Four not-to-miss exhibitions on view this spring and beyond

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Four not-to-miss exhibitions on view this spring and beyond

Houston's Emancipation Park, a project of the late Phil Freelon featured in the retrospective Container/Contained now on view at the North Carolina Museum of Art. (© Mark Herboth Photography/ Courtesy Perkins&Will)

Ahhh springtime, the season for throwing open long-shuttered windows, enjoying a zesty walk amid flowering trees, and emerging from winter hibernation to scope out a just-opened art or architecture exhibition, whether it be at home or on your travels.

Here are just a modest handful of new and notable shows running through this spring (and beyond) as compiled by AN’s editors.

Zoe Zenghelis: Fields, Fragments, Fictions

an abstract oil painting
Zoe Zenghelis, Shapes in Space, 1992. (Private collection/Courtesy Carnegie Museum of Art)

Carnegie Museum of Art
4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh

Open through July 24

As a cofounder of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Zoe Zenghelis warrants a spot in the history books. But her six-decade-long engagement with the visual arts also deserves special attention. That’s the intent behind her first solo exhibition of paintings, now open at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. The show, which spans four periods of Zenghelis’s career, attempts to unite multiple strands of her practice, including the teaching she did at the Architectural Association at London. Lesser-known OMA projects in the Mediterranean islands are related to Zenghelis’s landscape paintings of her native Greece. These works and others pair architectural elements with bright colors, dreamy landscapes, and geometric abstractions, bridging the divide separating memory and fact.  Sophie Aliece Hollis

Container/Contained: Phil Freelon Design Strategies for Telling African American Stories

portrait of phil freelon
Phil Freelon. (© Noah Willman/Courtesy Perkins&Will)

North Carolina Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh, North Carolina

Open through May 15

The late architect and North Carolina native Phil Freelon was something of a hero in these parts. Over his 40-year-long career, he helped give shape to the South’s civic spaces, working extensively on projects that foreground African American communities and identities. After successfully running his own firm, Freelon Group, he became the design director of Perkins&Will North Carolina, where he worked on notable projects such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. Container/Contained expands on Freelon’s maxim that architecture should act not simply as a container, but as an active and integral element of public institutions. It shouldn’t be missed. SAH

Barbara Stauffacher Solomon: EXITS EXIST

view of a gallery space
Exhibition view of Barbara Stauffacher Solomon: EXITS EXIST (Nathan Keay)

Graham Foundation
4 West Burton Street, Chicago

Open through July 9

Since 1963, Chicago’s Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts has been housed in a turn-of-the-century Prairie-style mansion in the Gold Coast neighborhood. Even when hosting exhibitions, the Graham tends to fill its historic wood-framed galleries only sparsely. For EXITS EXIST, the script has been flipped. The exhibition, conceived by the San Francisco artist Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, contains almost no three-dimensional objects. Rather, Solomon’s intervention is limited to the gallery walls themselves, to which she has applied a series of red, white, and black supergraphics. The distorted letterforms—when deciphered, they spell out the exhibition title—and stark coloration underscore the spatial power of Solomon’s preferred medium, which she first began exploring 70 years ago. You might call it a lifelong obsession. SAH

Notre-Dame de Paris: The Augmented Exhibition

(Using a Histopad, a visitor views an augmented reality simulation of the construction of Notre-Dame de Paris. (Courtesy National Building Museum)

The National Building Museum 
401 F Street NW, Washington, D.C.

April 15 through September 26

On April 15, three years to the day after the people of France (along with the rest of the world) watched in horror as the Notre-dame de Paris was ravaged by fire, a new exhibition that transports visitors to the landmark cathedral via nifty 360-degree augmented reality technology makes its North American debut at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

While navigating the immersive exhibition entitled Notre-Dame de Paris: The Augmented Exhibition, museum guests will be provided with HistoPads, an augmented reality touch-screen tablet developed by French tech company Histovery. With digital tablets in hand, guests can embark on a century-spanning exploration of Notre-Dame de Paris from its construction in the Middle Ages up through the present day. This includes an up-close look at the ongoing restoration of the cathedral, with these painstaking activities being a major focus of the exhibition. As further detailed by the museum, the exhibition is offered in an “immersive physical setting that is visually transporting” complete with ”vinyl replicas of the cathedral’s flooring, stained-glass transfers on the Museum’s historic windows, audio of Notre Dame’s organs and tolling bells, as well as a projection of the cathedral’s famed rose window, that miraculously survived the fire.” Matt Hickman