Although many may groan at the prospect of visiting an art exhibition, this fall there are more than a few galleries and museums that should make NYU students think twice about spending their day on Netflix.
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which offers a pay-as-you-wish admission fee, students can see some of the world’s greatest art. Starting Sept. 25, the museum will present an exhibition focusing on two specific symbols — cats and girls. The artist behind these works is Balthus, a 20th-century painter who, unlike his contemporaries, chose not to work in abstraction. Still, his paintings recall the eerie compositions of surrealist painters of his time, and represent his fascination with innocence and adolescence.
With an NYUCard, students receive free admission to several museums, and for those seeking something more contemporary, an NYUCard entitles students to free admission at the New Museum, which will open a Chris Burden retrospective called “Extreme Measures” on Oct. 2. Burden’s work has ranged from his famed 1971 performance “Shoot,” for which his assistant shot him in the arm at close range, to his more recent large-scale sculptures. The exhibition marks Burden’s first major museum retrospective, and it includes enough of his works to fill the entire museum.
Other free contemporary art alternatives opening this fall include a rare retrospective of pop artist Robert Indiana — the man responsible for the famous “Love” sculpture — at the Whitney Museum, a display of “Life of Pi” designer Alexis Rockman’s work at Sperone West- water and several installations by Minimalist sculptor John McCracken at David Zwirner.
Those in search of something less avant-garde will find solace in the Frick Collection’s exhibition of Dutch painting from the Mauritshuis Gallery, opening Oct. 22. Such an exhibition may sound like just another dry lecture, but this show offers the rare chance to see Jan Vermeer’s exquisite “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” which is not to be missed. The painting is on special display in New York while its original home, The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in the Netherlands, is closed for renovation.
Even those more interested in television than in paintings can enjoy “From Mr. Chips to Scarface: Walter White’s Trans- formation in ‘Breaking Bad,’” currently at the Museum of the Moving Image. The exhibit is a must-see, featuring props and other memorabilia from the AMC show’s six-year run. For those who want to channel their inner Heisenberg for free, a trip to Astoria is in order.
But for something a little closer to campus, here’s NYU’s best-kept secret — NYU’s own Grey Art Gallery. On Sept. 10, the gallery will open what is sure to be a fantastic exhibition of important black performance art, featuring work from Kalup Linzy, who has previously collaborated with James Franco and Adam Pendleton. And if the Grey Art Gallery’s location can teach us anything, it’s that great art lies only a 10-minute walk away in a city with as vast cultural options as New York.
A version of this article appeared in the Sunday, Aug. 25 print edition. Alex Greenberger is film editor. Email him at email@example.com.