Humor and craftsmanship are both evident on the art horizon, as are landscapes (real and imagined), cultural exchange, and the sly refusal of objects to stick to their expected number of dimensions, as sculpture takes on a time-based fourth dimension and drawing ventures into 3-D.
Inviting viewers to hold weird positions — sometimes involving props like glue or gherkins — just long enough to snap a photo is one of Austrian-born artist Erwin Wurm’s many clever ways of pushing the definition of sculpture. (Or performance, or photography.) Wurm is featured in “I Love My Time. I Don’t Like My Time: Recent Works by Erwin Wurm” at the Rose Art Museum (415 South St, Waltham; April 27–July 30). Also at the Rose, “Sarah Walker: Paintings” presents mind-boggling 21st-century landscapes based on spatial systems drawn from both real and virtual space.
Landscape as we know it sets the scene for “Painting Summer in New England” at the Peabody Essex Museum (East India Square, Salem; April 22–September 4), with work by more than 100 painters, including Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, and Alex Katz, who have been inspired by local locales. Intricate landscapes made from cut paper — sometimes accompanied by bark, flowers, pebbles, and glass — are up in “David Thorpe” at the Worcester Art Museum (55 Salisbury St, Worcester; April 7–August 13); the London-based Thorpe’s intimately scaled images often depict imaginary or visionary scenes. Keenly focused on real-life surroundings, “Laura McPhee: River of No Return” at the Museum of Fine Arts (465 Huntington Ave, Boston; May 13–September 17) features large-scale photographs taken in Sawtooth Valley, Idaho. Photography is a tool for understanding landscape in the hands of Alex S. MacLean, Anne Whiston Spirn, and Camilo Jose Vergara, who observe the physical world to decipher its stories in “Looking at Landscape: Environmental Puzzles from Three Photographers” at the Harvard Museum of Natural History (26 Oxford St, Cambridge; opens April 29).
Stories about our bodies inform “Tipping Point: Health Narratives from the South End” at the Mills Gallery (539 Tremont St, Boston; April 7 through May 28), as artist Jennifer Hall collaborates with medical anthropologist and ethnographer Dr. Ellen S. Ginsburg to create large, interactive sculptures exploring health, self, and community. Also at the Mills, “Amber Davis Tourlentes” shows photo documentation of the South End’s Gay Pride Parade swag. Race, gender, and ethnicity criss and cross in “Mixing Speak” at the New Art Center (61 Washington Park, Newtonville; April 17–May 21), which features nine artists including Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, who pairs self-portraits with stereotypical 19th-century photographs of Native Americans in her “An Indian from India” series. The sculptural green blobs in Alexander Ross’s paintings, the morphing, intricately penciled landscapes of Evelyn Rydz, and the imaginative imagery of Jon Sarkin are some of the treats found in the “2006 DeCordova Annual Exhibition” at the DeCordova Museum (51 Sandy Pond Rd, Lincoln; April 29–August 20). “In Focus: 75 Years of Collecting Photography” at the Addison Gallery of American Art (180 Main St, Phillips Academy, Andover; April 28–July 31) reveals the depth and breadth of the Addison’s trove of photos, which includes Robert Frank’s pivotal series “The Americans.” And photographs taken from her window in Framingham plus new video work make up “Neeta MaDahar: Sustenance and Falling” at the Danforth Museum of Art (123 Union Ave, Framingham; April 12–June 4).