5 Can’t Miss St. Louis Exhibits to Visit This December

Do yourself a favor and take a (short) break from the holidays to check out some art

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click to enlarge Visitors enjoy a late night event at Saint Louis Art Museum.
Courtesy the Saint Louis Art Museum
Visitors enjoy a late night event at Saint Louis Art Museum.

It's go time for the holiday season. While that's pretty much top-notch delightful most of the time, it can also be — to be frank — really redundant to look at all those beautifully decorated trees, bright lights, Christmas-oriented sale advertisements and mulled-wine recipes all the time.

So do yourself a favor and take an art break. Sneak out during lunch, grab yourself an hour this weekend or attend the many first, second or third Friday art events that the city has to offer and experience the relief and joy that comes from checking out something beautiful, thought provoking or just different. Plus the following exhibits can be taken in during a short break or carefully perused if you need a whole afternoon to soak up some happiness.

1. See some beautiful fabrics at the Saint Louis Art Museum's Global Threads: The Art and Fashion of Indian Chintz

click to enlarge Woman's Jacket (Wentke) with Flowers and Phoenixes c.1700s; textile: Indian for European market; construction and trim: Dutch; cotton, painted mordants and resist. - Courtesy Royal Ontario Museum / Brian Boyle
Courtesy Royal Ontario Museum / Brian Boyle
Woman's Jacket (Wentke) with Flowers and Phoenixes c.1700s; textile: Indian for European market; construction and trim: Dutch; cotton, painted mordants and resist.

The exhibition tells the story of Indian chintz, a fabric as revolutionary as it is beautiful. From the 17th century onward, this cotton textile, which Indian artisans spent centuries perfecting, dominated the global textile scene. Coveted for its brilliant colors and intricate designs, chintz transformed fashion, industry and global trade, and was sought everywhere from East Asia to Egypt to Great Britain.

Learn more:

The exhibit runs through January 8, 2023. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, and $6 for children aged 6 to 12. It is free on Fridays and anytime for museum members.

2. Literally color on the walls at the Missouri History Museum's Coloring STL

click to enlarge Visitors try out Coloring STL  during a member preview. - Courtesy Missouri History Museum
Courtesy Missouri History Museum
Visitors try out Coloring STL during a member preview.

The interactive exhibition invites attendees to learn about St. Louis architectural history by drawing on the walls of a 6,000-square foot special exhibition space printed with illustrations of 50 local structures on a white-board-like material. In addition to the walls, there are exhibits in the center that dig into some truly interesting local history, answering important questions like, "What else might the arch have looked like?" and "What are those metal stars on buildings there for?"

Learn more:


The exhibit is free and runs through May 5, 2024.

3. Discover great local artists making world-class stuff at the Contemporary Art Museum's Great Rivers Biennial

click to enlarge Yowshien Kuo's Two Right Feet, Snake Eyes and Cherry Pie, 2022. Acrylic, bone ash, chalk, synthetic fibers, iridescent pigment, plastic and glitter on canvas.
Courtesy the artist and Luce Gallery, Torino, Italy.
Yowshien Kuo's Two Right Feet, Snake Eyes and Cherry Pie, 2022. Acrylic, bone ash, chalk, synthetic fibers, iridescent pigment, plastic and glitter on canvas.

The every-other-year exhibit aims to foster artistic talent in the greater St. Louis metro area. This year's honorees are Yowshien Kuo, Jon Young and Yvonne Osei. Their works are bright, bold and fun to look at, ranging from bold sculptures and interesting fabric designs to Southwest-inflected paintings.

Learn more:

The exhibit is open through February 12, 2023, and admission is free.

4. Learn about a groundbreaking Black female sculptor at the Pulitzer Art Foundation's Chase-Riboud Monumentale: The Bronzes

If you're at CAM and want to keep the art party going, head to the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, which is celebrating Chase-Riboud's career with the retrospective exhibit.  The show includes 50 of her most striking sculptures and works on paper, such as Chase-Riboud’s award-winning poetry.

The exhibit is free to attend and is open through February 5.

5. Make your eyes happy by checking out the wild colors in the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum's Studio Paintings, 1988-2022: Returns, Revisions, Inventions

click to enlarge From left: Katharina Grosse's Untitled, 2008 and Untitled, 2008. - Virginia Harold
Virginia Harold
From left: Katharina Grosse's Untitled, 2008 and Untitled, 2008.

Visiting the Kemper's Katharina Grosse’s exhibition is like stumbling into a contemporary wonderland of bright colors, bold patterns and unusual materials. It features 37 large-scale canvases, which is reason enough to visit. Grosse is known for her site-specific work, and it's rare for her to show paintings.

Learn more:


The exhibit is free to attend and is open through January 23.

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About The Authors

Rosalind Early

Rosalind is the editor-in-chief of the Riverfront Times. She formerly worked for Washington University's alumni magazine and St. Louis Magazine. In 2018, she was selected as a Rising Leader of Color by the Theatre Communications Group. In 2014, she was selected as an Emerging Leader by FOCUS St. Louis. Her work...

Kasey Noss

Kasey Noss is an editorial intern at the Riverfront Times. She attends Washington University in St. Louis and is majoring in English with a double-minor in Political Science and Italian.

Jessica Rogen

Jessica Rogen is managing editor for the Riverfront Times. Send her your food, arts, film, theater, music and other culture happenings.
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