Art Museums in New York City
NEW YORK CITY! It’s been about twelve years since I last visited so was I really excited to have a chance to go back. I was only there for ten days but there was so much more that I couldn’t fit in–more so because my feet were so tired from walking! On this trip I had some time to explore in Brooklyn as we stayed in the area. Despite my ambitious list of things to cover these were some of the highlights from my trip. Due to time constraints, I was only able to visit the major museums so will have to leave the galleries for another time.
Let me tell you that it was such a treat to be immersed in art almost every day! It also was a bit of a surreal experience for me to go from studying art in books and photographs to then be faced with the real works in person. I was in awe of the sheer scale of works, all the textures and just the freedom view it from so many angles. This is what I needed to do anyways due to the large number of people just about everywhere you go. My own pictures don’t do the work justice.
We did all the “classics” this trip in terms of museums including the Metropolitan Museum. Though I had seen it before, the grandeur of the great sculpture halls and the building itself. There is also a great selection of contemporary art which included the piece pictured above on the left by one of my favourite artists Robert Rauschenberg. The photo on the right of the black and white graphic piece is by Sol LeWitt. The Met Breuer, which was formerly the old Whitney Museum, had just opened about a week before our trip so I was really happy that we could see it.
The admission to the Met also included admission to the Met Breuer and the Met Cloisters but time and our tolerance for being on our feet soon dwindled. I really loved the exhibit Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible. It was a grouping of incredible works by artists from across a wide range of periods and styles, which were either unintentionally or deliberately left unfinished. I could have lingered a long time just observing the artists’ planning and painting process. When it’s incomplete, there’s a certain energy that makes it even more engaging for me.
The Whitney Museum became an escape from the rain and crowds as we tried to venture into the American Natural History earlier without success on Easter Monday. We happened to time it right for one of their free tours of their American Art collection on the top floor. It was so inspiring to see so many large scale works by artists I had long revered. The second photo below is a view from the top floor of the Whitney Museum and looking down around the neighbourhood of Chelsea. In the distance on the side of one of the buildings, I’m pretty sure I see the characteristic mark of artist JR.
It is amazing that I got anywhere at all with the number of photos that I took of buildings with fire escapes. I don’t know why I’m drawn to them but the Lower Eastside and Brooklyn is a great place for all the urban textures. I didn’t get a chance to scratch the surface of the all street art in the city without more time! The second photo below was taken in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Again there were just so many floors filled with collections of awe inspiring work at the MOMA. I really enjoyed the Marcel Broodthaers retrospective exhibit for the way he was able to use language and poetry in painting, sculpture and more. Some of his work is pictured below.
I have been looking more and more at sculpture lately and of course loved seeing Louise Nevelson’s work in person as well as Alexander Calder (pictured below left to right).
The Brooklyn Museum is a large museum though not quite as extensive as the Met but what I liked the most there were the contemporary exhibits. My favourite is Stephen Power’s Coney Island: Is Still Dreamland (To A Seagull) exhibit. He created an incredible installation inspired by Coney Island that consisted of numerous hand-painted signs layered upon another much like in the historic attraction. I am a sucker for all things text. So I was naturally drawn to all the sign painting and the bold colours.
There was a lot more that I saw including The Highline and the Brooklyn Bridge but I still didn’t get through everything I wanted or rather it was my tired feet started to drive the decisions. I hope that I get a chance to go again but next time I’ll try not to wait another 12 years! The trip has given me some great ideas and directions for me to stretch myself in my art.