This fall, the Met has both Warhol and war; MoMa takes us shopping; the Museum of the City of New York brings textile design to the forefront; and the New-York Historical Society proves the beauty of New York State with a highly lauded show of Hudson River School paintings. The city boasts an extraordinary roster of museums and institutions that help us understand our past, present and future. No matter what museums you visit, there’s plenty to keep you entertained and enlightened this season. With such a full autumn arts calendar, here are five exhibits you should not miss:
1. Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Avenue) is a truly global museum, with its current exhibitions covering everything from Chinese gardens, Japanese painting, Turk jewelry and Baroque sculpture. Closing on December 31 is Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years, the much-discussed Andy Warhol show. Split into five thematic parts, the curators set out to examine the Pop master’s impact on other blue-chip contemporary artists — Elizabeth Peyton, Gerhard Richter, Nan Goldin — by showcasing their works alongside Warhol originals.
2. WWII & NYC
There’s a war raging at the New-York Historical Society, New York’s oldest museum: WWII & NYC takes over every floor of the building with its multimedia displays that detail the war’s intense legacy in New York City. Good thing there’s room for the pastoral, too, with Nature and the American Vision, a homecoming show of over 200 lush landscapes from the N-YHS’s esteemed collection of Hudson River School paintings, back on display here after almost two years of a national tour.
3. The World of D.D. and Leslie Tillett
On October 17, the Museum of the City of New York opens The World of D.D. and Leslie Tillett, which offers “the first opportunity to revisit and rediscover two of the most innovative New York textile designers of the twentieth century,” says Donald Albrecht, MoCNY’s curator of architecture and design. “Through this retrospective, we are highlighting important work in New York design history.”
4. Meta-Monumental Garage Sale
Over at MoMA, a rather radical installation takes over the second-floor atrium starting November 17. Martha Rosler’s Meta-Monumental Garage Sale invites museum-goers to become customers at a real-life tag sale. The objects on offer were donated by the artist, MoMA staffers and the general public (“Bring your good stuff and your junk,” read the invitation). “I wanted the work to engage the visitors not as observers but as participants,” Rosler has said; she will be onsite, haggling over prices with willing buyers.
5. The Scream
In a more traditional vein, MoMA’s star attraction this season is unquestionably Edvard Munch’s The Scream, on display for a six-month stretch beginning October 24. This particular version of the famous painting — a universally understood depiction of anguish and pain — dates from 1895, and was purchased earlier this year at Sotheby’s for an unprecedented $120 million. This is a unique opportunity to see one of modern art’s most iconic works.
Before you go: Make sure to check operating days and hours at each museum. The Met, for example, is closed on Mondays – except for major holiday weeks and weekends, when it stays open for public viewing – and closes early (4:45pm) during the fall and winter months. MoMA is shuttered on Tuesdays until May 2013, when it plans to stay open every day. The sleek modern art hub is open late on Friday nights, when the museum turns into a jam-packed TGIF party. Generally, a mid-week, early-in-the-day visit guarantees fewer crowds.
P.S. Don’t forget, a trip to the Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum located on the upper west tip of Manhattan, and one of New York’s finest fall-foliage pleasures. The museum’s collection of medieval European art is unrivaled, and its gardens are sublime; curators offer free guided tours daily. Admission here includes same-day entrance to the Met’s main museum on Fifth Avenue.