May Museum Exhibits

Here are some one-of-a-kind, eye-catching exhibits in the city that have recently opened and are featuring different, intriguing forms of art that you don’t usually see every day.

May 2016 museum exhibits Edgar Degas Heads of a Man and a Woman. 1877-80. Monotype on paper, plate. British Museum, London. Bequeathed by Campbell Dodgson. (Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art’s website)
Edgar Degas Heads of a Man and a Woman. 1877-80. Monotype on paper, plate. British Museum, London. Bequeathed by Campbell Dodgson.
(Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art’s website)

1) Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty

March 26–July 24

The Museum of Modern Art
11 W 53rd St.
New York, NY 10019
212-708-9400

Although Degas is well-known for his paintings of the ballet, this exhibit explores his work and experimentation in the mid-1870s with the monotype process, which involved drawing ink on a metal plate that was then run through a press producing a single print.

The display includes around 120 of Degas’ monotypes, which have scarcely been seen before. It will also include 60 paintings, drawings, pastels, sketchbooks and prints. These pieces, according to the museum’s website, “…show Degas at his most modern, capturing the spirit of urban life; depicting the body in new and daring ways; liberating mark-making from tradition; and boldly engaging the possibilities of abstraction.”


 

May 2016 museum exhibits Karl Lagerfeld (French, born Hamburg, 1938) for House of Chanel (French, founded 1913), Wedding ensemble (back view), autumn/winter 2014–15 haute couture; Courtesy of CHANEL Patrimoine Collection—Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope (Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Karl Lagerfeld (French, born Hamburg, 1938) for House of Chanel (French, founded 1913), Wedding ensemble (back view), autumn/winter 2014–15 haute couture; Courtesy of CHANEL Patrimoine Collection—Photo © Nicholas Alan Cope
(Courtesy of The Metropolitan
Museum of Art)

2) Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology

May 5-Aug. 14

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 5th Ave.
New York, NY 10028
212-535-7710

If you’re into fashion, then this is right up your alley. The Costume Institutes’ spring 2016 exhibition will be shown in the Robert Lehman wing of the museum. This exhibit explores, through showcasing more than 150 costumes from the early 20th century to present-day, how designers of fashion are accepting the balance between the machine-made and handmade in producing haute couture (the creating of fashionable, high-end clothes by major fashion houses) and avant-garde ready-to-wear.

The exhibit will confront the establishment of haute couture in the 19th century, during the invention of the sewing machine, and the rise of the contrast between the machine (machina) and the hand (manus) at the arrival of mass production. The goal of this exhibit is to investigate this continuous dichotomy of these conflicting tools of the hand and the machine, and it will also question the difference and connection between ready-to-wear and haute couture.


May 2016 museum exhibits Cally Spooner, On False Tears and Outsourcing – dancers responsible for delivering self-organized efforts to resolve difficult and time-consuming issues “go the distance” across multiple overlapping phases using appropriated competitive strategies and appropriated intimate gestures, 2015. Installation view: Vleeshal Markt, Middelburg, the Netherlands. Courtesy Vleeshal Markt, Middelburg, the Netherlands. Photo by Anda van Riet
Cally Spooner, On False Tears and Outsourcing – dancers responsible for delivering self-organized efforts to resolve difficult and time-consuming issues “go the distance” across multiple overlapping phases using appropriated competitive strategies and appropriated intimate gestures, 2015. Installation view: Vleeshal Markt, Middelburg, the Netherlands. Courtesy Vleeshal Markt, Middelburg, the Netherlands. (Photo by Anda van Riet)

3) Cally Spooner: On False Tears and Outsourcing

April 27-June 19

New Museum Of Contemporary Art
235 Bowery
New York, NY 10002
212-219-1222

Cally Spooner of Ascot, UK, will be having her first institutional presentation here in the states with her new installation in this museum. This installation of hers will be presented in the New Museum’s Lobby Gallery. According to the museum’s website, the exhibit will include a succession of “architectural additions to the gallery space” and will also include dancers. That’s right, live dancers, who will be dancing as part of Spooner’s unconventional artwork.

The installation will have a long glass wall, which will be the central feature, that isolates the Lobby Gallery from the New Museum Lobby. These dancers, trained by a movie director and rugby players, will be reacting to discordant choreographic directions: they must stay extremely close to one another, intimately, and yet stay “fiercely separate.” The dancers will be taught a set of strategies taken from on-screen romance, management techniques and contact sports. Spooner will give them simple duties that they will have to react to with efforts to defend, seduce and self-organize through a devised series of movements.

Spooner will use to her advantage the gallery’s high-visibility setup to review the features of museum and corporate architectures through emphasizing and dramatizing specific facets in the gallery by using background noise, daylight bulbs and soft acoustic panels. By Spooner’s interchange of architectures and bodies of management, she will evaluate how power portrays itself when interacting with the human body.


May 2016 museum exhibits Lucas Samaras, Head #145, July 16, 1981, pastel on paper. The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of Lucas Samaras and Arne Glimcher. Photography by Graham S. Haber, 2015. © Lucas Samaras, courtesy Pace Gallery.
Lucas Samaras, Head #145, July 16, 1981, pastel on paper. The Morgan Library & Museum, Gift of Lucas Samaras and Arne Glimcher. © Lucas Samaras, courtesy Pace Gallery. (Photography by Graham S. Haber, 2015)

4) Dreams in Dust: The Pastels of Lucas Samaras

May 6-Aug. 21

The Morgan Library & Museum
225 Madison Ave.

New York, NY 10016
212-685-0008

This exhibit of American artist Lucas Samaras (originally from Greece) displays 48 of his artworks as both a gift from himself and from his dealer, Arne Glimcher, to the museum. These pieces date from 1958 to 1983, and are diverse in subject matter, such as still life, nudes, interiors, self-portraits and dreamlike seascapes.

Samaras focused on using pastel to create intimate and small works that investigated themes that were already addressed in his well-known installations, sculptures and paintings. He was lured to use this medium due to it being unpopular in postwar art and by its shimmering quality and array of vibrant colors.

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