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Critic's picks

By Sebastian Smee
Globe Staff / September 11, 2011

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PRINTS AND THE PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE IN EARLY MODERN EUROPE A rich and scholarly exhibition delving into the connections between artists and science through the dissemination of prints, maps, books, and scientific instruments in the 16th century. Through Dec. 10. Harvard Art Museums. 617-495-9400,

ALONG THE YANGZI RIVER: REGIONAL CULTURE OF THE BRONZE AGE FROM HUNAN Billed as the first exhibition ever to focus on the regional characteristics of Hunan sculpture, this show presents around 60 bronze sculptures and monumental bells made in southern China between 1300 B.C.E. and 221 B.C.E. Through Jan. 8. Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine. 207-725-3275,

RICHARD BELL: UZ VS. THEM A career survey of the provocative and playful work of Australian Aboriginal artist and activist Richard Bell. Through Nov. 20. Tufts University Art Gallery. 617-627-3518,

TEMPORARY STRUCTURES: PERFORMING ARCHITECTURE IN CONTEMPORARY ART Work by artists interested in the intersection between architectural space and performance, including Vito Acconci, Kate Gilmore, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Erwin Wurm. Sept. 18 through Dec. 31. DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln. 781-259-8355,

AMERICAN VANGUARDS: GRAHAM, DAVIS, GORKY, DE KOONING, AND THEIR CIRCLE, 1927-1942 A look at the influence of John Graham’s circle on American modernism. Sept. 21 through Dec. 31. Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover. 978-749-4015,

MADE IN THE UK: CONTEMPORARY ART FORM THE RICHARD BROWN BAKER COLLECTION Approximately 100 works of British post-War art given to RISD by Providence native Richard Brown Baker (or purchased with funds he made available). Sept. 23 through Jan. 8. Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, Providence. 401-454-6400,

CROSSCURRENTS: ART OF THE SOUTHEASTERN CONGO Exploring the art of the Luba, the Songye, and the Hemba peoples, all neighbors in southeastern Congo. The show is inspired by the museum’s three finest African objects. Sept. 30 through Jan. 8. Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton. 413-585-2760,

DEGAS AND THE NUDE Edgar Degas’s career-long fascination with the nude - mostly female but also male - is addressed for the first time in this ambitious exhibition organized by Degas expert and departing MFA curator George Shackelford. Oct. 9 through Feb. 5. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300,

DOUBLE SOLITAIRE: THE SURREAL WORLDS OF KAY SAGE AND YVES TANGUY Throughout their 15-year marriage, the surrealists Sage and Tanguy worked in adjoining studios in Woodbury, Conn. This show explores their relationship. Oct. 19 through Jan. 15. Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley. 781-283-2051,

OTTO PIENE: LICHTBALLETT Mechanized kinetic light sculptures and other works by this trailblazing, German-born cofounder of the influential Group Zero and former director of MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies. Oct. 21 through Dec. 31. List Visual Arts Center. 617-253-4680,

GATHER UP THE FRAGMENTS: THE ANDREWS SHAKER COLLECTION More than 200 objects from the collection of Faith and Edward Deming Andrews, the first important collectors of Shaker objects, in a show that tells the story of the collection’s development. Oct. 27 through Feb. 5. Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine. 207-775-6148,

ISAAC JULIEN: TEN THOUSAND WAVES A poetic nine-screen video installation linking three disparate stories, each one relating an aspect of China’s ancient past or its present and unfolding simultaneously on separate screens. Oct. 28 through March 4. Institute of Contemporary Art. 617-478-3100,

1961-62: ART AT THE ORIGINS Marking the Rose Art Museum’s 50th anniversary, this exhibition highlights works from the collection that were made in the museum’s first year of existence, academic year 1961-62. Opens Oct. 27. Rose Art Museum, Waltham. 781-736-3434,

REMBRANDT AND DEGAS: TWO YOUNG ARTISTS A selection of portraits and etchings that aims to shed light on Rembrandt’s influence on Degas. Nov. 13 through Feb. 5. The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown. 413-458-2303,

HUNGRY FOR DEATH: DESTROY ALL MONSTERS Ephemera - including posters, flyers, blueprints, photographs, and drawings - from the archive of the Michigan-based artist collective and band Destroy All Monsters, whose members included Mike Kelley, Cary Loren, Niagara, and Jim Shaw. Nov. 15 through Dec. 22. Boston University Art Gallery. 617-353-3329,