A Cultural weekend in New York
September 5, 2012 9:58 AM   Subscribe

I'll be in New York City the 21st through the 23rd and would like to take in a much art/cultural stuff as I reasonably can, but it's New York and outside of the big four (MOMA, the Met, AMNH and the Guggenhiem), I'm not really sure where to start.

The whole point of the trip is to see Einstein on the Beach, but since I've never been to New York and have no idea when or if I'll make it back I'd like to stuff as much stuff into the trip as is practicable. Also while I enjoy looking at art, I know very little about it. I usually just wander an art museum looking for things that I find striking, usually somewhere in the borderlands between portraiture/still life and total abstraction. So if the hive mind has any recommendations for things that I should try and see but am in danger of overlooking I would be ever so grateful.
posted by Meeks Ormand to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (23 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Doing the gallery district of west chelsea is great, though can be really hit or miss. But September is when the season starts again, so there'll be big good shows. And you'll see things that you'll never be able to see again anywhere! You can check this to see what'll be open. In other random bits, the Morgan Library is terrific usually, and undervisited.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 10:01 AM on September 5, 2012

Best answer: Check out the Brooklyn Museum of Art, which is pretty near BAM. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden might be nice as well (and it's free Saturday mornings).

I will second the Morgan (free on Friday evenings, if you are not seeing Einstein then, as I am myself). The Skyscraper Museum is pretty cool too.
posted by mlle valentine at 10:06 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It's right next to the Guggenheim but the Neue Galerie has a nice, small collection of modern art from Germany/Austria (think Klimt, Egon Schiele, etc.) that I really like.

Einstein on the Beach is playing at BAM so you could go check out the Brooklyn Museum (it's about a 20 minute walk).

The MoMA PS1 museum always has some fun contemporary stuff. It's in Queens and is about a 25m G train's ride away from BAM.
posted by musicismath at 10:09 AM on September 5, 2012

Best answer: Thirding the Brooklyn Museum. It sounds kind of corny, but this exhibit has some absolutely fantastic stuff and is a great jumping-off point for the rest of the museum (all of which is really well-edited, plus a million times less crowded than any of the Manhattan museums). Don't miss The Dinner Party.
posted by oinopaponton at 10:18 AM on September 5, 2012

Best answer: The Frick is small and great - it's the perfect size to not be overwhelmed or sad that you can't get through it all.
posted by vegartanipla at 10:38 AM on September 5, 2012

Best answer: If you're interested in learning more about art, the Met has free tours led by docents that are free with admission. For instance

Great Paintings

Renaissance to Impressionism

The Morgan Library can be interesting, and I will second the Frick.
posted by lyra4 at 10:41 AM on September 5, 2012

If you have no specific goal it might be fun to just stroll down 5th Ave in the 80s/90s. It's called Museum Mile for a reason.

Big list of museums here.

There are several options for bundle passes (see TripAdvisor roundup) that get you into multiple places at a discount.

Couple I haven't seen mentioned here that stand out:

  • The Whitney is well known for American 20th century and contemporary art.

  • Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum is fascinating if you're into design.

  • posted by Wretch729 at 10:42 AM on September 5, 2012

    Best answer: Some of the best art in NYC are the public statues located around the city. You should try to check some of them out.

    George Washington is the person who has the most statues in NYC. (He also has a bridge and neighborhood named after him in the city.)

    Central Park is a great place to start looking at NYC statues. The statue of Balto in Central Park is a favorite among kids. The copper patina around his neck is worn off from kids hugging the statue. Near Balto are two other children's statues - Alice in Wonderland and The Ugly Duckling.

    Celopatra's Needle is in Central Park also.

    General William Sherman (led by the Angel of Peace) is in Grand Army Plaza, on the corner of Central Park.

    Simon Bolivar and Jose Marti are at the 6th Ave (Ave of Americas) entrance to Central Park.

    Downtown, the famous Charging Bull is in Bowling Green near Wall St.

    Nathan Hale is outside City Hall.

    Gandhi is in Union Square.

    Confucius is in Confucius Square in China Town.

    Vladmir Lenin is on top of an apartment building, called Red Square, on Houston St in the East Village.

    My favorite statue in NYC is the little known statue of Mayor LaGuardia on LaGuardia Place in the Village. That statue captures his image as a poltician and man-of-the-people.

    What I have listed here are some of the most famous, and some of my personal favorites. But this is really just a small selection of the public statues in NYC. Whatever your favorite statue might be, one thing is for sure - New York City has one of the greatest collections of public statues anywhere in the world. If you are interested in NYC art, do not overlook this great collection.
    posted by Flood at 10:59 AM on September 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

    Best answer: The Cooper-Hewitt is undergoing renovations and is closed until 2014.

    The Met and AMNH are huge. Check their websites and prioritize the sections you want to visit rather than try to see everything in each museum.

    Yayoi Kusama at the Whitney.

    The Brooklyn Book Festival is on the 23rd. The festival is not too far from the Transit Museum.

    Speaking of statues... I don't know how much this would interest a non-New Yorker but you'll be in town for the opening weekend of the Discovering Columbus exhibit (you get to climb several stories of stairs to sit in a living room face-to-face with the Christopher Columbus statue in Columbus Circle).
    posted by plastic_animals at 11:03 AM on September 5, 2012

    The Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side is an interesting view of history of the living situation of working-class immigrants.
    posted by larrybob at 11:28 AM on September 5, 2012

    I really like the Dahesh Museum, of European Academic art. Fascinating stuff, all pretty much unknown. (Admittedly, I have not been to its new location.)
    posted by Capt. Renault at 12:13 PM on September 5, 2012

    Oh -- the New Museum is also great, but much depends on what the exhibit is.
    posted by Capt. Renault at 12:18 PM on September 5, 2012

    Best answer: 2nd Yayoi Kusama at the Whitney. Do get there early for a timed entry ticket to Fireflies on the Water. You can only get them in person, on the day of your visit.

    David Levine's "Habit" opens that weekend.

    Walk the High Line, see some of the public art (PDF), and then preview the Low Line.
    posted by kathryn at 1:39 PM on September 5, 2012

    plastic_animals arg you're right! I completely forgot about that. Oh well...
    posted by Wretch729 at 2:25 PM on September 5, 2012

    Art stuff/arty music stuff/arty book stuff that aren't in museums:

    Dirt Room
    Dream House Sound and Art Installation
    Spectacle Theater
    Anthology Film Archive
    Film Biz Recycling & Prop Shop
    City Reliquary
    Printed Matter
    Five Points
    The Stone
    Secret Project Robot
    Issue Project Room
    posted by lunalaguna at 2:29 PM on September 5, 2012

    I've found a few interesting galleries and exhibits by picking up a copy of NY magazine. Haven't done that in several years but there are listings in the back for art galleries, theater, restaurants, etc.
    posted by fromageball at 3:45 PM on September 5, 2012

    Best answer: +1 for the Frick. Small collection, easy to take it all in ... and all astounding work. You might be walking by it anyway, so drop in.
    posted by wdenton at 4:01 PM on September 5, 2012

    Walk the High Line, see some of the public art (PDF), and then preview the Low Line.

    Lots of galleries within a stone's throw of the High Line, too. Probably worth checking out their layout and current shows via g-maps and their websites first?
    posted by snuffleupagus at 4:53 PM on September 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

    Look at Time Out NY's website too.
    posted by brujita at 5:39 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

    If I had that much time to devote to museums I'd seriously consider spending all of it at the Met.

    BAM is great too.

    If you are interested in film/TV history, the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens might be worthwhile.

    And there's the Folk Art museum and El Museo del Barrio.

    And then as mentioned upthread there's the art that's just part of the city. The sculptures at the 14th street / 8th Ave stop and the tile art in almost all the subway stations.

    If you happen to find yourself at the Herald Square subway stop, check out this public art project. Wave an arm or umbrella and not only do you get musical tones, everyone around you who didn't already know this gets excited.

    If you don't get a lot of indie films in your town, you might want to check out the Angelica and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.

    If you draw, there are also sketching events around the city from time to time. For $20 or so you can drink wine and draw nude models and chat with artists. Can't promise it's happening in your window of time, but if you're interested I can check.

    OH, there's also the Painting Lounge - this is more if you lack any artistic experience but would like to be guided through creating a simplified version of a master work. I've done it, it's silly and fun.

    There are poetry readings, story telling, live music, workshops ... Time Out NY will give you a lot of that info if you are interested.

    Enjoy the city!
    posted by bunderful at 6:23 PM on September 5, 2012

    It's not exactly a museum, but the Grand Lodge of Masons in midtown is open to the public and worth a tour if you enjoy beautiful spaces.
    posted by usonian at 6:24 PM on September 5, 2012

    Best answer: Go see Sleep No More.
    posted by miles1972 at 6:52 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

    Response by poster: I had a great trip, managed to get in the bodies exhibit, Brooklyn Museum, Einstein, the Met, Sleep no More, the Guggenhiem, the Frick, AMNH and a trip to the Strand. Thanks for the help in picking where to go, one of these days I'll come back and see some of the many many things I missed.
    posted by Meeks Ormand at 3:00 PM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

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