East Coast? West Coast? Somewhere in between? It’s hard to know where to get your art kicks this summer. But if you happen to be out west, you can’t go far wrong. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has a show of René Magritte’s late work (through Oct. 28) that should please kids and adults alike. It kicks off with some serious goofiness — you may not even recognize them as Magrittes — but settles quickly into the great Belgian surrealist’s signature forays into equable irrationality: men in bowler hats, floating rocks, giant apples and so on.
Also in San Francisco, the Legion of Honor has a show focused on both the 19th-century Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters who inspired them (June 30 to Sept. 30). Thus Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais will be matched up with Van Eyck and Veronese. The Pre-Raphaelites are not to everyone’s taste (they’re not to mine). But there’s always something a little freakish and eye-popping about them. And when the William Holman Hunt seems a little too much, you can always turn to the Titian beside it.
There will be plenty of eye-popping fare in “Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, 1911-2011” at the Getty Center in Los Angeles (June 26 to Oct. 21). The show places more than 160 photographs alongside illustrations, magazine covers, videos and actual clothes. L.A.’s Hammer Museum will meanwhile be staging the fourth iteration of its influential biennial, “Made in L.A.” (Sunday to Sept. 2).
There are great offerings in Texas, too — among them “Multitude, Solitude ,” a survey of the haunting early black-and-white photographs of Dave Heath at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth (June 16 to Sept. 16). Abandoned by his parents when he was 4, Heath lived in foster homes in Philadelphia and an orphanage until he was 16. His photographs sneak up on you. They feel at once like tender caresses and howls of loneliness.
Fans of “Black Panther” and the theme of African kingship might be stirred to yet more febrile imaginings by the Dallas Museum of Art’s “The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana” (through Aug. 12). The exhibit includes hundreds of gleaming objects made by artisans working for one of the most powerful kingdoms in West Africa.
Meanwhile, in Chicago, a much-anticipated retrospective dedicated to Charles White will kick off at the Art Institute (Friday to Sept. 3). White was a leading figure in Chicago’s Black Renaissance. He painted both murals and easel pictures and was a powerful advocate for racial equality. “Charles White: A Retrospective,” which coincides with the centenary of his birth, will travel to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
If you’re as excited as I am about the World Cup, don’t miss “The World’s Game: Fútbol and Contemporary Art” at Pérez Art Museum Miami (through Sept. 2). It has paintings by Andy Warhol (of Pelé) and Kehinde Wiley (of Samuel Eto’o) and loads of sculptures, folk art and videos. It’s a serious show; but of course it’s great fun, too. I only wish my kids had been with me.
New York will be the place to go this summer if you love classic modernist sculpture. The Guggenheim has a major Alberto Giacometti show (“Giacometti ,” Friday to Sept. 12); the Museum of Modern Art, meanwhile, is giving Constantin Brancusi the full treatment (“Constantin Brancusi Sculpture,” July 22 to Feb. 24).
If you love the street fashion photography of the late Bill Cunningham, be sure to get along to the celebration of his life and career at the New-York Historical Society (“Celebrating Bill Cunningham,” through Sept. 10). The bike he got around town on will be one of the attractions. Handwriting — that dying art — will be the focus of another small but tempting show, “The Magic of Handwriting: The Pedro Corrêa do Lago Collection,” at the Morgan Library and Museum (through Sept. 16). It displays highlights from a collection compiled by the Brazilian author and publisher, among them letters from Vincent Van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Michelangelo and Marcel Proust.
In the Berkshires, the Clark Art Institute’s big summer show is “Women Artists in Paris, 1850-1900” (Saturday to Sept. 3). I can’t wait to see it, since it will put some of my favorite artists — including Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot (who gets her own traveling retrospective, “Berthe Morisot: Woman Impressionist,” this summer, kicking off in Quebec, June 21 to Sept. 23) — in a room, so to speak, of their own.