Daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe.
If you’re in New York City there are some beautifully curated museum exhibitions that I recently saw. The Morgan Library and Museum has a remarkable exhibition on Edgar Allan Poe called Terror of the Soul. Original hand-written manuscripts, vintage photographs, and rare books bring to life one of the greatest American literary characters of all time.
Head of a Young Woman by Leonardo da Vinci c.1508
Also at the Morgan just a floor above Poe is an exquisit exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings featuring his study for the Angel in the Virgin of the Rocks known as Head of a Young Woman. This is a rare opportunity to see drawings by the master Italian artist.
The Morgan Library and Museum is one of the finest smaller museums in New York City. These two exhibitions are not to be missed.
The art for a 1981 cover of Print magazine by Art Spiegelman
At The Jewish Museum on 92nd Street and 5th Avenue is a tour de force of three compelling exhibitions. Art Spiegelman’s retrospective exhibition Co-Mix features the graphic artist’s Pulitzer Prize winning work Maus: A Survivor’s Tale. Based on recordings he made of his father’s account as a survivor of Auschwitz, Maus is a modern classic. Also included in the exhibition are many of his covers for the New Yorker magazine, his early underground ‘comix’ from the 60s, along with his graphics magazine RAW, and other great work.
Portrait with Clock (detail) by Marc Chagall, 1947
On the second floor of the Jewish Museum is Chagall: Love, War, and Exile. This exhibition from the 1930s and 40s features a collection of paintings and drawings of Jesus on the cross made during the time of World War II, while Chagall was a refugee living in France. There are also some beautiful vintage photographs of Chagall with his beloved wife Bella from that period, along with Bella’s handwritten book of songs that Chagall added touching drawings to after Bella’s death.
Rendering of 3D-printed weave for MER KA BA, 2013 by threeASFOUR
On the third floor is a stunning installation by the avant-garde fashion collective threeASFOUR. They created a ‘temple’ that one can enter. The installation is an illuminating spiritual experience.
Luidmila + Nelson, Absolute Revolution-Las Isla, 2012, Video
I took the subway to the 111th Street stop in Queens and walked from there to the Queens Museum, which has just undergone a wonderful renovation and expansion. One of the featured exhibitions Citizens of the World: Cuba in Queens, examines how Cuban visual artists grapple with the complexities of identity and place. The artist team Luidmila + Nelson are included in the exhibition with their compelling video Las Isla from their Absolute Revolution series. Luidmila and Nelson are great friends of Govinda Gallery where their work has been featured in a number of exhibitions.
Panorama of the City of New York, 1964
There is a breathtaking architectural model of New York City that was built for the New York City Wold’s Fair in 1964/1965 by a team of more than 100 people who worked on it for a period of three years. The model takes up a space of 9,335 square feet and includes every street, park, bridge, and 895,000 buildings. It is truly a mind-boggling creation. I could see my childhood home in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.
The Shatterer (detail), 2013 by Peter Schumann
In the 1960s Peter Schumann founded the Bread and Puppet Theatre, which I well remember from festivals and political demonstrations during the 60s. Schumann’s work, The Shatterer, incorporates painted texts, diagrams, and other elements that create a surreal environment.