2023 Spring Preview: Museum Shows

The Big Museums

We know them from tv, movies, even cartoons: they’re the big museums of New York City and often the only formal art institution most visitors see. As a result of this fame and audience, their special exhibitions tend to be large, spectacular, and Instagrammable with short snippets of information placed strategically throughout the rooms – less about study and contemplation of a topic and more about keeping people moving through the rooms. It’s a system that’s worked for years, although it can be frustrating for experienced museum goers who get bored with the same display backgrounds, layouts, and writing styles. However, there’s no doubt that many people enjoy seeing and learning this way, if attendance numbers are anything to go by, so it’s not going to change any time soon. And of course, we’ll still go to these exhibitions, because, well, we don’t want to miss out.

Jimmy DeSana (American, 1949–1990). Storage Boxes, 1980. Chromogenic print, 15 1/2 × 23 1/2 in. (39.4 × 59.7 cm). Courtesy of the Estate of Jimmy DeSana. © Estate of Jimmy DeSana

Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn), Jimmy DeSana: Submission (November 11, 2022 – April 16, 2023), Thierry Mugler: Couturissime (November 18, 2022 – May 7, 2023)

Guggenheim Museum (88th Street and Fifth Avenue): Nick Cave: Forothermore (November 18, 2022 – April 10, 2023)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (81st Street and Fifth Avenue): Lives of the Gods: Divinity in Maya Art (November 21, 2022 – April 2, 2023), Beyond the Light: Identity and Place in Nineteenth-Century Danish Art (January 26 – April 16, 2023), Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Room (ongoing).

Installation view of Barbara Kruger: Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You., on view at The Museum of Modern Art, New York from July 16, 2022 – January 2, 2023. Photo: Emile Askey

MoMA (53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues), Never Alone: Video Games and Other Interactive Design (September 10, 2022 – June 30, 2023), Guillermo del Toro: Crafting Pinocchio (December 11, 2022 – April 16, 2023), Georgia O’Keefe: To See Takes Time (April 9 – August 12, 2023)

MoMA PS 1 (22-25 Jackson Avenue, Queens): Jumana Manna: Break, Take, Erase, Tally (until April 17, 2023)

New Museum (235 Bowery), Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined (March 2 – June 4, 2023)

Javier Orfón, Bientéveo, 2018-2022. Inkjet print, 97 × 176 in. (246.4 × 447 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy Hidrante, San Juan

Whitney Museum of American Art (99 Gansevoort Street): No Existe Un Mundo Poshuracan: Puerto Rican Art in the Wake of Hurricane Maria (November 23, 2022 – April 23, 2023), Every Ocean Hughes: Alive Side (January 14 – April 2, 2023), Jaune Quick-To-See Smith: Memory Map (April 19 – August 31, 2023), Josh Kline (April 19 – August 31, 2023)

The Smaller Museums

When it comes to the specialty museum, NYC has a diverse selection that satisfies the needs of their niche audience while also welcoming new visitors. These institutions make audience outreach a priority: creating exhibitions that are appealing to a wide group of people, holding fun events for every age group, and friendly museum staff ready to chat about the work on view or even recommend a local restaurant for lunch.

American Folk Art Museum (2 Lincoln Square or 66th Street and Columbus Avenue), What That Quilt Knows About Me (March 17 – May 28, 2023) and Material Witness: Folk and Self-Taught Artists at Work (March 17 – October 29, 2023)

Exterior, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

Cooper Hewitt Design Center (91st Street and Fifth Avenue), Designing Peace (until September 4, 2023), Hector Guimard: How Paris Got Its Curves (until May 21, 2023), Deconstructing Power: W.E.B. Du Bois at the 1900 World’s Fair (until May 29, 2023)

The Frick Collection (75th Street and Madison Avenue): Highlights from the permanent collection on view at the museum’s temporary home on Madison Avenue and 75th Street, while the old location undergoes renovation. If you haven’t seen their holdings before, this current display is a wonderful introduction to one of the best single collector museums in the US. If you have visited the museum in the past, this new display is beautifully done, with pictures grouped by period or artist, allowing visitors to appreciate their favorites in fresh ways. In addition, there will be the temporary shows The Gregory Gift (February 16 – May 14, 2023) on view throughout the fall and winter season.

International Center of Photography (79 Essex Street), Face to Face: Portraits of Artists by Tacita Dean, Brigitte Lacombe and Catherine Opie and Between Friends: From the ICP Collection (both January 27 – May 1, 2023)

The Jewish Museum (92nd Street and Fifth Avenue): Scenes from the Collection (ongoing), The Sassoons (March 3 – August 13, 2023), After “The Wild”: Contemporary Art from The Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation Collection (March 24 – October 1, 2023)

Morgan Library and Museum (36th Street and Madison Avenue): Entrance to the Mind: Drawings by George Condo in the Morgan Library & Museum (February 24 – May 14, 2023), Claude Gillot: Satire in the Age of Reason (February 24 – May 28, 2023), Uncommon Denominator: Nina Katchadourian at the Morgan (February 10 – May 28, 2023)

Oscar Howe (Yanktonai Dakota, 1915–1983), Dakota Medicine Man, 1968. Casein on paper, 18 x 25 in. South Dakota Art Museum, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, acc# 1970.06. Image courtesy of National Museum of the American Indian and the Oscar Howe Family.

National Museum of the American Indian (One Bowling Green, Manhattan), Developing Stories: Native Photographers in the Field (November 3, 2022 – March 12, 2023)

Museum of Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle), Jewelry Stories (until April 16, 2023), Funk You Too! Humor and Irreverence in Ceramic Sculpture (until August 27, 2023), Generation Paper: A Fashion Phenom of the 1960s (until August 27, 2023), Craft Front & Center: Exploring the Permanent Collection (until January 14, 2024)

Museum of Chinese in America (215 Centre Street): With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America (now through December 31, 2023)

Carnegie Deli, New York, NY, 2008. Photo by Ei Katsumata/Alamy Stock Photo

New-York Historical Society (77th Street and Central Park West), ‘I’ll Have What She’s Having’: The Jewish Deli (November 11, 2022 – April 2, 2023)

Poster House (23rd Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues), With My Little Eye: Warnings For The Homefront (October 20, 2022 – April 16, 2023), Schoolgirls at War: French Propaganda Posters from World War I (October 20, 2022 – April 16, 2023), Made in Japan: 20th Century Poster Art & Design (March 2 – September 10, 2023), Black Power to Black People: Branding the Black Panther Party (March 2 – September 10, 2023)