Canvassing The Art Scene The World Over

If you travel and you love art, you won't want to be without the 1993 Traveler's Guide to Art Museum Exhibitions. This handy paperback (Museum Guide Publications/Abrams, $12.95) is a compendium of data on 1993's major traveling exhibitions and the permanent collections of 200 museums in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. A bit bigger than pocket-sized, it's still easy to pack and carry.

Listed up front are the touring shows. Guide in hand, you would know, for example, that in May, the place to be is the National Gallery of Art in Washington. That's when and where to see "Great French Paintings from The Barnes Foundation," one of the year's best shows.

COURT FIGHT. Because of Dr. Albert C. Barnes's will, the Merion (Pa.) museum is open limited hours and has never let its more than 1,000 paintings and drawings by Matisse, Picasso, and other masters travel. A 1992 court ruling allowed 80 of the finest works, including Czanne's magnificent The Card Players, to go on tour. The show runs until Sept. 6, then moves to Paris, Tokyo, and Philadelphia (in 1994).

The Guide's list covers every taste. Admirers of contemporary art can find shows of Agnes Martin (Milwaukee, Miami, Houston) and Susan Rothenberg (Buffalo, Washington, St. Louis, Chicago). The classical-minded might like to know that a show of Dutch and Flemish Old Masters will visit Pittsburgh, Boston, and Seattle. The book is also helpful if you missed something, perhaps San Francisco's big Jeff Koons exhibit--which heads to Minneapolis next summer--or "Egypt's Dazzling Sun: Amenhotep III and His World," which just ended its Fort Worth run. You can catch up with the pharaoh's treasures at Paris' Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Mar. 2 to May 31.

Next in the Guide is a city-by-city listing of special shows at major museums and a brief description of their permanent collections. Addresses, phone numbers, hours, admission charges, and food facilities are provided. Two indexes--one of cities, one of museums--make the book easy to use.

For business travelers and tourists, the Guide can be indispensable. Indeed, thumb through its pages and you may find yourself planning your trips around its listings.

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