Heading to the Wadsworth Atheneum to see their newest exhibition, MATRIX 168: Allison Schulnik? While you’re there, check out these three exhibitions, or sound like you already have.

Weaving the Myth of Psyche
Closes: February 16
Summary: It’s a narrative of the use of tapestries as historical narrative.
Most important/famous/controversial/special/don’t miss this piece: They’re tapestries.
Smart-sounding small talk: Hey, weren’t some of these tapestries shown with suits of armor in the 1970s? Possibly in Morgan Great Hall? (Yes. Yes they were. Also, these pants.)

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An Artificial Wilderness: The Landscape in Contemporary Photography

Closes: February 23
Summary: Discarded tires, parking lots and carpeted forests are just three of the “landscapes” shown in this exhibition. In other words, these are not for or by students of the Hudson River School.
Most important/famous/controversial/special/don’t miss this piece: Yellow Seascape with Film and Wood Blocks, 1988-1989, Mike Starn & Doug Starn. You may remember this work from the cover of R.E.M.’s album, Out of Time.

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Smart-sounding small talk: Works from Claire Beckett and James Welling in the same show? I mean, wow, unexpected. But then you see her photos of Iraqi encampments and his Wyeth-inspired doors and windows and you get it. Transformative.


The Age of Pleasure and Enlightenment

Closes: February 23
Summary: If European paintings and decorative arts from the 18th century are your cup of, um, paint, you’ve already been to The Age of Pleasure and Enlightenment.
Most important/famous/controversial/special/don’t miss this piece:  In lieu of an 18th century piece, check out Joseph Cornell’s Untitled, c. 1955, on view in an adjacent gallery. Cornell’s shadow boxes are rarely on view.
Smart-sounding small talk: Don’t you just love Joseph Cornell? His shadowboxes and his story are amazing. The Wadsworth was the first museum to add a Cornell to their collection, his “Soap Bubbles” shadow box. It was kind of a big deal. Dorothea Tanning (her work at the museum looks like an eye, or a vagina, depending on your mood) used to send him the most gorgeous illustrated letters.

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