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Museum Shows With Stories to Tell

Museum Shows With Stories to Tell


“Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech”

July 3 to Sept. 26

Best known as a fashion designer, Virgil Abloh — the artistic director of Louis Vuitton men’s wear and founder of the label Off-White — has several parallel careers, including architect and artist. In this show, works by Mr. Abloh in many different media are mixed with pieces by other artists, including Arthur Jafa. The museum’s atrium holds a work in the form of a black flag, “PSA” (2019), emblazoned with white words that could sum up Mr. Abloh’s whole approach to culture: “Question Everything.” Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston,


“In American Waters: The Sea in American Painting”

May 29 to Oct. 3

For summer, an exhibition of maritime paintings has a distinctly breezy appeal. This show of about 90 works covers more than 200 years of watery images, from historical artists like Michele Felice Cornè — represented by two works, including “Dropping Astern” (1812) — up to present-day makers like Amy Sherald, famed for her portrait of Michelle Obama, and Kay WalkingStick. Until May 31, you also can catch a thematically overlapping contemporary show, “Alexis Rockman: Shipwrecks,” that looks at maritime disasters through an ecological lens. Peabody Essex Museum,


“Mel Kendrick: Seeing Things in Things”

Through Oct. 3

The New York-based sculptor Mel Kendrick, now in his 70s, has devoted his working life to abstraction, somehow mining emotion from complex shapes with round holes, sharp angles, and myriad twists and turns. His materials are basic — wood, rubber, concrete, paper — and his aesthetic is just as effective when he puts his signature geometries into woodblock prints. This show, at the museum of the prep school Phillips Academy, features about 60 sculptures as well as photographs, prints and intriguing tabletop pieces that Mr. Kendrick considers to be 3-D sketches, helping the viewer understand his process. As a bonus, the museum commissioned two large outdoor sculptures in concrete. Addison Gallery of American Art,


“Lucia Hierro: Marginal Costs”

June 7 to Jan. 2, 2022

A Dominican-American artist raised in the New York neighborhood of Washington Heights, Lucia Hierro brings a citified Pop sensibility to works like her “Mercado” series of oversize sculptures of grocery bags, full of household products and food that might be bought at an uptown bodega. The show, with 14 works, also features Ms. Hierro’s largest mural to date, “Marginal Costs,” which depicts life amid the culture of the Caribbean diaspora and addresses the impact of the coronavirus. Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum,

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