Posts Tagged ‘Museum Mile’

Oskar Kokoschka at Neue Galerie

In Uncategorized on August 8, 2009 at 10:15 am

It’s pretty easy to spot those Oskar Kokoschka portraits: emaciated, contorted looking figures, expressive lines that somehow can render a face demented but composed. And that big initialed, mildly ironic signature in the corner: OK. An Oskar Kokoschka painting rarely leaves the impression that everything is “OK.”

Oskar Kokoschka, Rudolf Blümner, 1910, oil on canvas

Oskar Kokoschka, Rudolf Blümner, 1910, oil on canvas

Kokoschka’s portraits and drawings are the subject of an exhibition that opened at the Neue Galerie a few weeks ago. As the recession is finally catching up with exhibition schedules, you may see more museums putting on collection shows–it is a lot cheaper to make an exhibition from one’s permanent collection than spend thousands of dollars on loaned paintings. Focus: Oskar Kokoschka is a selection of the artist’s work from the Neue Galerie‘s permanent collection, which is still very much a treat–with such small gallery space, the Neue usually has a fragment of its illustrious collection on view at any one time, so an assemblage of Kokoschka’s haunting work should be pretty fabulous.

The exhibition is up until October 5.


The Jewish Museum

In Manhattan on June 8, 2009 at 9:50 am
The Jewish Museum, New York (92nd Street and Fifth Avenue)

The Jewish Museum, New York (92nd Street and Fifth Avenue)

The Jewish Museum at 92nd Street and 5th Avenue is one of the most important institutions in the world devoted to the preservation and study of Jewish art, culture and history. In addition to a permanent collection of Jewish cultural artifacts that spans four millennia, the museum sets the bar for special traveling exhibitions. The current summer shows are definitely worth checking out: Reclaimed: Paintings from the Collection of Jacques Goudstikker tells the tragic yet redemptive story of a Dutch Jewish art dealer, whose large collection of Old Masterworks was stolen by the Nazis. The recovery of about two hundred works to the Goudstikker heirs in 2006 marks the largest restitution of Nazi-stolen art yet. The descriptive title of the second current show, They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust, chronicles a culturally vibrant moment in Polish Jewish history, obliterated by the events of World War II. Read Roberta Smith’s glowing review of the Mayer July show from yesterday’s New York Times.

Other reasons to check out The Jewish Museum: the French Gothic exterior to the century-old Warburg Mansion, an architectural highlight on Museum Mile, was recently renovated, liberating the beautiful facade from a year of scaffolding. The museum also recently revamped the website, including a killer online collection search engine. Check it out.

The Met

In Manhattan on February 27, 2009 at 11:16 am

The Met could a blog all to itself, so I am just going to touch on some basics that people may or may not know. The Met is located on 5th Ave at 83rd street and is a huge structure with one of the most amazing art collections in the world. It is so big that I am often very overwhelmed by the whole thing. But I’ve just discovered one very crucial detail that makes the Met manageable – it’s FREE (well there is a suggested donation, but for all intents and purposes it’s free). You can see the Egyptian section, you can see the sculpture garden, you can see the Impressionist room but you don’t have to see them all in one trip. Especially if you live on the Upper East Side, this is a great way to see one of the best art collections in the world without devoting a whole day to the endeavor. 


Don’t let this museum scare you away. It is so well worth it – and you can’t take a trip to NYC without stopping by. 

Whitney Museum

In Manhattan on February 12, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Another of the biggies in NYC. The Whitney is a museum for artists – they focus widely on very contemporary and upcoming artists. It is a place for artists to go to see the best of the best contemporary art. It is a museum for all those people who are tired of seeing lots of modernist, dada, and Warhol art. It is a museum for people who are really looking to expand their thoughts and understanding of what it means to be art. 

While I’m not always a fan of the Whitney it is certainly a “discovery” sort of place. You’ve got to be patient, be prepared to see some trippy, wild, weird, and sometimes not wholly enjoyable stuff. But its worth it when you do finally find that gem. 

Alexander Calder’s Circus has been on view for quite some time. Last chance notice for anyone looking to see it still. It closes on Feb. 15. 

Neue Gallerie

In Manhattan on January 19, 2009 at 11:36 am

When I went to see this small, private museum it was still t-shirt weather in New York (i.e. it’s been a while) but I think this place warrants a post all the same. Neue Gallerie, literally the “New Gallery” in German is a wonder of a place and fully deserves the attention of any dedicated art aficionado. I’d never heard of this place before a professor of mine recommended that we go around and see it. It’s housed at 86th street right up against Central Park in a gloriously decadent mansion which once belonged to the Vanderbilts (but, really, what part of New York didn’t once belong to one of them).

The museum is the brainchild of Estee Lauder heir Ronald Lauder, who, after his good friend and gallerist Sarge Sarbarsky passed away in 1996, opened the museum of German and Austrian Expressionist art as a tribute shortly thereafter. The museum houses some of the best examples of Gustav Klimt’s work (such as the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer which was bought at auction in 2007 for 132 million dollars) and many great examples by Egon Schiele, Max Beckman, Erich Heckel and German design by Josef Hoffmann and Peter Behrens.

The show I saw was very carefully curated and the grounds and building are amazing. With any interest in Art Nouveau or architecture, I think it is well worth a visit to this museum. And perhaps most importantly to me (who tends to get very overwhelmed by the large crowds at MOMA blockbuster exhibitions), the crowds were quite tame and I was really able to get up close and personal with the paintings and other works. I find it so much more rewarding when I am able to really study the works rather than do a fly by like so many people are forced to do at the international quality museum which are so often frequented by hoards of tourists.