With its wealth of art in all places great and small, New York gives us the opportunity to visit artworks or stumble upon them. Boost your AQ (art quotient) in a hurry with these five must-see shows of 2012.
Museum of Modern Art
'Diego Rivera: Wall Murals'
Through May 14
Some might consider Rivera an early-day graffiti artist who infused his larger works with messages of social reform. The murals, specially commissioned by MoMA, were part of a blockbuster exhibition in 1932 that set new attendance records; they'll be seen together for the first time in 80 years. 11 W. 53rd St., 212-708-9400
Metropolitan Museum of Art
'The Renaissance Portrait From Donatello to Bellini'
Through March 18
The stars of the Renaissance are on display in a charming portrait show that also provides a glimpse into the life of high society circa the 1400s. About 160 works - from angelic children to Fra Angelico - show off the lifestyles of the rich, the famous and - in some cases - the doomed. 1000 Fifth Ave., 212-535-7710
The Morgan Library & Museum
'Dan Flavin: Drawing'
Feb. 17-July 1
Dan Flavin, like the museum in which this show will be housed, is known more for illuminated works - in his case, fluorescent-light installations (and for the Morgan, ancient manuscripts). But this retrospective will feature more than 100 drawings from the minimalist artist, including sketches of his home and hamlets in the Hudson Valley and the everyday artifacts of his life there. 255 Madison Ave., 212-685-0008
'Keith Haring: 1978-1982'
March 16-July 8
The artist who helped elevate graffiti from ghetto to high art with drawings that combined activism, art and whimsy gets a retrospective featuring more than 150 works from Haring's early years in New York, plus 150 archival objects from his personal life. Never seen before: photographs, sketchbooks and journals. 200 Eastern Parkway, 718-638-5000
MoMA P.S. 1
Jan. 29-April 9
Also fusing politics and culture is Taylor, a mixed-media artist from Los Angeles who will take up residence in Long Island City in preparation for his upcoming show. Source material comes from his current and past lives, which includes a 10-year stint as a technician in a state psychiatric hospital. 22-25 Jackson Ave., 718-784-2084