Thursday, September 9, 2010

Autumn in New York 2010

It was a pleasure to wake up this morning and discover that the weather for the next week in New York City will be in the mid-70s, with lows dropping near 60 at night. All I could think about was, first, that I could wear one of my sports coats without sweating to death today and, second, that autumn was here. I did (black-and-white pinstripe blazer), but it isn't (gotta wait until Sep. 23). You can tell I get rather excited about autumn in New York. After this brutally hot and humid summer, I am looking forward to the weather cooling off, the leaves changing color, and my silk cashmere sweaters returning to the forefront of my wardrobe. In the art world, autumn is always a big kick-off season for exhibitions. Last week New York magazine published its annual fall preview issue, highlighting some of the big events opening up from September through November, including their top 20 art exhibitions. The challenge for me is that I'll be heading overseas in October, so I'm actually going to miss almost half of autumn in New York this year. I guess that means I have less time to see all these exhibitions, but fortunately many of them will still be on when I return. Here are a few that I'm eager to see:

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art of course has a few blockbusters lined up for the fall, including "The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty" (Sep. 28-Jan. 2), an exhibition focusing on the Mongols in China during the 13th and 14th centuries, and "Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand" (Nov. 10-Apr. 10), which highlights the work of three of the great late 19th-/early 20th-century photographers. Of the three, I love Edward Steichen's work best. He managed to capture an incredible sense of atmosphere using photomechanical processes that he kept secret and few have ever been able to uncover. The image at the top of this post is one of Steichen's most popular and beautiful works, The Flatiron (1904), from the Met's collection.
  • Franz Xaver Messerschmidt will be at the Neue Galerie (Sep. 16-Jan. 10). While I have heard of this 18th-century sculptor, I know little about him, but the move from the neoclassical to the naturalistic in his busts should make this a fascinating exhibition.
  • Edward Hopper will be at the Whitney (Oct. 28-Apr. 10). I'm not a huge fan of Hopper, but there is something agonizingly urban about his work...the feeling of emptiness and solitude one can feel even in some of the most congested of places. (Think of Nighthawks [1942] and you'll see what I mean.)
  • Neo-Pop artist Jeff Koons will have a show at the Luxembourg & Dayan Gallery (Oct. 6-Jan. 21). People who love Koons these days think primarily of his large-scale puppy balloon sculptures, not the transgressive sex-filled cornucopias that first made him famous. Says New York magazine: "The uptown gallery partially restages one of the most howled-about exhibitions in New York art history: 'Made in Heaven,' Koons's 1991 depiction of himself in various states of coitus with his porn-star then-wife. Still outrageous, still prescient."
  • And finally there will be a fascinating counterbalance in the study of 20th-century art between classicism on the Upper East Side and abstraction in Midtown when the Guggenheim hosts "Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918–1936" (Oct. 1-Jan. 9) and the Museum of Modern Art hosts "Abstract Expressionist New York" (Oct. 3-Apr. 25). It will be interesting to see which show turns out to be more popular with visitors these days.
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