From Buzz Lightyear to Vincent van Gogh, these artful experiences are guaranteed to elevate your watercooler conversations.
- Rob Brinkley

1) Watch out, Warhol: A famous cartoon cowboy and other, well, characters take over New York's Museum of Modern Art for an insider's look at an animation think tank's celebrated creations. Pixar packs in six films - including Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles - shorts, paintings, concept art, and animated works created especially for this landmark exhibit. Pixar: 20 Years of Animation, at the Museum of Modern Art, December 14, 2005, to February 6, 2006. (212) 708-9480; www.moma.org

2) You can't keep a good man down. When he couldn't afford canvas and paint, he'd use paper and ink. When strong winds would've knocked down his easel, he'd tack paper onto boards. Behold the drawings of the tenacious Vincent van Gogh, better known for his paintings than for his drawings - which some say truly illustrate his genius. New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has gathered more than 100 works (many on generous loan from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam) that say as much in black and white as his masterworks do in color. Vincent van Gogh: The Drawings, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through December 31. (212) 535-7710; www.metmuseum.org