Opening This Week

Kazuko Miyamoto: To perform a line – Japan Society

In Kazuko Miyamoto: To perform a line (April 29 – July 10, 2022), Japan Society presents a compact survey of an artist whose work ranges from site-specific minimalist pieces to performance art, often melding a wide range of influences and issues across her cultural, gender, and creative identities. As a Japanese woman living in New York City, an artist working through the general concepts of minimalism, Miyamoto arrived at her distinctive forms by subverting the plain perfections of geometric shapes. Her string constructions give off a tense energy, with their subtly textured lines occupying empty space between walls and floors, held down only by small nails. Later works continue to reflect her minimalist approach, while also being infused with autobiographical detail, such as her long-running kimono series which takes the form of drawings, textiles, and props for performance art. The exhibition also includes many works never shown in public, providing a rich layer of information on the artist’s process, and making this one of the more interesting shows of the spring season.

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, Hours: Thur – Fri: 12-2 (Members & high-risk individuals only), Thur – Fri: 2-6 (General Public), Sat – Sun: 12-6 Admission: Adults: $12, Seniors and Students: $10. Timed tickets may be purchased here

Full vaccination plus booster (if eligible) is required to enter the building. Please be prepared to show proof of vaccination when requested. Masks are required at all times & masks with vents/bandanas are not permitted. A mask will be provided if you do not have one. Capacity for entry is strictly limited via timed ticketing and social distancing is required. As a courtesy to members and any higher-risk individuals, Japan Society has reserved the hours of 12pm-2pm for their visits and social distancing is required at all times. All other visitors may attend between the hours of 2pm-6pm with social distancing being strongly encouraged wherever possible. Please be advised that children must be accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult. Children aged 5 to 11 must show proof of full vaccination (both doses, with second dose received at least 14 days prior to visiting the Japan Society). Children under the age of 5 will be admitted with no testing required. More information about entry requirements may be found here

Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe – National Museum of the American Indian, New York

Continuing with their efforts to update and expand the definitions of US Native arts for a general audience, NMAI presents Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe (March 11 – September 11, 2022), a survey of a stellar career in education and the arts from one of America’s most successful, yet little known artists. The exhibition, featuring sketches, paintings, and documentary ephemera, and curated by Kathleen Ash-Milby of the Portland Art Museum in collaboration with NMAI, places Oscar Howe firmly within the American Modernist art movement, while expressing his Očhéthi Šakówiŋ (Sioux) and Yanktonai Dakota cultural background with unforgettable imagery. Throughout his teaching career at the University of South Dakota, along with a wide variety of commissions from local and state entities, Howe consistently promoted an informed and nuanced view of his and other Native artists’ work. His efforts to change the focus from preconceived notions held by those outside the culture to respecting the individuality of the composition and the artist, regardless of the style, was a life-long commitment that resonates today. Howe’s famous letter to the curator of the Philbrook Arts Center, the result of a contest entry rejection on the grounds his work wasn’t in the ‘traditional Indian style’, says it best: ‘Every bit in my painting is a true, studied fact of Indian paintings. Are we to be held back forever with one phase of Indian painting, with no right for individualism’ and that ‘Indian Art can compete with any Art in the world, but not as a suppressed Art.’

National Museum of the American Indian, New York, Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, One Bowling Green (Manhattan), Hours: Mon – Fri: 10-5, Admission: Free

Current NYC COVID requirements for indoor entertainment apply, click here for more information.

The Utopian Avant-Garde: Soviet Film Posters of the 1920s and Ethel Reed: I Am My Own Property – Poster House

The late winter season brings two new exhibitions to Poster House, one featuring designs that were classic from the start, the other rediscovering a forgotten artist of American poster illustration.

Making maximum impact with minimal elements, The Utopian Avant-Garde: Soviet Film Posters of the 1920s (February 25 – August 21) features an astonishing array of groundbreaking imagery using elements of color, illustration, photography, and typography. Graphic designers sought to create a new visual language to match the propaganda shown in Soviet cinema, settling on a range of techniques that were cheap and efficient for production. Collage, geometric shapes, repetitive images, lines of type placed in unexpected positions created strong visual appeal, whether they fully described the film being advertised or not. The point was to create a mood, not to list the content – and in their best work these Soviet graphic designers did just that.

An interesting aspect of Poster House’s programming is a focus on lesser known or almost lost-to-history artists. In Ethel Reed: I Am My Own Property (February 25 – August 21), the museum highlights the brief career of an artist whose life in the late 19th-early 20th centuries is eerily familiar today: a young woman lauded for her talent and beauty, attention by the media, a high profile engagement to a wealthy man, then, after the engagement is broken, public attention moves on and the woman and her work is forgotten. It was difficult to trace what happened to Reed afterwards, but it seems after leaving the US for England, she was involved in a series of difficult relationships, became addicted to alcohol and drugs, and died at the age of 38.

But during Reed’s heyday, her illustrations and posters for magazines, newspapers, and books published in Boston and London showed the fluid lines of Art Nouveau with a hint of the Arts and Crafts movement, reflecting the popular taste of the time. It’s easy to see why she was a popular choice for this kind of work: mostly self-taught, her posters show an excellent sense of positive/negative space; a cost-saving design technique for work that uses only black ink and a single color, to create an easily accessible image for public consumption. Whether or not Reed could have changed her style to suit the tastes of the following decades if only things had turned out differently will never be known, but at least we can recognize her work and achievements now.

Poster House, 119 West 23rd Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues), Hours: Thur – Sun: 10-6, Admission: Adults: $12, Students: $8, Educators: $8, People 60 years of age and older (w/ proof of age): $8, Visitors with a disability: $8 (along with free admission for one accompanying care-partner), Children aged 18 years and under: Free Admission, Members: Free Admission.

Current NYC COVID requirements for indoor entertainment apply, click here for more information.

Faith Ringgold: American People – New Museum

The latest show from New Museum, Faith Ringgold: American People (February 17 – June 5, 2022), is a retrospective of an artist known for her wide range of formats and materials while employing figurative techniques to confront and embrace the Black American experience.

Starting on the second floor with her early 1960’s canvases series ‘American People’ and ‘Black Light’, the exhibition describes Ringgold’s quest to discover a format to express her ideas about gender and racial identity. Beginning with unstretched canvas that had been sewn and painted with words and images, she developed a format using textile and paint, ostensibly in the style of quilting and other related crafting forms, which gave space for an image and a story to explain it. This linkage, with its multitude of associations for women and Black history across the centuries, was the ideal base for Ringgold’s art, leading to such renowned story quilt cycles as ‘The Bitter Nest’, ‘The American Collection’, and ‘The French Collection’. The selections on view are accompanied by a QR code available for scanning, so that visitors can read each story in full and appreciate the signature blend of observation and vivid language of the artist.

In addition to the artworks, the exhibit discusses Ringgold’s activism in civil rights and feminist issues throughout the decades, especially her involvement as a founding member of the Ad Hoc Committee of Women Artists, in protests regarding the lack of women and minority artist representation in New York City museums. Reading the statements and manifestos of the time is enlightening, not the least because 50 years on so many arts institutions have still been slow to open their permanent gallery spaces to non-white male artists or to discuss newer, more inclusive narratives of art history. These documents are a key part of Ringgold’s identity as a person and artist, displaying the focus and imagination necessary to move a narrowly defined society towards something greater. By the end of the show, visitors will understand that Faith Ringgold’s view of the American people is complex and searingly honest – as only an artist can be.

New Museum, 235 Bowery (between Stanton and Prince Streets), Hours: Tue – Wed: 11-6, Thur: 11-9 (between 7-9 pm, admission is pay-what-you-wish), Fri – Sun: 11-6, Admission: Adults: $18, Seniors: $15, People with disabilities: $15 (accompanying caregivers free admission), Students (with id): $12, Members: Free, Children 15-18 years: Free, Children under 15 years (accompanied by an adult): Free

Current NYC COVID requirements for indoor entertainment apply, click here for more information.

Holbein: Capturing Character – The Morgan Library and Museum

In their latest show Holbein: Capturing Character (February 11 – May 15, 2022), the Morgan Library and Museum (with co-organizer the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles), brings to audiences the first major exhibit of Hans Holbein the Younger in the USA, displaying his work in various fields, his patrons and friends, and agility in navigating the rapidly changing worlds of humanities, religion, and popular taste. Known mainly for his portraiture, Holbein’s exacting eye for detail brought him a level of fame that continues to this day. As the inscription on his painting of Bonifacius Amerbach states, ‘Although only a painted likeness, I am not inferior to the living face; I am instead the counterpart of my master and distinguished by accurate lines.’

In addition to the beautiful selection of portraits from a variety of international lenders, there are detailed drawings featuring merchants from the German Hanseatic League, English nobility, and scholars – most notably Erasmus of Rotterdam, the premier humanist of the 16th century. Other images include designs for book illustrations, jewelry, and emblematic device objects, all rendered with precision. Works by Holbein’s contemporaries provide additional context to Holbein’s career and place within the artistic communities of England and Basel. The result is a fascinating look at a unique talent whose creations helped define an era.

The Morgan Library and Museum, 225 Madison Avenue, Hours: Wed – Thur: 10:30-5, Fri: 10:30-7, Sat – Sun: 10:30-5, Admission: Adults: $22, Seniors (65 years and older): $14, Students (with current ID): $13, Disabled visitors: $13 and their accompanying caregivers receive free admission, Children (12 years and younger, accompanied by an adult): Free.

Free Friday program: between the hours of 5pm – 7pm on Fridays, visitors may enter for free IF they have reserved a special ticket for the timeslot in advance. Tickets are available one week in advance, reservations may be made here

Current NYC COVID requirements for indoor entertainment apply, click here for more information.

This Must Be the Place: Latin American Artists in New York, 1965-1975 – Americas Society

Exploring the history of Latin American & Caribbean artists of the sixties and seventies, This Must Be the Place: Latin American Artists in New York, 1965-1975 (September 22, 2021 – May 14, 2022), brings to life the creative energy and works of this diverse and complicated group. The exhibition features art, performance, and experimental work from over 40 artists and collectives such as Juan Downey, Hélio Oiticica, Regina Vater, Sylvia Palacios Whitman, Brigada Ramona Parra, Contrabienal, El Museo del Barrio, Taller Boricua, and Young Filmmakers Foundation, all exploring questions of identity, geography, politics, and more. In fact, there is so much material to explore in this lesser-known aspect of NYC’s 1960s-70s downtown scene, the gallery has divided the show in two sections: the first runs from September 22 – December 18, 2021, the second part from January 19 – May 14, 2022.

Americas Society, 680 Park Avenue at 68th Street, Hours: Wed – Fri: 12-5:30, Sat: 12-4:30, Admission: Free, however booking a visit is suggested, details are here. Current NYC COVID requirements for indoor entertainment apply, click here for more information.

In America: A Lexicon of Fashion – The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Using a different approach to their annual fashion exhibition, The Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents In America: A Lexicon of Fashion (September 18, 2021 – September 5, 2022), an inclusive selection of clothing designs from the 1940s to the present, thematically arranged by intangible qualities of emotion and character. Displayed in individual cases, each outfit represents American fashion’s creativity, its reference points, and the importance of human connections.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, Hours: Sun – Tues and Thurs: 10-5, Fri – Sat: 10-9, Closed Wednesday. ONLINE RESERVATIONS FOR ENTRY (which is separate from admission fees) ARE MANDATORY FOR ALL VISITORS. Admission: Out of state visitors: Adults: $25, Seniors: $17, Students not from NY, NJ, or CT: $12, Children under 12 years: Free, Members: Free. These admission tickets are good for three consecutive days and permit entry to The Met Breuer, The Met, and The Met Cloisters.

Admission for NYS residents (must show proof, see website for details): Pay what you wish, Students from NY, NJ, CT (must show current student id): Pay what you wish. These admission tickets are good for same day only and permit entry to The Met Breuer, The Met, and The Met Cloisters.

Current NYC COVID requirements for indoor entertainment apply, click here for more information.