Gallery Shows

Jamel Shabazz: Eyes on the Streets – The Bronx Museum of the Arts

The latest exhibition from The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Jamel Shabazz: Eyes on the Streets (April 6 – September 4, 2022), is the first museum survey of the noted street photographer who began working in 1980s New York City. Shabazz’s work is unique in that he doesn’t disguise his picture-taking: instead speaking with his subjects and inviting them to collaborate and shape the image. The result creates photographs that exude a sense of genuine warmth and interest between people sharing a common moment, whether its young people displaying their latest fashion statement, older people attending a community event, children embracing their friends, or families on a day out.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, The Bronx, Hours: Wed – Sun: 1-6, Admission: Free. You may reserve a ticket here, walk-ins are also welcome.

Face coverings for people aged 2 years and older are recommended while visiting the museum, along with vaccination for COVID (when possible). More details are available here

Multitudes – American Folk Art Museum

The American Folk Art Museum goes from strength to strength with their latest show, Multitudes (January 21 – September 5, 2022), a glorious tapestry of artists and genres from their permanent collection, grouped and arranged to reflect various meanings of ‘multitudes’ as expressed by creators, genres, or interests. With over 400 pieces arranged in only 5,000 square feet of exhibition space, the imaginative display design never feels cramped or cluttered: instead giving each object, regardless of scale, room to engage the viewer one on one.

There are the old favorites, of course: craftworks from the 18th and 19th centuries such as carvings and sculptures in a wide variety of mediums, elaborately designed and drawn fraktur documents, needlework, domestic items, and portraits in oils. But where the exhibition shines is in the way it combines these iconic forms with newer works that have come to be part of folk art’s expanded set of definitions.

These later pieces from the 20th and 21st centuries also use contemporary popular culture to create fully realized imaginary worlds that reflected their self-taught artist’s concerns, histories, or ideologies. Mass media outlets often provided base materials for these compositions, such as the costumes and poses in Eugene Von Bruenchenhein’s photographs of his wife, echoing the stylized pin-up girls in advertising and movies or the fashionably dressed characters for Mary Paulina Corbett’s stories of friendship and romance. Other creators took traditional craft techniques to express aspects of their lives in ways that words failed to do, like Mary K. Borowski’s textile works describing the domestic abuse she suffered. All these modern and contemporary works reflect AFAM’s commitment to increase the diversity of their holdings and adding a much-needed alternative to the NYC arts’ scene.

American Folk Art Museum, 2 Lincoln Square (Columbus Avenue between 65th and 66th Streets), Hours: Wed – Sun: 11:30-6, Admission: Free. The museum requests that all visitors make a free reservation BEFORE arriving, details are here. Current NYC COVID requirements for indoor entertainment apply, click here for more information.