SHELAGH KEELEY: DRAWN TO PLACE Keeley, whose work spans photography, film, and performance, is likely best known for her large-scale, site-specific wall drawings, one of which she created for the Peabody Essex Museum this fall. The drawings, which she sees as a way “to explore the structural essence of an object and the spirit of a space or institution,” embed in a location’s history. This one, 58 feet long, is the product of the artist’s research into PEM’s Phillips Library Collection, where revelation and surprise load her work with the spontaneous energy of discovery. Through Nov. 26, 2023. Peabody Essex Museum, East India Square, 161 Essex St., Salem. 978-745-9500, www.pem.org
SYMBIONTS: CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS AND THE BIOSPHERE “Symbionts” is the scientific term for species that thrive on interdependence — a honeybee and an apple blossom, or the beneficial bacteria in your belly that you try to keep happy with probiotics. This exhibition offers a collision of art and science where some of the 14 artists included will not only examine those relationships but nurture them right there in the gallery as their work lives and grows before your eyes. Through Feb. 26. MIT List Visual Arts Center, 20 Ames St., Cambridge. 617-253-4680, listart.mit.edu
BEING AND BELIEVING IN THE NATURAL WORLD: PERSPECTIVES FROM THE ANCIENT MEDITERRANEAN, ASIA, AND INDIGENOUS NORTH AMERICA A collaboration between the museum’s curators of ancient art, Native American art, and Asian art, this exhibition takes an expansive, planet-wide view of artistic expressions of nature across 4,000 years of human creativity, right up to the present day. Through May 7. Rhode Island School of Design Museum, 20 North Main St., Providence. 401-454-6500, risdmuseum.org.