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New York and D.C. museums are some of the most visited art institutions in the world, many of which remain free. They reported visitor increases in 2012 suggesting their numbers will continue to grow alongside global tourism.
Coming after a ho-hum stretch in museums, the 2013-14 art season promises an unusually interesting mix of material from the distant past and art that engages with a politically fraught present. As the months go by, we should get a sense of what our art institutions can do when they depart, even a little, from the obvious.
The surprises start with what won’t be there. Astonishingly, those box-office artists in residence Matisse and Picasso are on leave of absence, though their seats will be kept warm by familiar Modernist peers, with solo shows by Balthus at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (opening Sept. 25), Braque at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Feb. 16); Léger at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Oct. 14)…