NYC’s 10 best art exhibits and events this spring

Posted On Mon, April 23, 2018 By

Posted On Mon, April 23, 2018 By In Art, Events, Features, Museums, NYC Guides

The flowers are finally blooming, spring is in the air, and there are tons of awesome art exhibits popping up all over the city. Although we recently highlighted some amazing art day trips from New York City, there is always art at our doorstep that we should take advantage of, so we’ve rounded up 10 terrific exhibits and events that will not last long. So take an extra long lunch break or sneak out of work early to catch these temporary shows that are all worth a visit.

Photo by Plamen Petkov

1. AMAZE
Through June 10, 2018
The Gallery at Cadillac House

Cadillac House in Soho is both a car showroom and “a public space that brings Cadillac’s design to life through a range of curated programming and events across the arts, fashion, entertainment and hospitality.” It’s quite an interesting concept for a somewhat staid car brand.

AMAZE, the current gallery show presented by Visionaire, is a collaborative installation by architect at large Rafael de Cárdenas and visual artist Sahra Motalebi. It consists a serpentine cycle of four spaces filled with somewhat dizzying optical and auditory patterns and illusions. Each room of the labyrinthine maze is filled meant to shift perceptions and “scramble the coordinates of space and time.” Visit Cadillac house, wander through the maze, have a cup of Joe’s coffee at the cafe and buy a Caddy. The gallery is free and open to the public, the cars are not.

© Huma Bhabha, photo by Hyla Skopitz (courtesy of the artist and Salon 94)

2. We Come in Peace: Huma Bhabha
Through October 28, 2018
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s roof garden 

Huma Bhabha, the sculpturist from Karachi, Pakistan whose installations have been described as somewhat “creepy”, has created a site-specific show for The Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden. Bhabha’s work addresses themes of colonialism, war, displacement, and memories of place. Bhabha uses everyday objects, such as found materials and constructed forms (the detritus of everyday life) to creates “haunting human figures that hover between abstraction and figuration, monumentality and entropy.”


Via New York-Historical Society

3. Walk This Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes
Through October 8
New York-Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, at West 77th Street

Walk This Way tells the story of the shoe with a focus on the women who designed, manufactured, sold, and collected footwear. The exhibit features over 110 pieces from a collection assembled over several decades by the famous shoe designer Weitzman and his wife, businesswoman and philanthropist Jane.

Stanley Kubrick, From “Life and Love on the New York City Subway,” 1947. Courtesy of MCNY.

4. Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs
May 3–October 28, 2018
Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd Street

In 1945, Stanley Kubrick was just 17 when he sold his first photograph the magazine Look. Kubrick drew inspiration from the nightclubs, street scenes, and sporting events captured ordinary life with a sophistication. The exhibit features more than 120 photographs from the magazine’s archive and more than 12,000 negatives from his five years as a staff photographer.

14th-century reliquary cross, gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (L); John Galliano for House of Dior. Evening ensemble, autumn/winter 2000–2001 haute couture. Courtesy of Dior Heritage Collection, Paris. Digital composite scan by Katerina Jebb (R)

5. Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination
May 10–October 8, 2018
At The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters

The Costume Institute’s spring 2018 exhibition at both The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters will feature a dialogue between fashion and medieval art. It focuses on the influence the Catholic Church has had on designers. The cornerstone of the exhibition are 50 masterworks from the Vatican collection: papal robes and accessories from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside The Vatican. The fashion exhibit from the early twentieth century to the present will be shown in the Byzantine and medieval galleries is part of the Robert Lehman Wing, and at The Met Cloisters.

Christine Sun Kim in collaboration with Taeyoon Choi, 2015, Whitney Museum of American Art. Courtesy: Carroll/Fletcher, London; photograph: Filip Wolak

6. Frieze launches Live in New York
May 3–6, 2018
Randall’s Island Park

Launching for the first time at Frieze’s seventh consecutive edition in New York, Live is a program of time-based projects featuring Renée Green, Alfredo Jaar, Dave McKenzie, Raúl de Nieves with Erik Zajaceskowski, Adam Pendleton, Lara Schnitger, and Hank Willis Thomas. Curator Adrienne Edwards is working closely with participating artists and galleries to present new and existing works, which touch on themes including feminist protest, gun violence, racism, and queer utopias, inside the fair and across Randall’s Island.

Rendering by Inflate for Design Pavilion 2018, courtesy Inflate and Design Pavilion.

7. Design Pavilion
May 12-20, 11am-9pm
Times Square, Broadway and Seventh Avenue between 42nd and 47th Streets

In May, during upcoming NYCxDESIGN week, check out the Times Square 2000 foot-long, 25 foot-high inflatable “Design Pavilion” installation designed by Harry Allen with INFLATE’s Nick Crosbie. The pavilion will also have an light installation from L’Observatoire International and will be featuring interactive installations and talks, themed “From This Day Forward.” Other installations that week include NASDAQ’s collaboration, AIGA’s Building Community Power campaign, a digital project SUPERIOR DIGITAL DISPLAYS, MIO’s playful line of furniture for adults in their living and work spaces and more! The entire installation is free and open to the public.

Courtesy Brooklyn Museum

8. David Bowie is
Through July 15, 2018
Brooklyn Museum

This is the final stop for the five-year tour of the “David Bowie is” exhibit, offering amazing and unprecedented access to the star’s personal archive. There are 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 20 years when he lived in New York City. Highlights of the exhibition include more than 60 custom-made performance costumes, including six designed by Freddie Burretti for Ziggy Stardust / 1980 Floor Show and seven designed by Kansai Yamamoto for Aladdin Sane. There are 85 handwritten lyric sheets, including those from “Fame” and “Fashion”; drawings, including a sketch for the Young Americans album cover; and oil paintings, including two of musician Iggy Pop, all by Bowie.


Via Spotify

Last week, to highlight this exhibit, 250,000 lucky commuters were able to buy randomly distributed “Tickets to Mars” MetroCards at Broadway-Lafayette and Bleecker Street stations. Tickets to Mars, released by Spotify, are limited-edition cards featuring five iconic images of the music legend. Even if there might not be any more super cool MetroCards available (unless you want to pay a fortune on eBay!), you can still visit those two stations to see the wall-sized Bowie-inspired art and get special codes to listen to Bowie through the streaming service.

Courtesy of Cooper Hewitt

9. The Senses: Design Beyond Vision
Through October 28
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Art does not just have to be visual. The Senses challenges all of our five senses in this holistic exhibit. Visitors can wander through a scented snowstorms, play tactile instruments and more with over 65 design projects and more than 40 objects and installations to touch, hear, and smell. There are nine themed sections that include maps that can be touched as well as seen to facilitate mobility for sighted, low-vision, and blind users; audio devices that translate sound into vibrations; and kitchen tools that use color and form to guide people living with dementia or vision loss. The exhibit will educate the way you see, hear, taste, smell and feel.

2017 Museum Mile Festival, courtesy of El Museo del Barrio

10. Museum Mile Festival
June 12th from 6-9pm
Fifth Avenue between 82nd and 105th Streets

To kick off the summer, check out the Museum Mile Festival, rain or shine. Every year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art closes down Fifth Avenue to car traffic and teams up with six other cultural institutions along the Fifth Avenue to offer free access to the public as well as many fun and interactive children’s activities such as pop up performances, chalk drawing, photo booths and more.

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