After the pandemic brought museum and gallery shows to a dead stop, last year’s racial justice protests lent new urgency to demands that institutions become more transparent, more representative and more diverse. While there’s certainly an uptick of shows featuring women and artists of color in this fall preview, there are also many, delayed by Covid-19, that were planned several years ago. For the moment, at least, it feels as if we are picking up just where we left off — with solo blockbusters (like Jasper Johns’s, stretching over two cities), art fairs (nearly all in person, again) and ancient treasures (rare ceramics, from Thailand to Mesopotamia). Check museums and fairs for health-related updates: Museums may require proof of vaccination, and fairs may yet migrate back online.
The latest welcome challenge to the old heroic-male-painter story of abstraction comes largely from the Whitney’s permanent collection, with works by 26 artists, including the titanic Alice Trumbull Mason, one of whose paintings provides the show’s title. (Oct. 9-March 2022; Whitney Museum of American Art, whitney.org).