Our guide to new art shows — and some that will be closing soon.
‘THE JAZZ AGE: AMERICAN STYLE IN THE 1920s’ at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (through Aug. 20). While handsomely and mostly filled with Art Deco, this exhibition has banished those words — Art Deco, that is — in an attempt to show how American design was shaped by numerous European influences and to acknowledge the importance of jazz, the African-American invention that was this country’s first original modernism. Still, for better and for worse, it can’t evade the happy-few obliviousness of Deco’s relentless high-end glamour. (Roberta Smith)
‘REI KAWAKUBO/COMME DES GARÇONS: ART OF THE IN-BETWEEN’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (through Sept. 4). The latest Costume Institute extravaganza is a beautiful yet challenging plunge through nearly 40 years of innovation and increasingly unwearable garments from Rei Kawakubo, the great Japanese designer, and her Comme des Garçons label. A village of blazingly white structures encourages concentration. Look, look, look, it says, at the clothes, their fabrics, colors, shapes, shocks, quotations, details, exaggerations and parodies. Art, fashion or in between, Ms. Kawakubo’s creations bring us close to the unmistakable whir of artistic ambition. (Smith)
‘IRVING PENN: CENTENNIAL’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (through July 30). In this crystalline exhibition, nearly every gallery exhales its own delicious breath, offering up concentrated views of Penn’s innovative still-life and fashion work for Vogue; his portraits of cultural luminaries and tradesmen, as well as of indigenous Peruvians; his nearly abstract close-ups of voluptuous nudes; and his colossal cigarette butts, with their tragicomic evocations of Roman columns, tombstones and even corpses. Also on display: his perfectionism, curious eye and innate classicizing style. (Smith)
‘FLORINE STETTHEIMER: PAINTING POETRY’ at the Jewish Museum (through Sept. 24). Though far too small, this retrospective nonetheless manages to obliterate modernism’s orderly hierarchies. Mixing Symbolist dreaminess with Post-Impressionist muscle, Stettheimer rendered her family and New York’s interwar avant-garde as charmed, eccentric, usually androgynous caricatures in textured expanses of brilliant color. Her singular paintings are among the most spellbinding and enduring in the history of art and the best, with Marsden Hartley’s, of early American modernism. They do quite well against the Europeans, too, thank you very much. (Smith)
‘WILD NOISE/RUIDO SALVAJE’ at the Bronx Museum of the Arts (through July 3). This group show was planned as a two-part exchange of permanent-collection work between the Bronx Museum and the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana, but the shipment of Cuban art to New York hit a roadblock when authorities refused to let any of it leave the island. The resulting Bronx Museum exhibition, assembled from its own Cuban holdings and American loans, is a sedate sampler, without a shaping point of view, but it has some excellent artists — Belkis Ayón, Carlos Garaicoa, Wilfredo Prieto, José Angel Toirac and Meira Marrero