Welcome to our latest arts roundup! For the third but not final time, we’re suggesting an itinerary for an American city. This week’s feature is Spider-Man’s birthplace, which several of our staff members have likewise called home. Come to think of it, we have never seen Spider-Man and our Executive Vice President of External Affairs and Public Policy Brett Williams in the same room…
Regardless of the true identity of its friendly neighborhood copyright policy expert, New York City appears poised for a post-pandemic cultural revival. Many artistic experiences are available to people once again, and exciting new ones have emerged, as well.
A satellite of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters has an astounding collection of medieval objects. Its architecture is an education in and of itself, recreating buildings like monasteries and castles. Authentic spaces provide the perfect settings for tapestries, statues, stained glass, rare books, and other treasures. You’re sure to recognize the corralled beast in one of the museum’s most famous works, but glimpsing it online is nothing compared to beholding it in person.
Bergdorf Goodman Department Store
On Fifth Avenue in Midtown East, the iconic Bergdorf Goodman Department Store bursts with the most fashionable clothes and rarest luxuries. Glamour streams from exterior window displays, which the designer compared to “hallucinations” in a 2013 documentary. Suggesting they continue to meet if not exceed expectations, The New York Times described one Christmas 2021 installation as “a psychedelic jungle.” Whatever the season, a shopping spree at Bergdorf’s is always in order – ideally after a dramatic reenactment of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, just across the street. By the way, we hear Jonathan Van Ness loves Bergdorf’s, too.
When this elevated railway opened in 1933, it immediately began saving lives of pedestrians, who previously had to dodge freight trains on Tenth Avenue, dubbed “Death Avenue.” In turn, New Yorkers saved the High Line from demolition in the late 20th century, after its trains stopped running. Today, 1.5 miles of railway have been transformed into a sky garden and open-air art gallery. Particularly interesting artworks include Ibrahim Mahama’s tree growing from a rusty tank and Firelei Báez’s ruined arch. Like the High Line itself, these sculptures depict nature overtaking technology.
Built by the same architects as the New York Public Library, Neue Galerie showcases German and Austrian art from 1890–1940. Visitors can admire such treasures as Gustav Klimt’s portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer and Moriz Nähr’s photo of Gustav Klimt. They can also enjoy a meal at the Viennese-style Café Sabarsky, which occasionally hosts cabaret.
Andrew Hoepfner’s theater group Houseworld Immersive has already done two productions, Houseworld and Whisperlodge. During these interactive productions, which break the fourth wall, audience members wander from room to room instead of staying in seats. Now, fans can venture underground in Bushwick, Brooklyn, for their latest experience, Bottom of the Ocean. One or two at a time, audience members explore an eerie underwater world, meet strange aquatic creatures, and participate in alien yet restorative ceremonies. Once they do, they may find that they are no longer who they were – or thought they were – before.
Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre
Founded by Amy Poehler and fellow comedians in 1999, the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) Theatre had to shutter its New York and Los Angeles venues during the pandemic. Happily, they will soon reopen thanks to investments from the Mosaic management company founder Jimmy Miller, The Onion’s former CEO Mike McAvoy, and the L.A. Dodgers. We look forward to laughing at least as uproariously as ever when UCB’s improv, stand-up, sketches, and corporate workshops resume. In the meantime, we’re eyeballing the merch.
ARTECHOUSE maintains gallery spaces for digital art in several cities. The D.C. location hosts Pixelbloom, a virtual cherry blossom festival, which makes an amazing addition to our roundup of art near the Capitol. The Chelsea location is currently exhibiting an immersive and volatile work called Trust, created by the avant-garde studio fuse*. Like a symphony, which typically has four movements, the experience unfolds over three stages as a computer synthesizes data streams into renderings of past, present, and future. Since ARTECHOUSE has one last location (Miami), don’t be surprised if we enthuse about it again in a forthcoming itinerary.
As the pandemic wanes, 500 acres will once again draw 200,000 people per year several miles upstate from NYC. It’s an amazing feat, since so many people refuse to leave Manhattan. What makes the trip so worthwhile is the Storm King Art Center, which features magnificent sculptures and installations. Lynda Benglis’ bronze fountain, for example, appears to freeze exploding lava in time. A recent addition, Sarah Sze’s steel sculpture uses reflective surfaces to simulate a crater made of sky. The impact is gigantic because of the work’s scale and genius. The same is true of many other marvels on display at Storm King.
That’s our NYC arts roundup! We hope you’re as excited as we are to return to the city that dreams but never sleeps.
We’ll feature other places in future roundups. After L.A., D.C., and NYC, can you guess where we’re heading? Hint: its name can be abbreviated in as many letters as NYC.
Until next time, find some creativity wherever you can. Stay safe and be well. #StandCreative