7 museum exhibits you can’t miss this summer

Taking a peek at the summer’s coolest museum exhibits

While everyone’s packing their beach bags and slipping into their swimsuits, we’ve got our eyes on what’s going on indoors at some of the best museum exhibits in the nation. Behind closed doors, where the air conditioning is comfortably circulating, a range of masterpieces are on display for this summer only.

Because these exhibits are open for just a few months, we’ve picked seven museums to visit this summer before the curtain closes. The eye candy at these temporary exhibitions cover all kinds of bases, from immersive environments to socially symbolic pieces. Whether you’re looking for some inspiration or indoor adventures, run, don’t walk to these fascinating shows before it’s too late!

Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors, Seattle Art Museum

(June 30 through September 10)
Seattle, Washington
Step into Kusama’s dreamland, where mirrors mesmerize as they multiply images by the millions. More magical and mysterious than any funhouse mirrors you’ve ever experienced, her whimsical world challenges your sense of reality, without trickery or distortion. Immerse yourself in the simplicity of reflection and explore the limitless in the five eccentric chambers at Seattle Art Museum.

Learning from the Masters: The Famous Artists School, Norman Rockwell Museum

(July 8 through November 19)
Stockbridge, Massachusetts
Their art was once plastered on the covers of nationwide publications, and now you can admire the works from the original 12: the founders of the Famous Artists School. In the late 1940s, the art academy was the it-place for blossoming artists, where they learned coveted techniques from luminaries of the art world. Lose track of time as you sort through the advertisement sketches and cover illustrations—some in different stages of creation—and you’ll soon realize why this museum is so dedicated to celebrating Norman Rockwell.

The Beat Journey: Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, The American Writers Museum

(through October 27)
Chicago, Illinois

Via Barry Brecheisen

Like a new book longing to be broken in, The American Writers Museum is ready for you to stretch its binding and get acquainted. This literary-themed museum just opened in May, and The Beat Journey: Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” exhibit is already gaining traction. Become “one of the mad ones,” as you relish the original roll on which Kerouac fervently typed his stream of consciousness, eventually resulting in the iconic Beat novel.

Andy Warhol: Endangered Species, National Museum of Wildlife Art

(through November 5)
Jackson, Wyoming

Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and Queen Elizabeth are all immortalized in Andy Warhol’s silkscreen prints, but famous icons weren’t the pop artist’s only subjects. Ever since childhood, Warhol enjoyed depicting animals, which perhaps led to his Endangered Species portfolio, commissioned by environmental activists in 1983. With a collection full of vibrant black rhinos and vivacious bald eagles, a temporary home at the National Museum of Wildlife Art just seems like a natural fit.

Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction, Museum of Modern Art

(through August 13)
New York City, New York

Artwork by male artists has long dominated the spotlight, but MoMa is on a mission to let female-made masterpieces shine. The aptly named Making Space summer exhibit is shifting the attention to works of art created by women between 1945 and 1968–around the second-wave feminism period. Take the journey through nearly 100 abstraction pieces, from both famous and lesser-known artisans, and contemplate the global and gender themes that still resonate today.

Boundless: Altered Books in Contemporary Art, Hill-Stead Museum

(through September 4)
Farmington, Connecticut
You know not to judge a book by its cover, but at this Hill-Stead exhibit, you may not even recognize a cover at all when you eye the Boundless sculptures of recycled and reshaped books. The exhibition uniquely experiments with the concept of books as art forms. Dissected, woven, stitched, and reconstructed, these books push the boundaries, bringing new meaning to them, beyond the words on their pages.

Chihuly: In the Gallery and In the Forest, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

(through August 14)
Bentonville, Arkansas
The name Chihuly and glasswork are practically synonymous, as the Washington artist has spent the last 40 years crafting eclectic creations from glass. Intricate, delicate, and colorfully divine, his installations invite you to gawk and wonder how they’re so artfully crafted. Explore his ice-like structures in the Ozark woods and indoor gallery this summer only at Crystal Bridges.

What must-see museums are on your summer list?


Photo Credits:
Seattle Art Museum
Top: Infinity Mirrored Room—Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity, 2009, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Yayoi Kusama, Japanese, b. 1929, wood, mirror, plastic, acrylic, LED, black glass, and aluminum, Collection of the artist,
Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore; Victoria Miro, London;
David Zwirner, New York, © YAYOI
KUSAMA, Photo: Cathy Carver.

Middle Left: Infinity Mirrored Room—All the Eternal
Love I Have for the Pumpkins, (exterior view) 2016, Yayoi Kusama, Japanese, b.1929, wood, mirror, plastic, black glass, LED, Collection of the artist, Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore and Victoria Miro, London, © YAYOI KUSAMA.

Middle Right: Infinity Mirrored Room—Love Forever,
1966/1994, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Yayoi Kusama, Japanese, b. 1929, wood, mirrors, metal, and lightbulbs, Collection of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore.

Bottom Right & Header: Infinity Mirrored Room—All the Eternal
Love I Have for the Pumpkins, 2016, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Yayoi Kusama, Japanese, b. 1929, wood, mirror, plastic, black glass, LED, Collection of the artist, Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore and Victoria Miro, London, © YAYOI KUSAMA, Photo: Cathy Carver.

National Museum of Wildlife Art
Top Left: San Francisco Silverspot
Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), San Francisco Silverspot, 1983. Screenprint. 38 x 38 inches. Gift of the 2006 Collectors Circle and an Anonymous Donor and the NMWA Acquisitions Fund, National Museum of Wildlife Art. ©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York/Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.

Top Right: Black Rhinoceros
Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), Black Rhinoceros, 1983. Screenprint. 38 x 38 inches. Gift of the 2006 Collectors Circle and an Anonymous Donor and the NMWA Acquisitions Fund, National Museum of Wildlife Art. ©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York/Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.

Top Left: Bighorn Ram
Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), Bighorn Ram, 1983. Screenprint. 38 x 38 inches. Gift of the 2006 Collectors Circle and an Anonymous Donor and the NMWA Acquisitions Fund, National Museum of Wildlife Art. ©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York/Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.

Top Right: Grevy’s Zebra
Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), Grevy’s Zebra, 1983. Screenprint. 38 x 38 inches. Gift of the 2006 Collectors Circle and an Anonymous Donor and the NMWA Acquisitions Fund, National Museum of Wildlife Art. ©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York/Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.

Norman Rockwell Museum
Top Left: Jon Whitcomb (1906-1988)
[Boy at Party], c. 1940
Cover illustration for Good Housekeeping, March 1940
Acrylic and pencil on paper
Norman Rockwell Museum Collection, Gift of Magdalen and Robert Livesey/Famous Artists School Collection

Top Right: Fred Ludekens (1900-1982)
The Outlaw of Longbow, 1950
Story illustration for The Outlaw of Longbow by Peter Dawson, Saturday Evening Post, October 28, 1950
Gouache and ink on paper
Norman Rockwell Museum Collection, Gift of Magdalen and Robert Livesey/Famous Artists School Collection, ©1950 SEPS: Licensed by Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN

Bottom Left: Group photo of Famous Artists School Faculty. Left to right: Harold von Schmidt, John Atherton, Al Parker, founder Al Dorne (white shirt, on the ground), Norman Rockwell (with painting created for Cecil B. DeMille’s 1949 film, “Samson and Delilah”), Ben Stahl, Peter Helck, Stevan Dohanos, Jon Whitcomb, Austin Briggs (rear, far right), and Robert Fawcett (front, far right). ©Norman Rockwell Museum Collecton, gift of Famous Artists School. All rights reserved.

Bottom Right: Albert Dorne (1906-1965)
[Development of a face], n.d.
Pencil on paper
Norman Rockwell Museum Collection, Gift of Magdalen and Robert Livesey/Famous Artists School Collection

Hill-Stead Museum:
Top: Hill-Stead Museum
Bottom Left & Right: Caryn B. Davis

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art:
Top: Dale Chihuly
Boathouse 7 Neon (and detail), 2016
The Boathouse, Seattle

Bottom Left: Dale Chihuly
Rotolo Drawings, 2013
Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington, 2015

Middle Right: Dale Chihuly
Rotolo in Evelyn Room
The Boathouse, Seattle, 2015

Bottom Right: Dale Chihuly
Neodymium Reeds and Seal Pups, 2012
Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle

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Chloe Mulliner

As a staff writer for Expedia, Chloe Mulliner is dedicated to providing top travel tips for your jaunts around the world. She believes there are adventures to be had on every inch of the globe from surf spots on the Peruvian coast to the charming villages of the English countryside. Chloe specializes in showcasing all the must-see attractions on your travel wish list. She lives by the belief that every adventure is a story worth sharing.

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