibits attract sold-out crowds. Her latest, "Infinity Mirrors," features six of her Instagram-famous infinity rooms. Each of these mirrored spaces is filled with a theme, from polka dots to lanterns, which appear to be reflected into eternity. Her latest room, "All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins," is a mirrored wonderland of yellow and black polka-dotted pumpkins that she finished in 2016. Other newer pieces involve her painting series, "My Eternal Soul," on view in the U.S. for the first time. This retrospective also encompasses more than 60 years of her work, allowing visitors to witness the evolution of her imaginative paintings, whimsical sculptures and more. In 2018, the show will be moving on to the Art Gallery of Ontario (Mar. 3-May 27), and the Cleveland Museum of Art (July 9-Sept. 30), before wrapping at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta (Nov. 18-Feb. 17, 2019). Be forewarned that due to demand, advance sales have been selling out at the speed of Hamilton tickets.

"Star Wars and The Power of Costume", St. Petersburg, Fla. and Detroit

This popular touring Smithsonian exhibit is entering its final year and is a must for Star Wars fans. In fact, the creative process that went into designing the iconic costumes is just as complex as the universe that George Lucas created. Lucasfilm consulted on the exhibit, where more than 60 costumes are on display, along with detailed sketches and backstories. Go behind the scenes to learn more about the decisions that went into Darth Vader’s mask, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s robe, Queen Amidala’s gowns and more. Catch it at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Fla. through April 1, 2018, and the Detroit Institute of Arts in Michigan from May-September 2018.

“Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman & Designer”, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

Michelangelo was the true definition of a Renaissance Man, as he didn’t just excel at sculpting and painting, but drawing, architecture and design as well. In order to showcase the immense breadth of his work, The Met culled objects from more than 50 collections across the U.S. and Europe, resulting in three marble statues, 133 drawings, his earliest known painting and more. The result is the largest ever assemblage of his work, making this a once-in-a-lifetime kind of event. It's available through February 12, 2018.

Takashi Murakami: "The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg", The Modern, Ft. Worth, Texas

Contemporary artist Takashi Murakami straddles the line between high and low art, contributing his anime-inspired pop art to high-end brands such as Louis Vuitton. Murakami also created the album cover for Kanye West’s "Graduation." This career retrospective gathers about fifty pieces from the past thirty years, providing insight into how his work evolved from a more traditional Nihonga style of painting to today, best represented in "The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg." In a telling look at his current mindset, the name of the exhibit stems from a Japanese folktale that relates how an octopus will eat its own leg as a survival technique, secure in the knowledge that the leg will grow back. (Which is indeed true.) It's available from June 10-September 16, 2018.

"Dali/Duchamp" at Salvador Dali Museum, Florida

"Dali/Duchamp" debuted in fall 2017 at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and will, fittingly enough, be coming to the Salvador Dali Museum this winter. The exhibit explores the relationship between Marcel Duchamp, considered the father of conceptual art, and Salvador Dali, a popular surrealist. The two were friends in real life, and the exhibit examines this friendship and how it impacted their artwork. It also compares and contrasts the differences in their styles through about 60 pieces and switches their roles as well. For example, visitors will find paintings by Duchamp, better known for his readymades, and photographs by Dali, better known for his paintings. It's available from February 10-May 27,2018.

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