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A museum expansion is on schedule to debut next month. At least most of it is. 

"We are in the process of installing the entire building right now," says Sabine Eckmann, director of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University. "It's very exciting."

She had, however, just learned that construction in the building's basement won't be finished by Sept. 28. But that won't affect the big splash when the museum reopens with a groundbreaking exhibition by Chinese exile Ai Weiwei.

It's Ai's first major show in the Midwest, the artist told her. The three-year project is conceived around a thematic framework, not just new art, and its opening coincides with the museum's. 

New fall exhibitions will also open throughout the city, from Rembrandt in Forest Park to African instruments near Grand Avenue. 

Ai Weiwei: 'Bare Life'

Concerned with human rights and displaced people, Chinese dissident artist and activist Ai Weiwei brings both well-known works and others never exhibited before in the United States. More than 35 pieces include sculpture, photographs and films. One arched sculpture uses 720 Forever bicycles, a Chinese brand; another artwork includes tear gas cans used by police against refugees. Ai will be part of a free question-and-answer session Sept. 26 at the Edison Theatre (tickets required). 

When Sept. 28-Jan. 5 • Where Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, 1 Brookings Drive • How much Free • More info 314-935-4523; kemperartmuseum.wustl.edu

Bea Nettles: 'A Harvest of Memory'

Mixed-media photography exhibition includes textured works in this large-scale retrospective of the artist's 50-year career. A 200-page catalog will accompany the exhibition, co-organized by the George Eastman Museum. Artist talk is 10:30 a.m. Oct. 4. Other exhibits this fall at the Sheldon include Kristen Peterson, "Visual Delights: Photographs and Altered Books"; fiber art and fashion in connection with the citywide "Innovations in Textiles"; and African instruments in "St. Louis, a Musical Gateway: Africa."

When Oct. 4-Dec. 28 • Where Sheldon Concert Hall & Art Galleries, 3648 Washington Boulevard • How much Free • More info 314-533-9900; thesheldon.org

Bethany Collins: 'Chorus'

Bethany Collins' multidisciplinary works use paper objects such as dictionaries and ads and takes inspiration from the duality of language. One work, "A Pattern or Practice," creates blind-embossed prints of the Department of Justice's report on the Ferguson police department. Collins will give an artist talk at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 7.

When Sept. 6-Dec. 29 • Where Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 3750 Washington Boulevard • How much Free • More info 314-535-4660; camstl.org

'Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt From the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston'

A survey of the Dutch Golden Age with portraits, landscapes and still lifes. Celebrated 17th-century painters include Rembrandt van Rijin and Frans Hals in this exhibition of works from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 

When Oct. 20-Jan. 12 • Where St. Louis Art Museum, 1 Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park • How much $6-$15; free for members, children under 5 and for all on Fridays • More info 314-721-0072; slam.org

'Innovations in Textiles'

More than 45 galleries and organizations participate in a show of textiles, fashion and fiber art, involving such things as quilting, felting, lace and much more.

What Innovations in Textiles STL • When Through November • Where Various regional galleries, organizations and museums • How much Most are free • More info innovationsintextilesstl.org

Margaret Keller: 'Botanica absentia'

Commemorating "extinct" trees is Keller's fictive memorial using things like laser-cut Plexiglas to create a limb of flora devastated by climate change. Keller talks about her work at 7:15 p.m. Sept. 6. 

When Sept. 6-Dec. 29 • Where Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 3750 Washington Boulevard • How much Free • More info 314-535-4660; camstl.org

'The Shape of Abstraction: Selections From the Ollie Collection'

Forty abstract paintings, drawings and prints by black artists are part of a 2017 gift by St. Louis-raised collector Ronald Maurice Ollie and his wife, Monique McRipley Ollie. Of artists such as Stanley Whitney, Sam Gilliam and others, Brent R. Benjamin, museum director, has said their "profound contributions in this mode of expression have begun to receive greater recognition." The Thelma and Bert Ollie Memorial Collection was named in honor of Ronald Ollie's parents, who lived in St. Louis.

When Sept. 17-March 8 • Where St. Louis Art Museum, 1 Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park • How much Free • More info 314-721-0072; slam.org

Stephanie Syjuco: 'Rogue States'

A new installation for CAM evokes the re-created villages with native inhabitants of the 1904 World's Fair. Syjuco, who was born in the Philippines, also brings installations with objects and images related to colonization and reproduced Hollywood flags representing "rogue states." The artist will give a talk at 11 a.m. Sept. 7 at the museum.

When Sept. 6-Dec. 29 • Where Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, 3750 Washington Boulevard • How much Free • More info 314-535-4660; camstl.org

Susan Philipsz: 'Seven Tears’

The Turner Prize-winning artist uses sound installations that interaction with specific places and contexts. She has created one for the Pulitzer that will be in the water court and feature the artist singing a 17th-century lament. Other works will be installed in galleries.

When Sept. 6-Feb. 2 • Where Pulitzer Arts Foundation, 3716 Washington Boulevard • How much Free • More info 314-754-1850; pulitzerarts.org

Zarina: 'Atlas of Her World’

About 30 prints, sculptures and collages from the 1960s to the present will be shown alongside other artworks and objects that have served as touchstones for the artist. Zarina, born in India, uses abstraction and minimalism "together with an ongoing engagement with themes of memory, place and loss." Pieces include cast paper, woodcuts and cut paper. 

When Sept. 6-Feb. 2 • Where Pulitzer Arts Foundation, 3716 Washington Boulevard • How much Free • More info 314-754-1850; pulitzerarts.org