From Georgia O'Keeffe at the New York Botanical Garden to the blockbuster David Bowie exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, check out our Summer Study faculty suggestions for must-visit exhibitions and shows happening inside and outside in New York City this summer!
Museum of Arts and Design, March 1 - September 23, 2018
Nearly two thousand miles long, the US-Mexico border (la frontera) is the most frequently crossed international border in the world. Although predominantly depicted in the American media as a hub of drug trafficking and violence, the border is also a place that allows for the exchange of ideas, wealth, and culture. For Mexicans, Central Americans, and the United States citizens living alongside it, the border presents daily challenges that carry within them both hope and devastation. The exhibition La Frontera: Encounters Along the Border seeks to explore this space and what it represents. Jewelry artists from Mexico, the United States, Latin America, and Europe expose the underlying currents of the border environment within geographic, political, economic, social, cultural, and ideological contexts. The artists transform metal, fiber, wood, and other materials into representations of their experiences, their influences, their dreams, and their nightmares.
Brooklyn Museum, March 2 – July 15, 2018
Organized with unprecedented access to David Bowie’s personal archive, this exhibition explores the creative process of an artist whose sustained reinventions, innovative collaborations, and bold characterizations revolutionized the way we see music, inspiring people to shape their own identities while challenging social traditions. David Bowie is has been touring globally for the past five years and is taking its final bow at the Brooklyn Museum, providing an opportunity to view this one-of-a-kind material. The exhibition features approximately 400 objects including the artist’s original costumes, handwritten lyric sheets from famous songs, original album art, photographs, and videos, all tracing Bowie’s creative process from his teenage years in England through his last twenty years, when he resided in New York City. The archive is presented within an immersive, multimedia installation that includes continuous audio along with projected animation and video.
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), March 18 – August 19, 2018
This exhibition of new photography, Being, asks how photography can capture what it means to be human. At a time when questions about the rights, responsibilities, and dangers inherent in being represented—and in representing others—are being debated around the world, the works featured in Being call attention to assumptions about how individuals are depicted and perceived. Many challenge the conventions of photographic portraiture, or use tactics such as masking, cropping, or fragmenting to disorient the viewer. In others, snapshots or found images are taken from their original context and placed in a new one to reveal hidden stories. While some of the works might be considered straightforward representations of individuals, others do not include images of the human body at all. Together, they explore how personhood is expressed today, and offer timely perspectives on issues of privacy and exposure; the formation of communities; and gender, heritage, and psychology.
Museum of Arts and Design, March 22 - September 9, 2018
In June of 2015, Miriam Schapiro, the pioneering feminist artist and founding member of the Pattern and Decoration movement, passed away at the age of ninety-one. Surprisingly, given her status as the elder stateswoman of the feminist art movement, the tremendous impact of her oeuvre on contemporary art has yet to be fully acknowledged or critically assessed. This exhibition seeks to redress this gap in the history of American art through an exploration of Schapiro’s signature femmages, the term she coined to describe her distinctive hybrid of painting and collage inspired by women’s domestic arts and crafts and the feminist critique of the hierarchy of art and craft. The exhibition highlights the pivotal role her work and leadership played in the expansion of the art world to include historically marginalized forms of craft, decoration, and abstract patterning associated with femininity and women’s work. To highlight this legacy, works by a select group of contemporary artists will be exhibited alongside Schapiro’s signature femmages.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, April 16 – July 29, 2018
The palace of Versailles and its gardens have attracted travelers ever since it was transformed under the direction of Louis XIV, from a simple hunting lodge into one of the most magnificent and public courts of Europe to which French and foreign travelers flocked. Bringing together works from The Met, the Château de Versailles, and over fifty lenders, this exhibition highlights the experiences of travelers from 1682, when Louis XIV moved his court to Versailles, to 1789, when the royal family was forced to leave the palace and return to Paris. The exhibition includes a free immersive audio experience which, instead of featuring traditional commentary by experts about specific objects, is "hosted" by royalty, ambassadors, architects, travel writers, and tourists—in their own words. These historic visitors virtually accompany Museum visitors as they travel in an open carriage from Paris to Versailles "eavesdrop" on a letter John Adams wrote to his wife about meeting the king, and more.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, May 4 – October 21, 2018
The third and final exhibition of The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative will present new commissions by Cao Fei, Duan Jianyu, Lin Yilin, Wong Ping, and Samson Young. These artists have been selected for their unconventional artistic practices, creative experimentation, and critical reflections on social conditions in a technologically mediated reality. Each will collaborate with the museum on individual site-specific projects that respond to interconnected ideas proposed by the curators of the initiative. Launched in 2013, the initiative engages artists, scholars, and curators from around the world to bring intersecting regional and global conversations and contemporary practices to the fore.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, May 10 – October 8, 2018
The Costume Institute's spring 2018 exhibition—at The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters—will feature a dialogue between fashion and medieval art from The Met collection to examine fashion's ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism. Serving as the cornerstone of the exhibition, papal robes and accessories from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside The Vatican, will be on view in the Anna Wintour Costume Center. Fashions from the early 20th century to the present will be shown in the Byzantine and medieval galleries, part of the Robert Lehman Wing, and at The Met Cloisters.
Cooper Hewitt, May 11, 2018 – January 13, 2019
This exhibition explores the elusive, complex phenomenon of color perception and how it has captivated artists, designers, scientists and philosophers. Featuring over 170 objects spanning from antiquity to the present, the show reveals how designers apply the theories of the world’s greatest color thinkers to bring order and excitement to the visual world.
New York Botanical Garden, May 19 – October 28, 2018
Pioneering American modernist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) conveyed a distinct sense of place with innovative depictions of her surroundings, from stark New Mexican landscapes to New York cityscapes. Yet flowers and plants were subjects that engaged O’Keeffe throughout her career. This landmark exhibition offers a rare focus on 20 of O’Keeffe’s depictions of Hawai‘i from a nine-week sojourn in 1939 commissioned by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company to create artwork for an advertising campaign. A lush selection of Hawaiian flora and a stunning display that includes more than 15 of O’Keeffe’s Hawai‘i paintings—not seen together in New York since their debut in 1940—will spotlight a transformative experience in the legendary artist’s life.
New York Historical Society, May 25 - September 2, 2018
The is the first international touring exhibition devoted to Rockwell’s iconic depictions of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms, and explores how Rockwell’s 1943 paintings—Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Fear, and Freedom from Want—gave visual voice to Roosevelt’s call to the defense of freedom worldwide and took their place among the most enduring images in the history of American art. In addition to Rockwell’s Four Freedoms, the exhibition encompasses numerous other examples of painting, illustration, and more, by both Rockwell and a broad range of his contemporaries, as well as historical documents, photographs, videos, and artifacts; interactive digital displays; and immersive settings, some using virtual-reality technology, all on the theme of the Four Freedoms, from FDR’s initial enunciation of them as a reason to enter the War to their powerful post-war legacy.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), May 26 – October 21, 2018
MoMA presents a full retrospective of Bodys Isek Kingelez (1948–2015), the Congolese sculptor who worked with paper, commercial packaging, and materials from everyday life to create what he called “extreme maquettes” that encompass civic buildings, public monuments, and national pavilions. The first retrospective of Kingelez’s work, and the first substantial monographic presentation of his work in the US, this exhibition features works from each of the key periods of his career, from early single-building sculptures, to spectacular sprawling cities, to futuristic late works, which incorporate increasingly unorthodox materials.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, June 8 – September 12, 2018
Featuring more than 175 sculptures, paintings, and drawings by the Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti (1901–1966) this is the first major museum exhibition of the artist’s work in the United States in fifteen years. Not only does the show focus on the artist’s well-known figurative sculptures, but it also examines his engagement with Cubism and Surrealism as well as African, Oceanic, and Cycladic art. Giacometti’s studio practice will likewise be a particular focus of the exhibition, examined through the inclusion of rarely exhibited plaster sculptures, in addition to ephemera and historical photographs documenting his relationship with the Guggenheim and with New York.
Whitney Museum, June 8 – November 25, 2018
Mary Corse’s first solo museum survey is a long overdue examination of this singular artist’s career. Initially trained as an abstract painter, Corse (b. 1945, Berkeley, CA) emerged in the mid-1960s as one of the few women associated with the West Coast Light and Space movement. She shared with her contemporaries a deep fascination with perception and with the possibility that light itself could serve as both a subject and material of art. Yet while others largely migrated away from painting into sculptural and environmental projects, Corse approached the question of light through painting. This focused exhibition highlights critical moments of experimentation as Corse engaged with tropes of modernist painting, from the monochrome to the grid, while charting her own course through studies in quantum physics and complex investigations into a range of “painting” materials, from fluorescent light and Plexiglas to metallic flakes, glass microspheres, and clay.
The Morgan Library and Museum, June 8 – September 23, 2018
Monsters captivated the imagination of medieval men and women, just as they continue to fascinate us today. Drawing on the Morgan's superb collection of illuminated manuscripts, this major exhibition, the first of its kind in North America, will explore the complex social role of monsters in the Middle Ages. Medieval Monsters will lead visitors through three sections based on the ways monsters functioned in medieval societies. "Terrors" explores how monsters enhanced the aura of those in power, be they rulers, knights, or saints. A second section on "Aliens" demonstrates how marginalized groups in European societies—such as Jews, Muslims, women, the poor, and the disabled—were further alienated by being figured as monstrous. The final section, "Wonders", considers a group of strange beauties and frightful anomalies that populated the medieval world. Whether employed in ornamental, entertaining, or contemplative settings, these fantastic beings were meant to inspire a sense of marvel and awe in their viewers.
Whitney Museum, July 13 – September 30, 2018
Pacha, Llaqta, Wasichay gives center stage to contemporary art practices that highlight indigenous thinking around the built environment. The three Quechuan words—the indigenous language most spoken in the Americas—pacha (time, space, nature, world), llaqta (place, country, community), and wasichay (to build) each point to a decolonial approach of preserving and foregrounding indigenous concepts that transcend the English term architecture. Rather than upholding Western modernist architecture as a marker of development in the Americas, the artworks in this exhibition explore the conceptual legacies inherited from, and also still alive in, indigenous groups that include the Inca, Quechua, Maya, Aztec, and Taíno, among others.
Riverside Park South, Manhattan, August 10, 2017 - August 11, 2018
Hell Gate Cairns is a series of stacked stone pillars, or cairns, that stand watch over the western coastline of Riverside Park. By focusing on the forms of natural stone, the piece draws attention to the boulders that line the waterfront, remnants of the great earthmoving projects of the 20th century that cleared the city’s waterways, including the perilous “Hell Gate”. The monument’s placement at the water’s edge recalls these feats of human engineering, while further calling upon the cairns’ symbolism as an ancient sign of treacherous waters. Their verticality a reflection of the nearby skyline, the Hell Gate Cairns aim to embody the human impulse to imaginative construction—stacking stones first in play, then as architecture.
Union Square Park, Manhattan, October 6, 2017 - October 5, 2018
Dale Chihuly is an American artist known for revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement and elevating the perception of the glass medium from the realm of craft to fine art. Over his 50-year career, the artist has become known for his iconic glass sculptures and ambitious architectural installations in historic cities, museums and gardens around the world. The Rose Crystal Tower stands 31-feet tall and is composed of Polyvitro crystals and steel. Polyvitro—an invention of Chihuly Studio—is the artist’s term for a plastic material which he casts into individual chunks which resemble glass, but are lighter and more resilient.
Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park, March 7 - October 14, 2018
With the weather turning towards the gentle breezes and sunshine of spring and summer in New York, a new sculpture by Yinka Shonibare has sprung up on the corner of 5th Ave and 59th st., the southeastern corner of Central Park and long-running home to the Public Art Fund’s ongoing commission project. The piece is a particularly resonant one for the current juncture, mixing bright colors and a fluid, windswept form that carries deeper political subtexts and histories of capitalist exploitation of the African continent.
Roof Garden, Metropolitan Museum of Art, April 17 - October 28, 2018
Pakistani artist Huma Bhabha (b. 1962) has been selected to create a site-specific installation for The Met's Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, the sixth in a series of commissions for the outdoor space. Bhabha's work addresses themes of colonialism, war, displacement, and memories of place. Using found materials and the detritus of everyday life, she creates haunting human figures that hover between abstraction and figuration, monumentality and entropy.
Broadway Malls, 64th St. – 157th St., April 27, 2018 – February, 2019
This is the artist’s first major outdoor sculpture installation, consisting of six large-scale, figurative sculptures. The artist explains her merging of flora and fauna as "an urban escape into a rural wonderland; the pace of the city contrasts with the rhythms of nature raising questions of what effect this disparity has on the human psyche; man’s relationship to nature is an underlying concern throughout my work. As the inhabitants of the natural world are increasingly displaced by urban and suburban sprawl, I find myself using anthropomorphic fables to return nature's creatures to our human consciousness."
Rockefeller Center, Channel Gardens, May 2 – July 22, 2018
This is the first site-specific outdoor public sculpture ever to be commissioned for the United States from Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945). Titled Uraeus, the work consists of a gigantic open book with eagle’s wings 30 feet in span, both made of lead, on top of a 20-foot-tall lead-clad stainless steel column. Lead is one of the artist’s preferred materials for its soft, fluid properties traditionally associated with alchemical transformation, especially its second stage: dissolution. In Kiefer’s mind alchemy is “a symbol for the artist…you have to destroy and then recreate.” Uraeus extends his vocabulary of striking mythic forms, presented at an arresting new scale.
Socrates Sculpture Park, May 6 – September 4, 2018
This park-wide solo exhibition presents newly commissioned works by Virginia Overton that refashion found materials with dynamism and potency. In succinct, elegant forms, often accompanied with wry humor, Overton addresses concepts of labor, economics, and the land in today’s society. Her material choices—fundamental elements for construction and fabrication—combined with her axiomatic approach to process, evoke narratives of self-reliance, creative constraints, and expediency. At the Park, Overton creates new iterations of ongoing series of forms—an altered pickup truck, a water feature, a roof truss gem sculpture, a suspended work, and a billboard, among others.
Madison Square Park, May 14 - September 3, 2018
This exhibition is comprised of six new sculptures by Diana Al-Hadid (b. 1981), installed across Madison Square Park’s central Oval Lawn, peripheral lawns, and northern reflecting pool. Two wall works are combined with rows of hedges to form a room suggesting the elegiac beauty of deteriorating structures nestled into plant material. Three reclining female figures, titled Synonym, sit on plinths and are displayed on the surrounding lawns. The Park’s reflecting pool features a site-specific sculptural bust of a female figure perched atop a fragmented mountain. Al-Hadid is best known for creating work using traditional and contemporary sculpture materials and processes that pivot amongst architecture, figuration, and abstraction. Delirious Matter is the first project by the artist and the first Conservancy commission to unite sculpture with plant materials.