NYC Art Exhibits You Can’t Miss this Summer

NYC Art Exhibits You Can’t Miss this Summer

NYC Art Exhibits You Can’t Miss this Summer

Eight art exhibits not to miss in NYC this summer

Eight art exhibits not to miss in NYC this summer

Styling: Molly Wilcox

As the masks come off and New York City reopens, many are projecting an artistic renaissance like we’ve never seen before. What better way to usher in the rebirth of the arts than with mind blowing installations all around the city? Get ready for aerodynamic sculptures, vibrant gardens, pops of color, inspiring films, and interactive paintings. 

Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden Commission: Alex Da Corte, As Long as the Sun Lasts (Oct. 31) 

Alex Da Corte’s rooftop exhibition consists of a base with three interlocking pieces and a mobile component that oscillates gently with passing breezes. Featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until Oct. 31, Da Corte’s As Long as the Sun Lasts features none other than the world famous Sesame Street character Big Bird. Covered in about 7,000 individually placed laser-cut aluminum feathers, Big Bird, sporting blue feathers instead of his usual yellow, is sitting on a crescent moon holding a ladder gazing out at the stunning New York City skyline. The ladder symbolizes the travel back to Earth or other galaxies from Big Bird’s introspective perch. 

Alex Da Corte's exhibit, As Long as the Sun Lasts. Photo by Anna Marie Kellen

KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens 

Contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has drawn millions of viewers from around the world to her popular, immersive installations. Her latest installation is available at the New York Brooklyn Botanical Gardens until Oct. 31, where viewers will experience her lifelong reverence and fascination with nature. She explores concepts of obliteration, infinity, and eternity by using intricate patterns and vibrant colors along with the life cycle of plants and flowers. You’ll find red polka dots in trees, tall sculpted sunflowers, and an orange and black sprawling pumpkin.

Hassan Hajjaj's VOGUE, The Arab Issue

Hassan Hajjaj’s photography exhibition Vogue, The Arab Issue is an absolute feast for the eyes. On display at Fotografiska, the immersive five series Hajjaj developed over 30 years captures street style and haute couture, hip-hop and pop culture, while inviting viewers to ruminate on cultural stereotypes. The garments range from traditional Moroccan djellabas to hijabs, and polka dotted caftans to leopard prints and brand label knock-offs. Hajjaj asked local Moroccan women to model his creations, posing them like typical Western models to poke fun at the typically white-washed industry.

“I know it can make people uncomfortable that some of the women in my photographs are veiled,” said Hajjaj, “but look at how modern and defiant they are! They blend tradition with pop fashion, and I find them so strong, so powerful, and totally gorgeous.”  

The American Museum of Natural History: The Nature of Color (Dec. 5 2021)

The Nature of Color illuminates the awe inspiring and shocking ways that color exists in nature and the human world. At the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side, the exhibit teaches how color affects our behavior, where color comes from, and the history of color in the modern world. The interactive exhibit includes how color makes us feel, how colors are alive in the natural world, what different colors mean in different cultures around the world, and how to make color in pigments and dyes.  

The Nature of Color Exhibit at the Natural History Museum. Photo courtesy of New York Post

Away from the Easel: Jackson Pollock’s Mural, Guggenheim (Aug. 31, 2021)

Currently showing at The Guggenheim is Away from the Easel: Jackson Pollock’s Mural, a special showing of Pollock’s largest-ever piece of art that hasn’t been on view in NYC for more than 20 years. Pollock created the piece in 1943, four years before he started working with canvases on the floor, where he would pour and drip paint using different techniques. Mural, standing almost eight feet tall and at 20 feet wide, represents a pivotal point of evolution in Pollock’s style. The painting is partly inspired by Surrealism and the exploration of the unconscious mind, specifically by Mexican muralists Jose Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Sisqueiros, and Diego Rivera.  

Julie Mehretu at The Whitney Museum (Aug 8, 2021)

Ethiopian painter Julie Mehretu (b. 1970) has been exploring and experimenting with painting for more than two decades. Her architectural sketches are intricately woven and incredibly detailed, inspired by ancient civilizations, art history, and culture. Her work refers to Babyylonian stelae, European history and architecture, and symbols of African liberation movements. The exhibit at The Whitney Museum in the West Village consists of thirty paintings and forty rough sketches from 1996 to the present day. Her work is decisively abstract, using lines and pops of color to capture the viewer's gaze.  The Whitney Museum says that at its core, Mehretu’s art examines how forces such as migration, capitalism, and climate change impact human populations and possibilities.

Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit, Pier 36 NYC, (Sept. 6, 2021)

The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit has been traveling around the country wowing its viewers. You many have seen a Van Gogh painting before, but you’ve definitely never experienced the legendary painter like this before. Instead of viewing the painting from afar, you’re invited to walk inside it and let it surround you. Vibrant colors from the post-impressionist works swirl around you, creating a magical encounter with the legendary works of art. The installation uses several dozen projectors, 15,000 sqft screens, and a cutting-edge videomapping process to create the 360 degree digital art experience.

The Immersive Van Gogh experience. Photo courtesy of New York Times

Born in Flames: Feminist Futures at The Bronx Museum of The Arts

Fourteen conceptual artists reimagine world-scapes of what the future could be in the exhibit Born in Flames: Feminist Futures. Their work examines current struggles for equality and equity by exploring strategies for justice through abstract futurisms. According to The Bronx Museum of The Arts, the film sets forth a critical question: what can the future hold if our present is part of a long-standing cycle of capitalist values? The artists ruminate on this question by creating futures that defy our current cycle of oppression, calling out the realities of capitalism and patriarchy.


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