Catch these museum exhibits while you can

Audrey Deng

The Museum Gateway program connects students of NYU to New York City’s prominent and diverse art scene. This year, students can experience the new Whitney Museum of American Art, which recently reopened in May of this year with the groundbreaking exhibit “America is Hard to See.” The Whitney’s large-scale exhibit “America is Hard to See” is a building-wide compilation of art that ranges from the minimalistic monochrome works of Barnett Newman to the lurid color explosion of Carroll Dunham. The exhibit celebrates the gallery’s inauguration in a new building while examining the many reincarnations of American art. It traces and questions the American artist’s expedition, producing an outline of a memory that comes to no conclusion, but rather, a new beginning. From installation pieces to framed paintings to video art, the wide range of artistic mediums is a reflection of American art’s mosaic path. This exhibit is continuing until Sept. 27.

For a wider range of historical art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, often referred to as the warehouse of art, offers donation-based admission — visitors choose the amount they wish to pay. Currently on view and extended through Sept. 7 is the highly acclaimed “China: Through the Looking Glass.” This arrangement of costumes shifts the comfortably Western-focused lens of fashion to the Oriental. On display are bits of pottery, paintings and film, which serve as a historical framing to the costumes on display. One of the most breathtaking pieces of the exhibit is the glass bamboo forest. It is arranged to appear like a scene in any quintessential karate film, but hidden inside the translucent display are haute-couture costumes, calm in disposition, lively in pattern. In various parts of “China,” these filmic dynamics between mass image and intricate costume illustrate the importance of the video medium connecting China to the world.

Several floors above, the Metropolitan has a collection of artist John Singer Sargent’s works in “Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends.” This gallery is an intimate look into a very shy artist’s life. Almost entirely consisting of portraiture, the collection includes paintings of high-profile minds of the time: Claude Monet, Robert Louis Stevenson, Auguste Rodin — for those wishing to know what some of their favorite artists looked like, Sargent paints these famous faces in part fan-boy admiration and part friendship. “Sargent” will remain open until October 4.

In a more modern turn, artists Yoko Ono and Martin Scorsese both have exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art. Ono’s “One Woman Show” follows the artist’s eccentric flair in this somewhat disjointed exhibition. Though unique and momentarily radical, this exhibit of drosophila and fruit provides little insight of Ono as an artist besides the overall zaniness of the 1960s. Scorsese’s exhibit, “Scorsese Collects,” is a collection of rare movie posters, in tribute to the filmmaker’s continuous dedication to the art of film. The biographical exhibits are on display until Sept. 7 and Oct. 25, respectively.

To simply appreciate art for art’s sake, without spiraling into meanings and messages and clues, explore the carefully carefree paintings of Frederic Leighton at the Frick Collection. It is all aesthetic beauty and uncomplicated luminance.

A version of this article appeared in the Saturday, August 29 print edition. Email Audrey Deng at [email protected] 

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