“Easy on the eye" could be the general summation of the exhibition schedules for most Tampa Bay area museums. Lots of landscapes and flowers, impressionism and watercolors, even a group of rare tapestries will transport us to earlier times perceived as more bucolic and simpler. Nothing wrong with that! Peruse the list and you'll also find a healthy dose of shows that have the potential to provoke and challenge. Nothing wrong with that, either. As I see it, we have a win-win lineup that will keep us visually and intellectually engaged. And please note that although we have many museums in close range, some of which exhibit fine art from time to time, this schedule covers only museums devoted primarily to visual art.
Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg
255 Beach Drive NE
(727) 896-2667; www.fine-arts.org
Through Jan. 9
Transcending Vision: American Impressionism 1870-1940 from the Bank of America Collection
More than 120 paintings, drawings and prints by more than 70 artists include works by George Inness, Thomas Moran, Arthur Wesley Dow (an early influence on Georgia O'Keeffe), Childe Hassam, John Sloan, George Bellows, Ernest Lawson, Gifford Beal, Sanford Gifford, Edward Potthast, Daniel Garber and Guy Carleton Wiggins.
Oct. 2 through Feb. 6
Dreams and Realities: Latin American Prints, Drawings and Watercolors, 1959-1991
This exhibition, in conjunction with ARTE: Tampa Bay's Festival of the Americas, is inspired by The Magic Eye, a large-scale etching and aquatint by the Cuban-born artist Julio Larraz, in the museum's collection. Organized thematically with more than 30 works by Latin American artists created after 1950.
Jan. 22 through May 1
Romantics to Moderns: A Survey of British Watercolors and Drawings from the Collection of BNY Mellon
British artists from the mid 1700s through the 1950s are represented, including John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough, Samuel Palmer, John Ruskin, Walter Sickert and J.M.W. Turner.
May 14 through Sept. 4
The Human Touch: Contemporary Art from the Collection of RBC Dain Rauscher
More than 30 large-scale works with the human figure as the focus by artists such as Nan Goldin, Jim Dine, Elizabeth Peyton, Roy Lichtenstein, Chuck Close, José Bedia, Carrie Mae Weems, Alex Sloth, JoAnn Verburg, Vik Muniz and Paul Shabroom.
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
5401 Bay Shore Road
(941) 359-5700; ringling.org
Oct. 9 through Jan. 2
Threads of Gold: Renaissance Tapestries from the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
This museum's tapestry collection is among the most distinguished in the world. Six of the most important examples, made in the famous Brussels atelier of Frans Geubels, have been recently restored and will be on view.
Jan. 29 through April 24
Gardens in Perpetual Bloom: Botanical Illustration from 1600 to 1850
The show will have more than 100 flower prints, representing collaborations among botanists, horticulturists, painters and printmakers from the 17th to 19th centuries.
May 21 through Aug. 15
Beyond Bling: Voices of Hip Hop Art
In the 1970s hip-hop came onto the cultural scene as an expression of dissatisfaction among inner-city youth. Over the decades, its influence has broadened from its origins on the streets to an established movement. Current artists who continue the tradition are represented.
Tampa Museum of Art
120 W Gasparilla Plaza
(813) 274-8130; tampamuseum.org
Through Dec. 5
The Hidden City: Selections from the Martin Z. Margulies Collection
Installations by contemporary artists that interpret the temporary and transitory aspects of urban life.
Through Jan. 2
Leo Villareal: Recent Works
Villareal's work is writ large on the facade of the museum where his permanent computerized light show provides a constantly changing nighttime glow. Smaller works on temporary exhibition inside let you get up close to see his technique.
Through Jan. 16
Musical Lines in My Hand: The Work of Dominique Labauvie
The Tampa sculptor with an international reputation gets the large gallery space his forged iron works deserve.
Photographic Works of the 1980s from the Permanent Collection
A group show.
Through Jan. 30
Life and Death in the Ancient World
Works from the museum's excellent antiquities collection are arranged as a narrative to illustrate customs and rituals.
Sept. 23 through Jan. 2
American Impressionists in the Garden
Organized by the Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Nashville, the show features about 40 paintings by late 19th and early 20th century Americans who interpreted the tenets of impressionism in their New World way. Gorgeous gardens, painted gorgeously, will be the focus. Includes bronze sculptures created as garden ornaments.
Jan. 8 through Feb. 27
American Modernism from the Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Mark S. Kauffman
About 70 works by artists such as Stuart Davis, Charles Burchfield, John Marin, Reginald Marsh, Ben Shahn and Charles Sheeler convey the seminal years in the early and mid 20th century when representation collided with abstraction.
Otto Neumann: A Reluctant Modernist
This companion show to "American Modernism" focuses on the German artist (1895-1975) who embraced the currents of his time and modeled them into his own distinct art.
Jan. 29 through April 24
The NCECA Biennial, presented by the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, is a leading exhibition of ceramic arts marrying the traditions and contemporary interpretations in more than 40 works by national and international artists.
Jan. 29 through May 15
Herb Snitzer: A Jazz Memoir
The exhibition celebrates the publication of Glorious Days and Nights, a new collection of images by Herb Snitzer, St. Petersburg resident and former photojournalist for Life, Look and Fortune magazines. His most iconic ones of jazz greats, shot mostly during the 1950s and 1960s, include Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, John Coltrane and Miles Davis.
Feb. 12 through Nov. 20
Worlds Apart: Myth & History, Gods & Mortals, Heroes & Hybrids
Works from the museum's antiquities collection explore both the common factors and important differences in objects created throughout several centuries in the ancient world.
USF Contemporary Art Museum
4202 E Fowler Ave.
(813) 974-2849; usfcam.usf.edu
Through Dec. 11
Carlos Garaicoa: La enmienda que hay en mí (Making Amends)
Carlos Garaicoa, born in Cuba and celebrated internationally, explores cities, especially their architecture, as metaphors of human failure and sometimes catalysts for change. Altered photographs and sculptural models speak of what should have been or perhaps what could be.
Jan. 14 through March 10
Trenton Doyle Hancock: We Done All We Could and None of It's Good
Texas-based artist Trenton Doyle Hancock, one of the youngest artists invited to exhibit at the prestigious Whitney Biennial in 2000 and 2002, is best known for his witty, fantastical installations that have the bite of satire. This exhibition features new and selected works in a wide variety of media, including painting, collage, sculpture, print and the performing arts.
March 28 through May 6
MFA Graduation Exhibition
The annual group exhibition features research work by candidates for master of fine arts degrees in the school of art and art history.
Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art
600 Klosterman Road
(727) 712-5762; spcollege.edu/museum
Sept. 12 through Nov. 7
39th annual Florida Watercolor Society Exhibition
A popular statewide show by members of the Florida Watercolor Society, one of the largest in the United States.
Nov. 21 through Jan. 30
Sculpture in Motion: Lin Emery, A Retrospective
Lin Emery is one of the premier kinetic sculptors in the United States with monumental sculptures in public art venues, museums and private collections. This New Orleans artist is showcased as the third in a series of retrospectives organized by the museum to honor pioneering women sculptors.
Feb. 13 through April 24
The Commercial Medium: Winslow Homer's America
In the 19th century, the wood engravings and lithographs of illustrator Winslow Homer defined the American experience. Reproduced in newspapers and magazines such as Harper's Weekly and Frank Leslie's Illustrated newspaper, these prints nostalgically present "the way it was."
The Commercial Medium: Art Posters of France
Les Maitres de l'Affiche (Masters of the Print) refers to a set of 256 prints created in France between 1895 and 1900 to replicate, in smaller size, the famous Parisian posters created as advertisements by some of the greatest artists of the belle epoque such as Toulouse-Lautrec.
March 27 through May 22
Topographies: Barbara Sorensen
This traveling exhibition showcases Barbara Sorensen's large-scale sculptural installations.
May 8 through July 17
Fernand Léger: The Circus
During World War II, Fernand Léger, like many European artists, lived in the United States. Unlike some who found angst, though, his stay reflected the exuberance he found in American cities and the circus especially. This is the full edition of his circus prints from the Leepa-Rattner Museum's permanent collection.
July 31 through Aug. 28
St. Petersburg College Art Faculty Exhibition
Annual exhibition showcasing the talent of the SPC Art Faculty
Florida Museum of Photographic Arts
200 N Tampa St.
(813) 221-2222; fmopa.org
Sept. 16 through Nov. 6
Bhupendra Karia & Derry Moore: Stillness & Shadows
These two well-known photographers worked independently and have highly different styles, but their photographs have been organized into a traveling show that offers a lyrical and elegaic look at modern-day India.
Personal Memories of India from the Indian Community
A smaller companion show of photographs of India.
Nov. 18 through Jan. 29
Naked City: Selections from Vassar College Collection
Celebrating Vassar College's 150th birthday, the exhibition features choice prints from its permanent collection by photographers such as Diane Arbus, Walker Evans and Weegee.
Feb. 10 through April 9
Photographs by Hans Silvester
From his celebrated series "Painted People," the color photographs document the extraordinary body painting of the Surma and Mursi peoples of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia.