Fall Arts Preview 2023: 10 Must-See Exhibitions

See works by Marc Chagall, Marina Abramovic, Sarah Lucas and More.

Some of the most anticipated art exhibitions are opening this fall, from Marina Abramovic’s 50-year retrospective at the Royal College of Art in London to the John Waters retrospective at The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. What follows are 10 not-to-miss exhibitions opening soon at New York’s best museums and institutions around the globe.

Marina Abramovic at the Royal College of Arts in London

A woman with a braid stares into the camera
Marina Abramović, ‘The Artist is Present’, 2010. Marco Anelli

Belgrade-born, New York-based performance art icon Marina Abramovic has made history her entire life. She was the first woman to be recognized as a performance artist in the 1970s and helped elevate performance art into pop culture with artworks like The Artist is Present (2010) and Rhythm 0 (1975), especially in the way she used her own body to push the limits of performance art. Now the 76-year-old artist is making history as the first woman artist to ever get a retrospective at the Royal College of Art in London. The exhibition will feature works from across her 50-year career, including photos of her groundbreaking performance work, video art, her installations and even her performance art pieces, which will be re-performed in the galleries by a group of artists trained by the Marina Abramovic Institute. It’s also the first major survey of the artist’s work in the U.K. September 23 through January 1, 2024.

Mark Rothko retrospective at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris

The color field American painter Mark Rothko (1903-1970) is known for his saturated abstract paintings. But they weren’t just paintings. His large canvases made up of fuzzy blocks of color transformed abstraction and contemporary art. Now, Fondation Louis Vuitton—the enormous museum in the middle of a park in Paris—is bringing Rothko’s first retrospective to France. It will feature more than 100 artworks on loan from museums like the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Tate Museum in London, as well as rarely seen pieces from private museums. The exhibition will be laid out chronologically, starting with his landscape works from the 1930s through his early abstract works in the 1940s to his turn to darker hues in the 1950s and beyond. October 18 through April 2, 2024.

Food & Fashion at the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum in New York City

Two purses made to look like fast food french fries and a burger
Delvaux’s French fries and burger miniature leather bags, 2017, Belgium. Gift of Delvaux, 2019.87.1 Courtesy FIT Museum

The intersection of food and fashion, both core elements of our everyday lives, is more comedic than you think. Look at the burger handbag designed by Delvaux in 2017 or the chocolate bar gown designed by Jeremy Scott at Moschino in 2014. Food & Fashion is a group exhibition featuring more than 80 garments, accessories and other items that show why the New York Times called “food motifs… the new florals.” Fashion designers on view include Chanel, Comme des Garçons and Stella McCartney with pieces that show how important food is to fashion, from fast food to the kitchen and restaurants, drawing a parallel between haute couture and haute cuisine. Featuring items that date back to the 18th century, the exhibition includes a French gown from 1765 and a peanut butter-and-jelly-sandwich hat by hat designer Stephen Jones. September 13 through November 26, 2023.

Nicolas de Staël at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris

An abstract painting with blocks of color
Nicolas de Staël, Agrigente, 1954, Oil on canvas, 60 x 81 cm. Private collection, Copyright Photo Annik Wetter copyright ADAGP, Paris, 2023

While his name might not be as recognized as Monet or Renoir, the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris is devoting a major retrospective to French artist Nicolas de Staël, who lived from 1914 to 1955. The Russian-born French painter was a key figure in post-war French art, and he’s known for minimalist, rather graphic abstract paintings that are smart and serene. He was a friend of the trailblazing Dadaist Jean Arp in the 1940s during the Second World War, as well as of Cubist Georges Braque. Overlooked but not forgotten, it has been 20 years since the artist had his work honored in a retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in 2003, and now they’re featuring his lesser-known works from Antibes, which is where he spent the latter years of his life. More than 200 paintings will be shown, 50 of which are coming to a French museum for the first time. September 14 through January 21, 2024.

John Waters: Pope of Trash at The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles

A group of people standing in the woods
John Waters, ‘Pink Flamingos’ (USA, 1972), Warner Bros. photo by Lawrence Irvine

If there is one independent filmmaker who has made an impact on mainstream culture, it is John Waters. The Baltimore filmmaker and artist is being honored in an exhibition at the Academy Awards Museum in Los Angeles—of all places—called John Waters: Pope of Trash. It’s making history as the first exhibition solely dedicated to Waters’ contributions to cinema. Starting from his humble, no-budget beginnings, this exhibition looks at his filmmaking process, gritty style, the comedic aspect that underpins all his works and his influence on pop culture. Expect to see costumes from his films, props, scripts (some of which are handwritten), letters, photographs, film clips and more. It was the famed writer William S. Burroughs who first called Waters the “pope of trash.” This exhibition shows how his work is more than that and how he challenged the status quo with films like Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Serial Mom and Hairspray. September 17 through August 4, 2024.

Fashion and Sports: From one Podium to Another at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris

A poster featuring a model playing tennis while wearing a sportwear gown
Lacoste Couture Polo Dress by Freaky Debbie. Courtesy the Musée des Arts Décoratifs

Paris has all eyes on the 2024 Olympics, which open in the city on July 26, 2024. Aligning with the hype, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris is opening an exhibition called Fashion and Sports: From one Podium to Another featuring more than 450 pieces of clothing, photos, sketches, magazines and posters that showcase the evolution of athletic wear and the influence of sportswear on fashion. Expect to see designs by Lanvin, Chanel and Schiaparelli; the evolution of the tracksuit and the origins of sneakerhead culture. September 20 through April 7, 2024.

Manet/Degas at The Met Fifth Avenue in New York City

A painting of a nude woman lounging in a bed while a woman holding flowers and a cat look on
Manet’s ‘Olympia’ (1863). © RMN (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Known art world frenemies Edgar Degas and Édouard Manet had a complicated relationship. The duo met as friends, were rivals at times and, in between, helped shape the face of modern painting in France. Manet/Degas on view this fall at The Met Fifth Avenue looks at how their tumultuous relationship seeped into their artworks through portraits, landscapes and more in this exhibition of more than 150 paintings and drawings. More than anything else, this exhibition will be a dialogue between two icons of 19th-century French art history, and it includes four drawings of Manet made by Degas, as well as Degas drawings of Manet and his wife Suzanne. Visitors will also see Manet’s famous painting Olympia from 1863—-the first time the work will be shown in the U.S.—and the Degas portrait of the Bellelli Family, on loan from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. September 24 through January 7, 2024.

Sarah Lucas at Tate Britain in London

A sculpture wearing thigh high stockings sitting in a chair
‘Pauline Bunny’ 1997; Sarah Lucas born 1962 Presented by the Patrons of New Art (Special Purchase Fund) through the Tate Gallery Foundation 1998. (c) Sarah Lucas / Photo (c) Tate

British artist Sarah Lucas is known for her cheeky sculptures of female figures and her use of stuffed pantyhose in her Bunny series. Now the artist, well known as one of the Young British Artists from the 1990s alongside Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, is having a retrospective at the Tate Britain called Happy Gas. The exhibition features her early works from the 1980s, pieces from the 1990s that got her well known in the art world and her most recent body of work, including pieces made of bronze. September 28 through January 14, 2024.

Chagall at Work at the Pompidou in Paris

Marc Chagall, who lived from 1887 to 1985, was a Russian-born French artist who changed the face of surrealist painting with his artworks, many of which were inspired by dreams. The Pompidou is showing 127 drawings and 12 sculptures in an exhibition called Drawings, Ceramics and Sculptures 1945-1970. The exhibition is themed around the prep drawings he made for the costume and stage curtains for The Firebird by Igor Stravinsky, as the opera commissioned the artist to make ceramics, collages and sculptures from the 1950s through the 1970s. October 4 through February 26, 2024.

Louise Nevelson at Galerie Gmurzynska

An art piece incorporating 3d elements
Louise Nevelson, ‘Untitled’, 1960. Courtesy Galerie Gmurzynska

The American artist Louise Nevelson is known for many things: trailblazing collage as contemporary art in the early 20th century, recycling materials long before it was trendy and making a career as a woman artist when one-woman shows were rare. Now, an exhibition on view at Galerie Gmurzynska celebrates the artist’s legacy in a solo show entitled Louise Nevelson – The Way I Think Is Collage. There are 18 framed collages in the exhibition, some of which are three dimensional, offering captivating insight into the artist’s oeuvre. Materials like wood and ripped paper are shown alongside flat, abstract works that reveal the artist’s true genius—her approach to balanced composition. Through September 30.

Spike Lee at the Brooklyn Museum

The award-winning, critically acclaimed filmmaker, artist and director Spike Lee is finally getting a retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum. The exhibition, called Spike Lee: Creative Sources features a vast installation of objects from Lee’s collection of paraphernalia that represent Black history, politics, hip hop and cinema history, as well as an intimate glimpse into his family. The exhibit will feature artworks by Kehinde Wiley, Deborah Roberts and Michael Ray Charles with historic photographs and film memorabilia. October 6 through February 4, 2024.

Fall Arts Preview 2023: 10 Must-See Exhibitions