Among the more promising exhibitions scheduled for the coming year are several at the Whitney Museum. These include the most comprehensive exhibition of the art of Milton Avery ever assembled (Sept. 16-Dec. 5); sculptures and drawings by Joel Shapiro (Oct. 21-Jan. 2); sculptures by Ellsworth Kelly (Dec. 17-Feb. 27); prints by Frank Stella (Jan. 13-Mar. 13); and the Biennial Exhibition (March 24-May 22).
The Guggenheim Museum will open a three-part celebration of Scandinavian culture on Sept. 14, with exhibitions of younger contemporary Scandinavian artists; the art of Oyvind Fahlstrom; and paintings, prints, and books by Asger Jorn. These will run through Nov. 7.
The Guggenheim will also hold a retrospective of the art of Yves Klein (Nov. 19-Jan. 9); an exhibition of selections from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (November through March); and a major showing of ''Aspects of Postwar Painting in Europe'' (Jan. 21-March 13).
The Metropolitan Museum will kick off a three-city American tour of art from the Vatican on Feb. 26. Included will be works drawn from the entire range of the Vatican's artistic holdings, from classical and Egyptian antiquity to the 20 th century. Without doubt, this will be one of the major art events of the season. Following its Metropolitan closing on June 12, the Vatican show will travel to Chicago (opening July 16), and from there to San Francisco (Nov. 19 -Feb. 19, 1984).
The Museum of Modern Art, limited in what it can show because of its building program, will present Eugene Atget's photographs of Paris in the early years of this century (Oct. 14-Jan. 4), and ''Video and Satellite,'' a look at how artists have utilized satellite technology in their work (Sept. 23-Oct. 26). (Future listings are not yet available.)
I'm also looking forward to the Max Weber retrospective at the Jewish Museum (Oct. 5-Jan. 16), and to ''Post-Minimalism,'' an exhibition of what various ''minimal'' artists have been up to these past few years. The latter will open on Sept. 19 at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, Conn., and promises to be quite an event.
Meanwhile, the huge El Greco show that has just closed in Washington will continue its American travels, first to the Toledo (Ohio) Museum of Art (Sept. 26-Nov. 21), and then to the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts (Dec. 12-Feb. 6).