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New Delhi, March 2 – Every spring, the arts come to life in New York City-at galleries, on stages, in parks, and in one instance, across a rooftop with views of Central Park. A dance festival honouring the African diaspora, an exhibition highlighting paper as a fashion material, and an investigation of modern topics on the grounds of the New York Botanical Garden are some of the other highlights of this year’s celebration, which is organised by Los Angeles artist Lauren Halsey.
Spring may be the season for flowers, but we believe that the true beauty of New York lies in its inclusiveness. This guide focuses on the art institutions that contribute to the greatness of this city, highlighting the breadth of venues across the boroughs and a section on new art spaces we’re particularly excited about, as well as a few shows in the tri-state area for those who want to venture beyond the city limits. Art in New York is unlike any other place on the planet.
BAM Spring 2023 Season: Brooklyn Academy of Music continues to celebrate 2023 with a multi-genre display of the arts. On the docket are a music series across BAM’s campus curated by Solange Knowles; novelist Zadie Smith’s first play, The Wife of Willesden (April 1-16); the annual DanceAfrica Festival (May 26-29); and a visit from the dancers of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (June 6-11).
Joyce Theater Spring 2023 Season: The Joyce welcomes a range of companies and dance styles for their new season, which runs from late February to mid-June. Things kick off with Batsheva Dance (February 28 – March 12); highlights that follow include Parsons Dance (March 15-26), Martha Graham Dance Company (April 18-30), and Ballet Tech Kids Dance (June 8-11). Programming concludes with performances by Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana (June 13-18).
Ecologies 3: The Alice Austen House Triennial of Photography: In honour of the creative field of its eponym, the Alice Austen House hosts a photography triennial. The 2023 edition focuses on the intersection between living things and their environments. Artists include Staten Island residents as well as those who document the borough.
The Sassoons: From the early 1800s through World War II, the Sassoon family were pioneers in the worlds of trade, art collecting and architecture. This exhibit, which comprises 140 works in mixed media, follows four generations from Iraq to India, China and England. The collection includes decorated Hebrew manuscripts dating back to the 12th century, Chinese art, ivory carvings and paintings of the family by John Singer Sargent.
A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration: What is now commonly known as the Great Migration traces its legacy to the early 20th-century racial terror in the South that followed Reconstruction. In this exhibit, a dozen contemporary artists examine the impact of this migration on the people, the areas to which they moved and those that they left. Among those featured are Theaster Gates Jr., Allison Janae Hamilton and Carrie Mae Weems.
Rich Man, Poor Man: Art, Class, and Commerce in a Late Medieval Town: What we now call the middle class was, in 16th-century England, known as the “middling sort.” The people who fell under that category were not nobles but maintained an interest in art and architecture on par with upper-class society. This exhibit explores the development of middle-class taste through textiles, prints, decorative arts and a set of large-scale domestic sculptures, commissioned by merchant Henry Hamlyn, that forms the centerpiece of this exhibit.
New York Now: Home-A Photography Triennial: The Museum of the City of New York presents the first in an ongoing series of photography exhibitions exploring contemporary city living themes. This first instalment dives into the meaning of “home” – our dwelling spaces, families, and the communities in which we live. Photography and video work from the past six years exploring how the city landscape and the definition of the home have changed with the City’s ongoing struggles with economic and racial inequality and the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Death Is Not the End: Humans have long theorized and often obsessed about what happens after death. This exhibition at the Rubin Museum of Art explores the notions of death and the afterlife through the art of Tibetan Buddhism and Christianity. It’s organised around three main themes – the Human Condition, or the concept of shared mortality; States In-Between, delving into limbo and purgatory; and (After) life, which focuses on resurrection, transformation and heaven. The exhibition features paintings, prints, sculptures, manuscripts and ritual items that span centuries, culled from the Rubin’s collection and other institutions.
Generation Paper: Paper as fashion traces its origins to a 1966 marketing campaign by the Scott Paper Company, which designed disposable paper dresses to promote their core product. While short-lived, the paper craftwork represented a new frontier in nonwoven textiles. This exhibit includes rare garments, accessories, and textiles that showcase the partnership between craft and business in fashion.
New York City Center Spring 2023 Season: New York City Center’s spring season celebrates dance ranging from flamenco (March 23-26) to ballet (National Ballet of Canada, March 30 – April 1; Ballet Hispanico, June 1-3) to tap (Ayodele Casal, April 13-15), plus Dance Theatre of Harlem’s annual season (April 19-23). There’s also the traditional performance series of Encores; this edition features Dear World, Oliver!, and The Light in the Piazza.
New Directors/New Films: Co-curated by Film at Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art, this yearly festival celebrates the most innovative voices in filmmaking from a broad range of international filmmakers at the start of their careers and helped ignite countless careers, including those of Pedro Almodovar, Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, Darren Aronofsky, and Wong Kar-wai. It is starting from March 30th onwards.
Sarah Sze: Timelapse: Sarah Sze has successfully blurred artistic lines since she hit the art scene in the 1990s, having combined works in sculpture, painting, print, drawing, video, sound and architecture. For her Guggenheim solo exhibition, she takes over various spaces in the museum with a site-specific installation, starting outdoors with images projected on the structure’s exterior. Inside, a pendulum above the fountain and a small installation leads museumgoers to the immersive, large-scale environment waiting on the top of the rotunda, where they can experience Sze’s new and expansive works in sculpture, painting and sound.
Georgia O’Keeffe: To See Takes Time: Georgia O’Keeffe’s works on paper are a lesser-known element of her oeuvre, but the artist used materials such as charcoal, watercolors, pastels and graphite to explore everything from abstract rhythms to nature’s cycles. In cases where the drawings became paintings, the final pieces are displayed alongside the more than 100 works on paper.
NYC Ballet Spring 2023 Repertory Season: The New York City Ballet returns this spring with three Masters at Work programs, which celebrate its founding choreographers, Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine. The season opens with the first of these, featuring music by composers like Bach and Hindemith. As part of the Spring Gala, expect world premieres from former resident choreographer Christopher Wheeldon as well as from Canadian choreographer Alysa Pires, who is making her NYCB debut. Finishing off the season, Balanchine’s Swan Lake takes the stage along with Alexei Ratmansky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.
The Roof Garden Commission- Lauren Halsey: Lauren Halsey, the latest artist commissioned for works to fill The Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden displays a full-scale structure representing South Central Los Angeles, where she was born and continues to work. The exhibition, The Eastside of South Central Los Angeles Hieroglyph Prototype Architecture (I), is a fully immersive experience in which Met visitors will “inhabit” the structure and have a vivid comprehension of its connections to sources that range from Egyptian symbolism to modern visual expressions.
Jaune Quick-to-see Smith: Memory Map: The Whitney presents a new show by American Indian artist Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, known for her colorful, mixed-media works. The multimedia exhibition includes painting and sculpture from Smith’s nearly 50-year-long career, addressing land and habitation, Indigenous culture and other issues that are at the fore of the culture today.
Daniel Lind-Ramos: Puerto Rican artist Daniel Lind-Ramos is known for his large-scale works that make use of a variety of objects to tell the stories of Afro-descendant communities in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and elsewhere. This exhibit features pieces that address the impact of Hurricane Maria and the coronavirus pandemic on the island along with other never-before-displayed sculptures.
Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty: In the designer’s 60-year-plus career, certain aesthetic themes appeared from his early years right through his final collection in 2019. Most works in this exhibit, put on by the Met’s Costume Institute, sit beside Lagerfeld’s sketches, allowing you to see the creative process and grasp the visual puns behind his designs.
Under Cover: J. C. Leyendecker and American Masculinity: Before Norman Rockwell there was J. C. Leyendecker (a mentor to Rockwell; the two were neighbors and friends), whose illustrations helped create the early 20th-century American visual culture-most notably through work on consumer goods ads such as Cluett Peabody & Company’s “Arrow Collar Man” and features in the Saturday Evening Post. In addition to exploring how the artist’s queer gaze impacted his depictions, the exhibit examines the impact of white privilege, presenting Leyendecker’s paintings alongside art showing fashionable African American men during the Harlem Renaissance.
DanceAfrica: BAM’s iconic celebration of African and African American dance, music and culture returns for another year. This installment includes celebrations of Ghanian dance and music from the National Dance Company of Ghana as well as performances from the DanceAfrica Spirit Walkers and Restoration Art Dance Youth Ensemble.
Ebony G. Patterson: Ebony Patterson’s immersive residency, the first in the garden’s history, explores themes of race, gender, class, and violence amid the serene settings of the natural world – a metaphor for darker truths often hidden beneath a beautiful surface. Patterson’s 2018 traveling exhibition, While the Dew Is Still on the Roses, helps serve as inspiration for this project, which continues to showcase dichotomies: peacocks and birds of prey, poisonous plants, and those used in medicine. It is on May 28th, 2023.