New York City museums are simply the best. Better than all the rest. They are large and small, famous and not. These are some of the best new exhibitions to enjoy now in my hometown.
Museums are a cool place to visit on a hot day, or any day.
More than a dozen museums are clustered along Museum Mile – a half-mile stretch of Fifth Avenue, so you can visit more than one in a day.
And there are wonderful museums in Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island, too.
It’s not a museum, although the architecture is museum-worthy. It’s newest, largest and most impressive theater and concert complex to open in New York City since Lincoln Center, a generation ago.
And it’s the new cultural cornerstone of the World Trade Center area rebuilt completely since that terrible day of September 11, 2001.
The official name is the Perelman Arts Center, named for philanthropist and businessman Ron Perelman, a major contributor, along with philanthropist, businessman and former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg. But everybody already is calling it just PAC.
The opening season features superstar performers and introductory discounts. This is from our friends at Downtown Alliance:
The opening of the arts center begins with “Refuge: A Concert Series to Welcome the World.” The five-night concert series (September 19–23), which hones in on the theme of refuge, assembles artists and rhythms from around the world — including that of electronic, Afro-Latin beats, Klezmer, funk and rock. Admission is pay-what-you-wish, and many nights are already selling out.
Other season highlights range from a conversation with actor Kerry Washington on September 26, the world premiere of Laurence Fishburne’s one-man show “Like They Do in The Movies” in Spring 2024 and a reimagining of “Cats” set amid NYC’s competitive ballroom culture.
Programming also includes the operatic “Watch Night” from Tony Award-winning director Bill T. Jones (“FELA!,” “Spring Awakening”).
PAC NYC memberships start at $10 for the inaugural season and are available for purchase.
You can also sign up for PAC NYC’s newsletter to get the latest updates on their programming and events, and for more information on PAC NYC’s efforts to integrate itself in the Lower Manhattan community, be sure to check out the Downtown Alliance’s conversation with artistic director Bill Rauch.
This is New York – Museum of the City of New York
In honor of the centennial of the founding of the Museum of the City of New York as the city’s storyteller, This Is New York: 100 Years of the City in Art and Pop Culture explores the many ways that the city has inspired storytelling.
The comprehensive exhibit features both famous and lesser-known images of New York in film and television, song and poetry, literature, visual and performing arts, and fashion, painting a collective, moving and even funny version of a city that has captured the imagination of the world.
There’s also an audio soundtrack of NYC music, including the iconic New York, New York by the equally iconic Frank Sinatra.
- On view through July 2024.
New York Public Library
- On view through Jan. 7, 2024
Making Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration is a FREE exhibit at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the NYPL branch in Harlem.
It explores the impact of the US prison system on contemporary visual art. This exhibition, presented across three galleries —Latimer, Exhibition Hall, and Media Gallery— highlights artists who are or have been incarcerated, alongside artists who have not been incarcerated but whose practices expose aspects of the carceral state.
- On view through Dec. 4.
The Sassoons – Jewish Museum
This exhibit, features over 120 works from paintings to illuminated manuscripts, clothing, Chinese art including porcelains and inctricately carved ivory, Jewish prayer books from the 1600s, Torah scrolls and other Judaica collected by Sassoon family members and borrowed from numerous private and public collections.
The exhibit traces the family from its roots in Baghdad in the 1600s and succeeding generations which influenced art, commerce, real estate, philanthropy and more in Shanghai, New Delhi, London and elsewhere around the globe, through post-World War II. There also are portraits of Sassoon men and women, including by John Singer Sargent, who was a friend of Aline de Rothschild (Lady Sassoon) from another prominent Jewish family whose members often married Sassoons.
Don’t miss this opportunity to explore the rich legacy of the Sassoon clan and its enduring impact on art, culture, and society. Even if you are not Jewish, it’s a fascinating 300-year history lesson about a family which left home for economic reasons and prospered in its new cities and countries – we all can relate to that.
In case you are wondering – no – the famed hairdresser Vidal Sassoon, who was part of the extended Sassoon family, is not mentioned in this exhibit, which I saw when it opened this spring.
- On view through August 13.
- Admission to the Jewish Museum is FREE on Saturdays.
Taylor Swift: Storyteller – Museum of Art & Design (MAD)
Tickets to the current Taylor Swift Eras Concert Tour are difficult to get and being scalped for $3,000 and more.
It’s much easier and cheaper to get tickets for this special museum exhibit of dozens of her costumes and other items from her music videos, tours and awards show performances — from the lace gown she wore when performing “All Too Well” on the Red Tour to the “key to the castle” featured in the video for “Bejeweled.”
Museum director Tim Rodgers told the Associated Press that the goal was was to explore how Swift uses clothing and props to tell stories — almost as much as she does lyrics. “It’s different than stars that use costumes or fashion in order to enhance themselves,” Rodgers said. “Taylor Swift is using costumes and props like a vocabulary.”
The exhibits accompanied by a playlist of Swift’s music videos — including her short film for the 10 minute version of “All Too Well” — which are projected on screens around the room. Lyrics scrawled in Swift’s handwriting adorn key walls in the space.
- On display through Sept. 4
- MAD is at Columbus Circle
Young Picasso in Paris – Guggenheim Museum
In conjunction with celebrations across the globe that commemorate the 50th anniversary of Picasso’s death, the Guggenheim exhibition explores the artist’s introduction to the city that would become his permanent home.
\\\\\Beginning with an early representation of the famous dance hall from 1900, Le Moulin de la Galette, the exhibition traces the development of the Spaniard’s artistic voice with dozens of paintings and works on paper.
The exhibition focuses on a pivotal year of Picasso’s life and showcases the early experimentation that would come to define his oeuvre.
The Birch Trials – Fraunces Tavern Museum
This Lower Manhattan landmark is most famous for being a hangout for George Washington and other Revolutionaries. The tavern downstairs still serves food and “grog”, and there is a museum upstairs. That’s where you can pay tribute to a piece of Black American history.
”The Birch Trials at Fraunces Tavern,” highlights the Black soldiers who remained loyal to the British in the Revolutionary War and had to answer for it during the infamous Birch Trials of 1783.
That year, under the direction of British General Samuel Birch, a joint board of British and American leaders met regularly at Fraunces Tavern to decide the fate of 3,000 Black soldiers who were ultimately evacuated from New York City. The new exhibition invites visitors to enter the space and observe a replica of the Birch commission’s setup, arranged just as it was when soldiers waited for the general’s panel to enter the room and hear their cases.
- Fraunces Tavern is at 54 Pearl St.
Moda Hoy! Latin American and Latinx Fashion Design Today – The Museum at FIT
This exhibition moves away from a notion of a singular Latin American style, featuring many new acquisitions and bilingual texts presented in English and Spanish. Admission is FREE.
About The Museum at FIT –
- It is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, one of a select group of specialized fashion museums in the world, including the Musée de la Mode, the Mode Museum, and the Museo de la Moda. The mission is to collect, conserve, document, exhibit, and interpret fashion. Founded in 1969, it has held rotating exhibits since 1975, focusing on a particular designer, trend or fashion item such as shoes or lingerie.
Through November 12.
- The Museum at Fit is at 227 W. 27th St.
Inheritance – Whitney Museum of American Art
Inheritance presents a remarkable collection of over sixty works by leading artists—including Deana Lawson, Faith Ringgold, and Cameron Rowland—exploring the profound impact of legacy across familial, historical, and aesthetic lines. Many have never before been shown at the Whitney.
This summer, enjoy art with a view on the fifth-floor terrace, where Rose B. Simpson: Counterculture awaits.
This outdoor installation features five cast figures overlooking the city and the Hudson River, inviting introspection and connecting our contemporary lives with the surrounding landscape.
Bridget Riley Drawings – Morgan Library & Museum
British artist Bridget Riley (b. 1931) is one of the most celebrated abstract painters of her generation. This exhibition is the the first dedicated exclusively to her drawings in over fifty years and provides an intimate view of Riley’s studio practice, in which the making of works on paper plays a central role.
The exhibition includes 75 studies from the artist’s collection, created between the 1940s and the 2000s.
They include early figurative and landscape drawings made during her student years; black-and-white studies for Riley’s best known paintings from the 1960s, when she became closely associated with the “Op Art” movement; and a diverse array of color studies, which have occupied her attention since the 1970s. Together they demonstrate Riley’s unceasing commitment to paper, pencil, ink, and gouache, as tools of exploration and innovation.
“Bridget Riley Drawings: From the Artist’s Studio” is on view through October 8.
Housed in the former Barney’s space in Chelsea at 7th Avenue and 17th St., this is a world-class collection of Asian, Indian and Himalayan art and events. And the sculptured staircase between the main and second floors is an artwork in its own.
The newest exhibit is “Death Is Not the End,” a cross-cultural exhibition exploring ideas of death and afterlife in the art of Tibetan Buddhism and Christianity with art spanning 12 centuries, which explores moments of change that propel us into the unknown.
Admission is FREE Friday evenings, 6–10 pm with tours, music from a DJ, and drinks and dancing in the K2 lounge.
- Reserve free tickets on the link.
Through Labor Day weekend, enjoy “Berenice Abbott’s New York Album,1929” a photographic exhibit of historic photographs by this award-winning and iconic artist who used a camera instead of a paintbrush.
- The Met is pay-what-you-wish admission for NYS residents and tri-state college students with a valid ID.
FREE Museum Admission for Young People
The Frick Collection is extending free admission to all young people, ages 10 to 17, through the remainder of the museum’s temporary residence at Frick Madison.
Young visitors from the New York City area and beyond will enjoy complimentary access with a valid school ID or other proof of age.
Thanks to this new initiative, the Frick is pleased to make the museum more accessible than ever before to middle and high school students.
Visit frick.org/visit to learn more about visiting the museum.
The first museum for kids in the borough has a new permanent location in Mill Pond Park, and will be open three days a week this summer, on Tuesdays Thursdays and Saturdays.
The interactive activities and exhibits are geared to kids up to nine years old.
Tickets are pay as you wish, but require advance registration.
Neue Gallerie Closes for Renovations
The home of the famous Klimpt Gallery and the luminous painting Lady in Gold is closed through August 31 for maintenance and enhancements to the historic building. Also closed during this time will be the shops and cafés