Whether you consider yourself a creative person or not, art is good for you. The appreciation and practice of art can protect against degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimers and dementia, and viewing and enjoying paintings, sculpture, photography (and of course music) works to de-stress and relax you. 

With these thoughts in mind, some great exhibits to check out this summer include:

"A Subtlety" is Kara Walker's much-talked-about exhibition in the soon-to-be-razed Domino's Sugar Factory on the Brooklyn waterfront. The African-American artist's sometimes difficult, often heartbreaking art has grown (in theme and in size — some of this exhibition's pieces are huge) since she became known for her black-and-white cutouts. Walker's subtitle for the exhibition is: "... or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant." (Through July 6, 2014)

"In Focus: Ansel Adams" at the Getty Museum brings together the photographer's self-organized "Museum Set" with "earlier works by Adams from the museum's permanent collection, offering visitors an opportunity to view changes in Adams's printing styles and an understanding of the photographer's assessment of his life's work. (Through July 20, 2014)

"Quilts and Color: The Pilgrim/Roy Collection" brings the incredible (women-dominated) and gloriously graphic art of quilts at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. (Through July 27, 2014)

"Degas/Cassatt" brings these two beloved Impressionist artists together for an exhibit of more than 70 works at Washington, D.C.'s National Gallery. Admirers of each other's work, "Cassatt stated that her first encounter with Degas’s art 'changed my life,' while Degas, upon seeing Cassatt’s art for the first time, reputedly remarked, 'there is someone who feels as I do,' according to the National Gallery's site for the exhibit. (May 11-Oct. 5, 2014.) 

"Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary 1926-1938" at the Art Institute of Chicago, is: "The first major museum show to focus on the artist’s most profoundly inventive and experimental years, features over 100 paintings, collages, drawings, and objects, along with a selection of photographs, periodicals, and early commercial work, that trace the birth of the themes and strategies Magritte would go on to use throughout his long, productive career..." Find out how the celebrated Belgian Surrealist came to be one of the world's most well-known artists. (June 24-Oct. 16, 2014)

"Kandinsky: A Retrospective" at the Milwaukee Museum of Art brings together the Russian modernist's colorful, intense paintings from all over the world for this fairly complete look at his work (June 5-Sept. 1, 2014).

"Modernism from the National Gallery of Art" gives visitors to San Francisco's de Young museum the chance to see modern masterpieces by Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, and Frank Stella (June 7—Oct. 12, 2014).

"Jeff Koons: A Retrospective" will be the last major exhibit at New York City's Whitney Museum before it moves to the Meatpacking District in 2015. The controversial and popular artist's works (fabricated-everyday-objects-as-art) will take up almost the entire museum, in this, his first major retrospective (June 27-Oct. 19, 2014). 

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Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

8 cool art exhibits to see this summer, 2014
Get your culture on and put at least one of these shows on your "must-see" list for this summer.