For the Modernist:
If you’re not one for huge and demanding museum exhibitions that fill room after room with weighty art, head over to the Guggenheim and see the ongoing “Kandinsky 1911-1913” show, which features only five finished works by the influential Russian painter. The rest of the exhibition consists of two paintings by his contemporaries Robert Delaunay and Franz Marc, copies of an art treatise he authored, and a preliminary study for one of his displayed paintings. During the time period explored in the exhibition, Kandinsky, Delaunay, Marc, and other artists formed a group called “The Blue Rider.” The stylistic trademarks of the group, including expressive use of color and symbolic abstractions, are all evident in the paintings on display. The wide color palettes and almost surreal spontaneity of the paintings make this exhibition not only a fun experience, but also a must-see for any art enthusiast.
For the Photography Fan:
While fans see musicians from one side of the stage, it is often surprising to view them through another perspective entirely: the lens of a camera. The current exhibit at the Steven Kasher Gallery, at 521 W23rd Street, is titled “Jim Marshall: The Rolling Stones and Beyond” and runs through Saturday, September 8 (Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-6pm).
The exhibit features 60 photographs by the famous photographer, best known for his personal and raw photographs of some of the world’s greatest musicians; the most notable being the Rolling Stones during their infamous 1972 U.S. Tour. However, these black-and-white photos are anything but glamorous. They are candid and crude, showing the bleakness behind all the fame and fortune. The most striking photo of the British rock band, perhaps, is one of Mick Jagger staring off to the distance while clutching a bottle of Jack Daniels—a glimpse at a moment of loneliness often lost beneath hectic partying.
Also on display are shots of The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, John Coltrane, and many others. Every photo resonates with the copious trust each artist had in Marshall, letting him capture them at their weakest and most personal moments, exposing the vulnerability underneath their glitzed and glammed shells.
For the Humanities Buff:
The recently renovated Morgan Library and Museum, on Madison and 36th Street, has attracted a great deal of attention this summer to a small but precious exhibit. “The Power of Words” is one of The Morgan’s new summer displays, focusing on Winston Churchill, one of the 20th century’s most iconic leaders. Rather than concentrate on his political exploits, the exhibit examines his love of writing and speaking, emphasizing his powerful gift: oratory. The collection includes early drafts of some of his most famous wartime speeches edited in his hand and even one of his dialogues on the art of speech. Churchill’s childhood is touched upon, as well, with a copy of his elementary-school report card on display that complains of his “disruptive classroom attitude,” but praises his skills in history and literature. This exhibit is remarkably personal, which is what makes it special. “The Power of Words” runs through Sunday, September 23, and admission is free to Stuyvesant and Hunter students; just show school ID. It only takes a few minutes to check out and is well worth the trip.
For the Architecture Addict:
Taking the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s top-floor elevator that lifts visitors to the museum’s rooftop gallery is a little like stepping into a time machine. Tomás Saraceno’s futuristic “Cloud City,” a complex constellation of transparent and reflective materials, sits 20 feet tall on the roof of the Met. Guests are able to walk on a series of stairs that worm throughout the sculpture. With its otherworldly vibe and angular and distorted views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline, it’s understandable why the sculpture shares its name with a floating city from “Star Wars.” Looking through the constellation and its many mirrors, it can sometimes be hard to determine what’s real, giving the structure an illusion of grandiosity and depth and making it a phenomenal place to spend a summer afternoon.
For Those Wishing To Transcend:
Shown in conjunction with her eponymous exposition at the Whitney Museum of Art (running through Sunday, September 30), Yayoi Kusama’s “Fireflies On The Water” is a little bit like one of animator Hayao Miyazaki’s films (including “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Spirited Away”): wholly capable of enthralling one with the overlooked magic of our existence. In this site-specific installation, Kusama utilizes mirrors, water, and Christmas lights to create the illusion of an infinite depth within a tiny room, leaving patrons with the rare opportunity of experiencing solitude. Unfortunately, as in accordance with the artist’s instructions, viewing time is limited to one minute, but the impression is deep—visitors often stumble out of the room, still transfixed.