The New-York Historical Society, the recently-renovated oldest museum in New York City, is home to a staggering collection of books, periodicals, objects and ephemera that reveal our unique American history, with a focus on New York-centric issues. Once known for its academic focus, the museum has more recently achieved street cred for its quirky collections and inventive exhibitions. Recent exhibits have included an overview of New York’s brewing history and the history of smallpox, and efforts to manage it, in the crowded environs of the city. This season’s gems explore everything from New York in World War II to forty-five iconic works from the Hudson River School.
The Pop Shop: Education
September 18, 2012–January 13, 2013
With items on loan from the Keith Haring Foundation Archive, this rotating display of Keith Haring art and objects is a companion piece to the Haring mural installed on the ceiling above the admissions desk. The show focuses on Haring’s interest in children’s literacy, with posters and graphics he produced for book fairs and reading campaigns. Photographs by Adam Scull and Tseng Kwong Chi document the official launch of a Haring-designed campaign of public service advertisements, newspaper articles, a television interview with Haring, and one of the artist’s journals.
Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School
September 21, 2012–February 21, 2013
After two years on the road, many of the institution’s most famous Hudson River School pieces have finally returned to New York. This is a homecoming for 45 masterworks of 19th-century American landscape painting, with new works added in just for this show.
WWII & NYC
October 5, 2012–May 27, 2013
Focusing on New York City’s reaction to, and role in, World War II, WWII & NYC presents everything from prewar protest pamphlets to postwar artworks to show just how central New York was to the war effort and how the conflict affected the city’s evolution. Look out for a number of fascinating talks, lectures, tours and other programming in addition to the show itself. Interesting note: Two ground-floor galleries of the New-York Historical Society were turned over to the American Red Cross, which produced four million surgical sponges here by December 1944.
John Rogers: American Stories
November 2, 2012–February 18, 2013
A collection of objects from the 19th century popular sculptor. In addition to 40 plasters and master bronzes that Rogers used to create his plasters, materials such as mail order catalogs, advertisements and stereograph views illustrate how his works were presented and promoted to the public.