Mark your calendar for Saturday, September 23—it’s Museum Day Live, when over 1,000 participating institutions will swing open their doors and offer free admission to their storehouses of art and culture. With so much to take in, we took the liberty of combing over the roster and shortlisting our top picks for museums and exhibitions from coast to coast.
Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY
Studio Views: Craft in the Expanded Field
Watch installations come to life as four alumni of the museum’s studio program create environments before your very eyes. Sarah Zapata’s all-over yarn installation, If I Could (2017), is something of an unruly shag carpet, spreading exuberant color and texture throughout.
Perez Art Museum Miami, Miami, FL
Spots, Dots, Pips, Tiles: An Exhibition About Dominoes
Spots, Dots, Pips, Tiles is just that—20 artists’ take on the age old game. Stacked Dominos Oct 28 (1994) by Donald Sultan is as much a picture of scattered game tiles as it is a graphic plotting of white circles on a black ground. Also remarkable is the PAMM’s new building by Herzog & De Meuron, complete with hanging gardens and overlooking the bay.
Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia, Atlanta, GA
WAP: Paul Stephen Benjamin
Benjamin repurposes old furniture and fixtures to create abstract sculptural forms. Whether he’ll repeat that technique here remains to be seen—the show opens just in time for Museum Day—but one thing you can almost certainly count on is the use of his signature color: black.
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, IL
Chicago Works: Amanda Williams
A wall of gold brick, an A-frame house painted cobalt blue, and intricate, paper cut maps of urban sprawl—Williams’ training as an architect is evident in her first museum solo show.
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY
Magnificent Gems: Medieval Treasure Bindings
See the covet-worthy collection of gem-encrusted book covers: diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds abound. And if blingy books aren’t your thing, the rooms of the Morgan Library alone—its many fireplaces, tapestries, and soaring painted ceiling by James Wall Finn—are worth the visit.
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, AZ
(dis)functional: Products of Conceptual Design
Blurring the line between art and design, beauty and utility, these objects make us reexamine how we live and interact with the things in our environment. “Clearly, there is a need for a new dollhouse in the family playroom,” wrote artist Laurie Simmons and architect Peter Wheelwright—collaborators on a modernist dollhouse for Bozart Toys (pictured here).
Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA
William Eggleston: Troubled Waters
It’s not hard to see why Eggleston has been called “the father of color modern photography.” Sure, he is credited as having introduced color into fine art photography, but it’s his handle on color—think distinctively saturated hues—that keep his title current.
RISD Museum, Providence, RI
Permanent Collection at the RISD
With vast holdings in art and design, you can take in a Bauhaus chair, a Warhol, and the prototype for a Balenciaga bag under one roof.
And we’re only scratching the surface—there are 1,169 to go. Click here to get your tickets and search participating institutions in your area.