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Can't-Miss Culture: Fall Museum Exhibits in NYC

September 19, 2017 - by Evan Levy
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Fall is upon is, which means that a roster of high-profile museum exhibitions about to open at institutions across New York City. Read on for our picks for the can't-miss culture come up this autumn.

Over at the Met Breuer, the Metropolitan Museum’s showcase for contemporary art on Madison Avenue, there’s Delirious: Art at the Limits of Reason 1950-1980, which looks at the ways in which artists have incorporated nonsense, repetition, and disorder into their work as a response to social and political unrest. The four sections—Vertigo, Twisted, Excess, and Nonsense—look at the work of more than 62 artists, linked by a common distrust of reason (though January 14, 2018). If you haven’t yet checked out this new-ish part of the Met, wander on over.

Auguste Rodin Eternal Spring

Auguste Rodin's Eternal Spring

Your ticket also gets you into the Met proper, and it’s easy to do both museums in a day. Over at the main branch, you can catch Rodin at the Met (through January 15, 2018) on the 100th anniversary of the French sculptor’s death. (The artist is often considered to be the originator of modern sculpture.) Featuring exquisite marbles, terracotta, bronze, and plasters, the exhibition includes well-known icons like The Thinker and the magnificent The Hand of God, as well as works like The Tempest that haven’t been seen in decades. The exhibition is accompanied by drawings, prints, letters, and books.

A little further down Fifth Avenue, over at the Frick, a yearlong exhibition on French porcelain runs though August, 2018. Fired by Passion: Masterpieces of du Pacquier Porcelain from the Sullivan Collection highlights the work of the Du Pacquier Manufactory, which was in operation for only 25 years, but produced exquisite examples of porcelain vessels, platters, tureens and other objects, many whimsical in nature. Many bear elaborate decorations and 3-D additions (check out some of the handles).

The photographs in the new exhibit American Visionary: John F. Kennedy’s Life and Times (through Jan. 7, 2018) at the New-York Historical Society convey the sensation you’ve seen them before: JFK in the White House, his kids joyfully playing nearby; JFK with wife Jackie at an event, both of them elegant and assured (in truth, many images here have only rarely been shown). It’s part of the famous Kennedy allure, conveying a world that’s simultaneously approachable, glittering, and rarefied. This well-curated exhibition charts  JFK’s trajectory as a politician, as well as the cultural and historical pulse of the times, when photojournalism was at an apex. It’s a wonderful opportunity to observe a world both familiar and lost, and to reflect on where the country was—and is. 

If you’re feeling a little more downtown (and who of us isn’t, on any given day) Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon opens on Sept. 27th at the New Museum, and runs through Jan. 21, 2018. The exhibition examines the role of gender in contemporary art and culture, as seen by a group of intergenerational artists. Also coming up: Alex Da Corta has created a new work for the new installation for the museum’s 231 Bowery building. The New Museum was famous for its window installations in the 1980s, with such well-known artists as Jeff Koons and Bruce Nauman offering their take (Sept. 27-Jan. 7, 2018).

While you’re in your downtown duds, visit downtown darling The Whitney, where an exhibition on L.A. artist Laura Owens features approximately 60 paintings and books. Her work often includes doodles, personal allusions, and crafts materials; more recently, she's incorporated digital images and computer manipulation within her paintings (Nov. 10, 2017- Feb. 4, 2018). The Whitney is also offering the first solo exhibition of Toyin Ojih Odutola, whose work explores the changing nature of identity. Here, she’s offering several interconnected portraits in a series that chronicles the lives of two Nigerian families. The works are life size and done in pencil and pastel, and are both mysterious and familiar (opens Oct. 20, 2017).

Ever wonder what’s its like to fly? Earthflight, a film narrated by Cate Blanchett now at the American Museum of Natural History, took four years to film and shows journeys of various birds on their seasonal migrations; it was filmed on four continents in 11 countries (Sept. 15, 2017-March 8, 2018). And while you’re at AMNH, you can still catch Inside You, an exhibition that looks at our bodies as hosts to countless bacteria, fungi and viruses (through June 16, 2018). Fun!

Illustrated books, sculptures of bronze; collage novels--these are some of the works that make up Max Ernst: Beyond Painting at MoMA (September 27 though Jan. 1, 2018). With a focus on experimentation, the exhibition focuses on Ernst's work in the aftermath of World War I through World War ll. Known for being one of the pioneers of dada and surrealism, Ernst experimented with a number of new techniques, from collage novels to prints using a variety of techniques. And be sure not to miss 65 Maximiliana, ou l’exercice illégal de l’astronomie (1964), an illustrated book that features hieroglyphic script made up by the artist.

MoMA Is Fashion Modern?

While you’re here, stop by some of the other new offerings, like Items: Is Fashion Modern? (Oct 1-January 2; it looks at 111 items of clothing and accessories that have had a strong impact on both fashion and culture, from a pair of Levi 501's to the classic Little Back Dress, to the sari and the keffiyeh.)

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