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Beat the Heat, Museum Style

When you find yourself exhausted by the hot summer weather, or if it’s “too hot to swim” as they say here in the south, head to your nearest art museum for some air conditioning and inspiration. When I make time for a museum visit I’m sure to learn something new about art and my own taste in art. Ideas spanning many topics begin percolating in my head due to the influx of visual stimuli.

Family at museum photo: SF MOMA

It’s a fun and educational outing for the whole family – don’t think it’s too boring or highbrow for the kids. At the very least, you can talk about shapes and colors with the youngest members of your group. Most museums have children’s areas where art and play intersect. Here are a few highlights at museums across the country. If your town is not on this list, look in your local paper for a ideas. Above all, enjoy what you see!

Chip Simone at High Museum of Art

Atlanta: High Museum
The Resonant Image: Photographs by Chip Simone
Now – November 6, 2011
Having worked as a classic black-and-white street photographer for most of his career, Atlanta-based photographer Robert “Chip” Simone embraced digital technology and color output in the year 2000, moving his experimentations with the medium into fresh and invigorating territory. This exhibition of 64 color photographs by Simone showcases the results of his recent explorations, presenting a tightly focused retrospective of the past decade of his work.  1280 Peachtree Street, N.E. Atlanta, GA

The Allure of the Automobile at Portland Art Museum

Portland: Portland Art Museum
The Allure of the Automobile
Now – September 11, 2011
Opening in June 2011, The Allure of the Automobile will showcase 16 of the world’s most luxurious, rare, and brilliantly conceived automobiles designed between 1930 and the mid-1960s. From the avant garde 1937 Hispano-Suiza owned by French apéritif baron André Dubonnet to the ultra-cool convertible 1957 Jaguar XK-SS Roadster once owned by Hollywood legend Steve McQueen, the exhibition traces the evolution of the motorcar, showcasing developments in automotive design and engineering.  1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland, OR

Cy Twombly at MOCA

Los Angeles: MOCA
Cy Twombly Tribute
Now – October 2, 2011
Cy Twombly was one of the masters of postwar painting, and his work has played a critical role in the international development of contemporary art. This exhibition, featuring works from the Broad Collection, spans the six decades of his career, tracing the evolution of his unique and highly personal visual language.  250 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA

Marvelous Mud at Denver Art Museum

Denver: Denver Art Museum
Marvelous Mud: Clay Around the World
Now – September 18, 2011
Clay Around the World includes eight exhibitions, live artist demonstrations, and hands-on programming including large-scale installations that respond to the museum’s dynamic architecture. In The Mud Studio, kids of all ages (even grown-up ones) can get their hands dirty, work with clay, watch live demonstrations on the weekends, and learn about the marvelously messy world of ceramics. It’s fun for families: pick up a Family Backpack filled with games, puzzles, and art making activities. Stop at a Hotspot to paint a Hopi tile. Try your hand at clay animation. And more.  100 W. 14th Avenue Parkway, Denver, CO

Built Festival, Chicago

Chicago: Built Festival
THIS WEEKEND ONLY Friday, August 12th 5-10:30pm, Saturday August 13th 12-10:30pm
A major new art initiative; Built Festival is a city being created out of shipping containers this summer in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. The shipping containers will be given over to local artists and curators to transform into alternative or guerrilla venues. Built is designed a dynamic space for creative thinking and action, bringing together artists and participants in a cultural activation open to the public.  1767 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL

Otherworldly at the Museum of Arts & Design

New York City: Museum of Arts & Design
Otherworldly – Optical Delusions and Small Realities
Now – September 18, 2011
Optical Delusions and Small Realities illuminates the phenomenal renaissance of interest among artists worldwide in constructing small-scale hand built depictions of artificial environments and alternative realities, either as sculpture or as subjects for photography and video. These are worlds of “magic realism” conceived and realized through intense engagement with materials, attention to detail, and concern for meaningful content. In this exhibition, the works are presented as dioramas, models, snow globes, and site specific installations, as well as through photographs and video.  2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY

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