SOHO, NEW YORK CITY. PHOTO BY GHOKAN INSELL. FROM TWENTY20
Aside from major museums like the Met, MoMA, and the Guggenheim, New York City is home to many lesser known but equally fascinating museums worth exploring. Sotheby’s Museum Network shines a light on five museums to put on your weekend radar.
THE RUBIN MUSEUM OF ART. PHOTO BY PETER AARON.
The Rubin Museum of Art
The Rubin Museum of Art provides the rare opportunity to delve into the rich art and culture of the Himalayas. Founded as a private collection, this museum in the heart of Chelsea offers insights on one of the most remote and inaccessible regions on earth. Highlights of the permanent collection include richly detailed scroll paintings (or thankas), intricate sculptures and masks, textiles, and illuminated manuscripts. The Rubin has become an exciting center of activity and source of discourse on the relationship between contemporary art and the traditional tenets of the Himalayan region. Well-known for its public programming including concerts, lectures, and dance, the Rubin is a go-to destination whether you choose to explore the galleries in-depth or drop in for a tabla performance. This year, the Rubin has centered its program on the theme of “The Future is Fluid.” The exciting array of talks, debates, and temporary shows will focus on examining multiple perspectives on the future - a must for those interested not only in Himalayan art but also in contemporary art and popular culture.
Insider Tip: Looking to unwind with a glass of wine after a long day at the fairs? Every Wednesday night from 6:00 – 9:00 PM, the Rubin hosts Himalayan Happy Hour at the museum restaurant, Café Serai.
INSTALLATION VIEW: THE BODY: FASHION AND PHYSIQUE, THE MUSEUM AT FIT . PHOTO BY EILEEN COSTA
The Museum at FIT
The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) is a prime destination for fashion lovers. In addition to its vast collection of garments and accessories, the museum also exhibits sketches, textile samples, fashion plates, magazines, and photographs. The museum organizes rotating exhibitions around its permanent collection of over 50,000 objects in small galleries devoted to fashion and textile history. Innovative special exhibitions have included investigations on the role of fashion in society as well as focused surveys of the work of single designers. Case in point: the Museum's current exhibition, The Body: Fashion and Physique, provides a timely examination of the relationship between the fashion industry and body politics. Also on view, Norell: Dean of American Fashion, is an interesting retrospective of the work of 20th century designer Norman Norell, featuring his iconic 'mermaid dresses'.
Insider Tip: Love fashion? Head uptown to The Costume Institute at the Met. The Institute regularly offers two fashion-oriented tours, “Fashion in Art” and “Costume: The Art of Dress.”
THE NOGUCHI MUSEUM . PHOTO BY NICHOLAS KNIGHT.
The Noguchi Museum
Escape the chaos of the city at the Noguchi Museum. Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi designed this intimate museum to be a peaceful oasis away from the hectic pace of New York City life. Visitors enter the museum through a tranquil outdoor sculpture garden. The galleries display Noguchi’s sculptures, as well as lesser known areas of his work including drawings, collages, architectural models, and stage and furniture designs. The Museum also presents special exhibitions that illuminate the many contexts in which Noguchi worked. Not only considerate of Noguchi's work, the Museum presents Noguchi's oeuvre in context, often exhibiting the works of his contemporaries. For example, The Sculpture of Gonzalo Fonseca, currently on view, is an exhibition presenting the work of Gonzalo Fonseca—a major figure in the development of Latin American art and a contemporary of Isamu Noguchi.
Insider Tip: Make a day of it and explore Long Island City’s vibrant art scene. Socrates Sculpture Park, MoMA PS1, SculptureCenter, and the Museum of the Moving Image are all within a short distance from the Noguchi Museum.
INTERIOR OF THE INTERNATIONAL CENTER OF PHOTOGRAPHY. PHOTO BY SAUL MELNICK.
The International Center of Photography
One of the most prominent institutions dedicated to photography, The International Center of Photography (ICP) provides an immersive examination of visual culture. The ICP museum is especially known for its thought-provoking exhibition program exploring the role of images and image making in modern society. Current exhibitions include, Edmund Clark: The Day the Music Died, which examines the structures of power in the War on Terror and Then they Came for Me, which reexamines the history of Japanese American incarceration during World War II. The permanent collection is comprised of over 100,000 photographs. It is well-known for its holdings of works by Weegee, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Robert Capa. If you haven't been to the ICP in a few years, now is the time to go. In 2016, the museum moved to a new downtown location on the Bowery.
Insider Tip: Interested in contemporary art? Save time to visit the New Museum, just across the street, where the Museum's latest triennial, Songs for Sabotage, features similarly timely and socially conscious works to those in ICP's current exhibitions.
THE JUDD FOUNDATION. PHOTO © JUDD FOUNDATION.
The Judd Foundation
The Judd Foundation at 101 Spring Street, the former studio and home of American artist, Donald Judd, provides visitors with a fascinating glimpse into the artist’s life and work. The entire building reflects Judd’s ideas on art installation. Throughout his career, Judd promoted the permanent installation of artworks in carefully considered environments. Over the course of twenty five years, Judd transformed and renovated 101 Spring Street, located in SoHo’s Cast-Iron Historic District, to fit his singular aesthetic and point of view. Judd filled his home and studio with over 200 works of art and design from around the world, including works by Alvar Aalto, Marcel Duchamp, Ad Reinhardt, Dan Flavin, Claes Oldenburg and John Chamberlain. The space is opened for docent led tours during which visitors can explore all five floors of the building.
Insider Tip: After a trip to the Judd Foundation, head to the nearby restaurant Wildair for a meal in a minimalist setting reminiscent of Judd’s aesthetic.