Museums/Art Galleries in NYC: Advice needed

Old Jun 8th, 2013, 01:14 PM
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Museums/Art Galleries in NYC: Advice needed

Hello all:

I am heading to NYC with my sister and niece (from London) next week, and have had very little time to plan – mea culpa!

I am overwhelmed, and asking for your assistance. Frankly, I could spend the entire week in the museums and art galleries, but also want to spend time with my family, who have other interests.

I can probably manage 3-4 half-days in the museums. Therefore, I have narrowed the selection down to the Metropolitan Museum, the MOMA and the Guggenheim. If you think I am missing a ‘must see’, please call it out!

I live in London, therefore have access to the British Museum, National Gallery, Victoria and Albert museums, which I visit regularly and know every corner. I have also visited museums and galleries all over Europe & elsewhere – Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Istanbul, Paris, Cairo to name just a few. We are interested in history, art, design, fashion, decorative arts and photography.

I want to get the best out of the time I spend in these museums. Can you please advise if you think I am making the best choices?

Metropolitan Museum sections (probably too much?):
- Ancient Near Eastern Art (because of recent reading on the Golden Crescent)
- Asian Art (my BIL is Chinese, so my sister and niece will appreciate this)
- Egyptian Art (its a life-long passion)
- The Robert Lehman Collection (Sister and I will enjoy the decorative aspect)
- Photographs (I am fascinated by the capture of life in the recent past)

MOMA:
- Architecture and Design (Both Sister and I will enjoy this)
- Photography (Both Sister and I will enjoy this)

Guggenheim:
- The building itself
- Highlights of the collection
- The exhibition ‘Abstraction between the wars’

Many thanks in advance of your assistance.

Best regards.... Ger
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Old Jun 8th, 2013, 01:24 PM
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The Frick is at the top of my list. I like that it's small an not overwhelming.

I love the Met but its size can be overwhelming, especially if those with you aren't as into museums as you are. Make sure your sister and niece check out the gift shops, especially the little one downstairs that is their sale gift shop. I find something special there every time - often gifts for others.

I love the MOMA too.

One tip if you want to spend more time - let the others go shop or wander around for a while elsewhere and meet up later at a designated time. It's a win-win for everyone.
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Old Jun 8th, 2013, 01:29 PM
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Hi, if you aren't aware, there are free or pay-what-you-wish hours for the various museums. For Guggenheim it's Sat 5:45-7:45. For MoMA, 4-8 (free). Admission to the Met is actually suggested, though most people don't seem to know this.

The Frick is a nice museum (pay-what-you-wish Sundays before 1 pm), but it may not fit with your interests. I'd also consider Cooper-Hewitt and the International Center for Photography.

The Met currently has a small show on William Eggleston, and it's a good one to look at his work. Did you see the photography show at the Barbican last year (I think it was), which also featured some Eggleston photographs?

http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions...liam-eggleston
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Old Jun 8th, 2013, 01:30 PM
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Sorry the free hours for MoMA are *Fri* 4-8.
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Old Jun 8th, 2013, 01:31 PM
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Another thing I forgot to say: Take some time to visit the roof garden at the Met while there. It's one of my favorite places in the city. It's open now. Every year a different artist is featured. This year is Imran Qureshi (a Pakistani artist).
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Old Jun 8th, 2013, 02:05 PM
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The Cooper-Hewitt is currently closed for renovation.

While at the Met, you might enjoy the recently installed (2011) galleries of Islamic art.

http://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-m...ts/islamic-art
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Old Jun 8th, 2013, 03:08 PM
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Since you listed fashion, note that the Met has a current exhibit called Punk: From Chaos to Couture, that is supposed to be very good. I think you need a separate timed ticket for it.
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Old Jun 8th, 2013, 03:32 PM
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I second the Frick recommendation (to see how our robber barons lived....) and the new Islamic
galleries at the Met.
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Old Jun 8th, 2013, 03:41 PM
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If you like photopraphy try to see the International Center for Photography.
http://www.icp.org/

MoMA is arguably the finest modern art museum in the world.

I also recommend Thr Frick. It has 3 of the 34 known Vermeers.

The Met is known for its European collection and now has an elegant Roman and Greek wing. The Cloisters which about a 45 minute from midtown is part of the Met.

http://www.metmuseum.org/visit/visit-the-cloisters

The permanent collection at the Guggenheim is lacking. A drive by viewing would be sufficient since these other museums are far superior.
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Old Jun 8th, 2013, 04:14 PM
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If you have an extra few hours to spend (like 1.5 to 2 hrs, easy in and out, although you could spend more time) take in the Museum of Arts and Design at Columbus Circle. Really unusual, upbeat, and very different from the London museums and other NYC museums you list.

There is a very wonderful exhibit of 50 yrs of Contemporary Glass at the Museum of Arts and Design now (through August 25), and another exhibit of wood in contemporary art, craft, and design.

BTW, if you do get to the MAD (as it is called), try to go to Robert, the restaurant on the 9th floor of MAD that has a fantastic view of Cental Park from the window tables. We reserve for Sunday Jazz Brunch there on almost all our weekend trips to NYC. Robert has have afternoon tea, Lunch, breakfast, dinner, so you will hopefully be able to enjoy the view and a bite there.

http://madmuseum.org/

http://www.arkrestaurants.com/mobile/robert.php
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Old Jun 8th, 2013, 05:18 PM
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For the Met a couple of my favorite areas are: Temple of Dendur, Costume Institute and the impressionists. I never have the patience for the ancient easter pots section - they all look the same to me.

MoMOA is fine but I think the Guggenheim is pretty well a waste of time. In preference to that I would do the Frick (small select collection in a local mansion but IMHO much better works) or the New York Historical Society (fascinating) or the Museum of the City of new York,

I also love the museum of Natural History - and think it much better than the one in London - but depends on what your interests are (I love dinos, human evolution, gems/minerals and special exhibits. The planetarium is also wondrous.
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Old Jun 21st, 2013, 12:56 PM
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Ger, I wish I had seen this earlier. I really enjoyed this museum - I saw the Daphne Guiness exhibit there about 18 months ago (it's gone now, no doubt).

http://www.fitnyc.edu/13666.asp
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Old Jun 21st, 2013, 03:53 PM
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My daughter and I enjoyed one of the free tours at the Met. We were overwhelmed and found that an hour and 10 minutes tour to be a good introduction. They have a general tour and other specialized ones.

You may also enjoy the Cloisters if you like medival art.
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Old Jun 21st, 2013, 05:39 PM
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At the Metropolitan Museum of Art there is a wonderful Greek and Roman collection that just re-opened a few years ago.

I second the Cloisters for the medieval time period. They have the unicorn tapestries.

The Museum of Natural History is fantastic and I think the best natural history museum anywhere and we have been to many.
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Old Jun 21st, 2013, 05:40 PM
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If you like Egyptian Art, the Brooklyn Museum has a very sizable collection. The museum is near the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens so you can do those two in one day.
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Old Jun 21st, 2013, 06:09 PM
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Before committing to the Guggenheim, definitely consult their website or call them--when we were there a little over a year ago, nearly all of it was closed off for renovations and what was open was disappointing. I should have known something was up when I paid what I felt was a reasonable amount during "pay what you wish" admission hours and the clerk handed back half my money!

Agree that the Frick is delightful.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2013, 09:07 AM
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Thank you all for your recommendations – much appreciated.
Here is my experience:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I managed three separate visits to the Metropolitan Museum (one together with the family, two on my own), and got to see a lot, but not everything. A return visit will be required. Actually, I’d like to pitch a tent in the foyer and spend an entire weekend.

I started with the Egyptian collection (a real passion for me) and the highlight was most definitely the Temple of Dendur. I have been to Egypt, and visited most major sites, so this brought back many wonderful memories. I also was delighted at the collection of Hatshepsut statuary (first female Pharaoh) – this must be the best collection outside of Egypt ( I visited her temple at Deir el-Bahari when in Egypt, and know her successor had most of her images destroyed). The faces on the statuary were clearly female, quite beautiful, with a wry smile, that predates the Mona Lisa by thousands of years, showing a modern woman of strength and humour.

We did the Japanese/ Chinese collections, a delight for my sister , niece and nephew (my BIL is Chinese). It is quite shocking how advanced Chinese artwork was at such an early stage. Highlights were the early pots from 3500-2000 BC , the wooden sculptures of the Gods, and the life-size ceramic ‘old men’. My sister was transfixed by one: “This is my Father-in-law!”, she said, and called to my niece and nephew to have a picture taken with their Grandfather (Gung-Gung, I think).

I went back to Assyria, and marvelled at the tiles. However, it is not quite as stunning as the collections in the BM and Louvre. This might reflect that the Americans purchased their collections, while the English and French just stole them . Any opinions on this?

I did all the Greek/Roman/ Cypriot rooms – excellent collection on the emergence of European culture. I love the progression from the Greek impersonal faces (could be anyone) to the Roman faces that clearly showed the personality of the PERSON – the development of portraiture that would not see its like again in Europe until the Renaissance.

I did an all too brief visit to the European Paintings, concentrating on the Impressionists, which, in itself, should be allocated three hours. I also did a hasty visit to my favourite painter Caravaggio, but there is only one worth seeing, Peter denying Jesus, as there others are his early work, when there was no pain in his soul. I saw the ultimate exhibition in Naples at the Cappadocia a few years ago, where they had collected his best works from around the world, and then followed it to London.

My sister and I loved the American Wing, and the ‘rooms’ - it was ‘Architectural Digest’ from the birth of America. Beautifully done, and something one could not see elsewhere.

I am disappointed that I did not explore the Medieval or European Decorative Arts sections, but I had to make choices, given the available time I had. I have decided that New York deserves another visit very soon, just to complete my experience at the Metropolitan Museum.

Bet Ger
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Old Jun 22nd, 2013, 06:13 PM
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Wow thanks for the report. I have been spending a lot of time at the Met recently because many items (like 600 thousand) are now catalogued on line with gallery indicators so I have been diligently researching the illustrations in the Met ABC book. If anyone is visiting with kids I know where 40 of the illustrations are located.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2013, 08:29 PM
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This might reflect that the Americans purchased their collections, while the English and French just stole them . Any opinions on this?
_______
This has become an extremely complicated issue in the last twenty years. Countries want their antiquities back, such as Italy but Italy, for exmple, has never discussed returning the horses of San Marco back to Turkey.

There is an incredibly conviluted discussion between the British Museum and the Greeks over the Elgin marbles.

While there is little evidence that the US military has stolen much art as policy, but there has been some. And how certain older works became part of the collection of wealthy Americans can be suspect.

One of the greatest issues of stolen art since the end of the WWII is returning stolen art to the families of European Jews who were killed by the Nazis and had their art confiscated. The Provenance of these works is as great an issue as the morality of it.

There are just layers and layers of this beyond to the victors go the spoils.
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Old Jul 1st, 2013, 09:12 PM
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Here is an interesting article in today's NY Times about the restoration of art and major musuems.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/01/ar...-by-nazis.html
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