Art has historically been a form of expression and a nonviolent way of showing political discontent. The installations and exhibits opening in March in New York City continue to speak to these issues from an in-depth exploration of the city’s Muslim community, a non-partisan artist-created PAC, to a jukebox voicing social concerns. March will also give some much-needed relief too, in exploring the fantastical from the Gilded Age to aliens afterlife.
Here are 12 art installations and exhibits not to miss in March, including the annual Armory Art Week.
12. The Gilded Age Arrives at Doris C. Freedman Plaza
As part of the Public Art Fund 40th Anniversary Celebration, the programming continues this month at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza, with Liz Glynn: Open House. For this commission, Los Angeles based artist, Liz Glynn, was inspired by the grand Fifth Avenue ballrooms of the Gilded Age, in particular, the Stanford White, William C. Whitney Ballroom, which was located at Fifth Avenue and 68th Street (demolished in 1943). The installation, just eight blocks from the original mansion, will turn the Plaza into a ballroom, and feature opulent Louis XIV replica furniture created in concrete. Twenty-six sofas, chairs, footstools, and arches will appear on the 3,500 square foot Plaza for viewing and the seating pleasure of the public. Liz Glynn: Open House will be on view from March 1st to September 24, 2017 at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza located on Fifth Avenue at 59th Street.
11. Digital Fairytales Light Up the Manhattan Bridge
On March 2nd, from dusk to 10 pm, the Manhattan Bridge will light up with a new video art installation, Digital Fairytales: Album II, becoming the setting for some of the largest video art installations in New York City. The installation is Inspired by old German tales collected by Xavier von Schonwerth in the early 19th century, and combines visuals and sound with projected dimensions as large as 65 feet by 40 feet. Curated by Leo Kuelbs and Sandra Ratkovic, Digital Fairytales, Album II is presented as part of LIGHT YEAR in collaboration with the DUMBO Improvement District and the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT). LIGHT YEAR takes place on the first Thursday of each month in conjunction with the DUMBO First Thursday Gallery Walk.
10. Honoring African Americans on U.S. Currency at Museum of American Finance
Image of 2007 Bronze Medal, Tuskegee Airmen
The Museum of American Finance and The Museum of UnCut Funk close out Black History Month with a tribute to African American heroes, with the exhibit For the Love of Money: Blacks on U.S. Currency. The 41 commemorative coins and medals on view depict the historical contributions of such beloved figures as Booker T. Washington, Jackie Robinson, Duke Ellington, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, as well as historical events including anti-slavery token coins, Little Rock Central High School, Desegration, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (silver dollar), and Selma to Montgomery Marches just to name a few.
It is indeed a fitting location for the exhibit, since Wall Street is the site of a former slave market. The above photo of the Tuskegee Airmen medal is a tribute to the nearly 1,000 black aviators that made up The Tuskegee Airmen. They formed the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group. They were, however, segregated units of the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Their success paved the way, in 1948, for President Truman to declare through Executive Order, that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.
Each of the images on view gives a complete history of the person or event, documenting the commemorative legislation that led to the coins and medals, and the extraordinary contributions that each made to our country. It is worth noting the recent news of continued recognition of African-Americans with the U.S. Treasury Department announcing the redesigns of the $5, $10, and $20 bills which will hold the images of Harriet Tubman, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and opera singer, Marian Anderson, as well as a vignette of suffragette’s depicting the 1913 Women’s Right to Vote March.
For the Love of Money: Blacks on U.S. Currency is curated by Loreen Williamson and Pamela Thomas of The Museum of UnCut Funk, and Maura Ferguson, Director of Exhibits at The Museum of American Finance, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute. The museum is located at 48 Wall Street, corner of William Street, and the exhibit will be on view through January, 2018.
9. Poetry Jukebox Arrives in The Bowery
Co-Curator BC Edwards with the Poetry Jukebox installed in Extra Place
On the street art sidewalk of Extra Place, a “Poetry Jukebox” has landed. It was created by coffeehouse owners in the Czech Republic as part of an installation interpreted to be like New York City’s Sing for Hope pianos, the pop-up musical installations that animate the city’s public spaces each year. The Poetry Jukebox arrived in Extra Place, next to Howl! Happening Gallery, last week, filled with the voices of almost two dozen writers. These voices are a collective response to social justice in an effort to foster dialogue. The Poetry Jukebox is curated by Bob Holman and BC Edwards, and is presented by Howl! Happening: An Arturo Vega Project, in association with Bowery Arts + Science, and the Czech Board of Tourism. It is located next to 6 East 1st Street, between Bowery and 2nd Avenue, and will be on view through the summer.
The Poetry Jukebox
8. Shortlisted Sculptural Models on View at The High Line
12 shortlisted sculpture models on view at 14th Street on the High Line
An exhibit of sculptural models of the twelve shortlisted proposals for the new High Line Plinth, scheduled to open in 2018, are now on display on the High Line at 14th Street. The High Line Plinth, on the Spur, will be the newest section of the High Line, and will be located at West 30th Street and 10th Avenue. It was inspired by the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square, and will become a destination for major public art commissions, featuring a rotating program.
The sculptural models will be on display until April 30, 2017. Two of the twelve shortlisted proposals will be selected for the first two High Line Plinth commissions this spring. Stay tuned.
7. Elective Affinities: A Library Opens on Hudson Street
“Elective Affinities: A Library” located at 205 Hudson Street
This month, the Hunter College Art Galleries, located at 205 Hudson Street, has been transformed into a library and reading room. The new exhibition focuses on family and community, in a way in which the space brings people together. Throughout the month there will be screenings, performances, readings, workshops, and opportunities to learn more about the presses and organizations showcased. The two-level, loft-like space with side rooms has a variety of good reads spread about on tables and wall shelves. Interesting and attractive display cases are placed throughout the exhibit, along with short videos on screens with attached headphones for personal viewing.
The exhibit quotes the British novelist, poet and playwright, Doris Lessing, with her words, “With a library you are free, not confined by temporary political climates. It is the most democratic of institutions because no one – but no one at all – can tell you what to read and when and how.” Curated by Jocelyn Spaar and Sarah Watson, Elective Affinities: A Library offers just that. The installation will be on view to April 9th, located at 205 Hudson Street.
6. Muslims in New York Opens at the Museum of the City of New York
Mel Rosenthal, Halal Food Stand, ca. 2001. Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York and the photographer
With its finger on the pulse of this city, The Museum of the City of New York, presents a new exhibit this month entitled, Muslim in New York: Highlights from the Photography Collection. The exhibit details the timeline, from the first known Muslim resident arriving in New York in 1660, through the arrival of Muslims by slave trade in the 17th and 18th century, on to World Wars I and II. They are estimated to be 3% of our city’s population today.
The exhibit features 34 images by four photographers who have documented Muslim New Yorkers from the 1940s to the present day, highlighting the rich ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds, including Arabs, African-Americans, and a growing Latino Muslim community. The exhibit Muslim in New York: Highlights from the Photography Collection will be on view through July 30, 2017 at the Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street.
5. Artist Residency: Laboratory For Freedoms at MoMA PS1
Art has historically been a form of expression, and a way to engage political debate. In keeping with, and expanding on that legacy, artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman created the first artist-run political action committee (PAC), For Freedoms. This non-partisan PAC invites artists to create advertisements, exhibitions, and public meetings across the country, claiming political space for art. The object is to encourage discussions of core democratic values, as oppose to campaigning against specific candidates.
MoMA PS1 will host For Freedoms for an artist residency during the first 100 days of the new presidential administration. As part of Sunday Sessions, For Freedoms will present a live program related to using art to inspire deeper political engagement. Artist Residency: Laboratory for Freedoms will be on view to April 29, 2017 at MoMA PS1, an affiliate of The Museum of Modern Art, 22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City.
4. Counter-Couture Opens at Museum of Arts and Design
Counter-Couture: Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture will open at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) on March 2nd, taking us back to a time of alternative lifestyles and an anti-materialistic/anti-consumeristic movement during the Vietnam war and the Civil Rights Movement. The exhibit includes embroidery, quilting, patch-work, and tie-dye (still in our closets), along with jewelry and accessories created by a generation fighting for change, and shunning the cultural standards.
Counter-Couture: Handmade Fashion in an American Counterculture is part of The Art and Craft of Getting Dressed, a series of three exhibitions at MAD this spring, highlighting how fashion serves as a platform of expression for artists and designers. The exhibit will be on view to August 20, 2017 at The Museum of Arts and Design, 2 Columbus Circle at 59th Street. Related events on March 2nd include a panel discussion and exhibition tour.
3. Alien Afterlife on the Lower East Side
Alien Afterlife by Jeremy Couillard on view at Yours Mine & Ours
Alien Afterlife has descended upon the gallery, Yours Mind & Ours. Arriving at the tiny gallery, viewers are greeted by a couch and video game control pad, and are irresistibly drawn to sit down and play. Now firmly engaged in a world of fantasy, the player becomes intent on staying safe in this new & unpredictable world, knowing that “on Tuesday, we have to go to Costco to save the Universe.”
Parts of this video game were commissioned by the New Museum and Rhizome. Elements from the game space are features throughout the gallery in the form of furniture, rugs and bongs, adding to a feel of being inside the Alien Afterlife game world. Down the blue-lit staircase, in the basement, you will find two blogging aliens seated in front of their computers. Viewers are invited to join in on the Alien chat from home. Alien Afterlife is the creation of Jeremy Couillard, and will be on view until April 2, 2017 at Yours Mind & Ours Gallery, 54 Eldridge Street.
2. Small Wonders on Display at Met Cloisters
This season, The Met Cloisters Glass Gallery will present a new exhibit of small wonders. Aptly entitled, Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures, the pieces were created out of slow-growing evergreens in the Netherlands in the 16th century. Techniques for creating such intricate works are included in this exhibit in a video documentary, and a display of a disassembled prayer bead. The documentation is through a recent collaborative study by conservators at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Gallery of Ontario. The exhibit will include a complete carved boxwood rosary made for King Henry VII of England, a miniature altarpiece from the early 16th century, and a depiction of the life of Saint Margaret prior to c. 1524.
Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures, with related programming will be on view until May 21, 2017. On Sunday, March 26 at 1 pm, The Boston Camerata will perform Miracles in Miniature: songs of Personal Devotion 1500-1540. Check website for ticket information. The Met Cloisters is located at 99 Margaret Corbin Drive in Fort Tryon Park.
1. Armory Arts Week
Here’s a guide to Armory Arts week in New York City this year:
The Armory Show: With 250,000 square feet of exhibition space, this year The Armory Show will debut two new curated sections. Platform, curated by Eric Shiner, which will be a new exhibitor section of 13 large-scale artworks spread across the fair’s exhibition space, allowing galleries the opportunity to extend beyond a traditional booth. Focus, curated by Jarrett Gregory, features twelve artists tackling urgent social and political topics. The Armory Show, which was founded in 1994, will take place from March 2-5, featuring 210 international galleries, from 30 countries, showcasing 20th and 21st century artworks. This year, the fair’s redesigned floor plan will host five distinct exhibitor sections across two piers. The Armory Show is located on Piers 92 & 94, 711 12th Avenue at 55th Street.
NADA New York: The New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) is in its sixth edition, and will run from March 2-5. The non-profit organization NADA is dedicated to cultivating, supporting and advancing new voices in contemporary art. The fair will include NADA Presents in collaboration with Kickstarter, which will be a series of conversations, performances, and events along with Kickstarter projects from artists and cultural institutions that will inspire the public to get involved. 50% of proceeds raised from NADA New York ticket sales will be donated to the ACLU. NADA New York is located at Skylight Clarkson North, 572 Washington Street. Complimentary shuttles will run each day of the fair between NADA New York and Pier 94.
Scope New York: The 17th edition of Scope New York will be held from March 2-5 at a new Chelsea location at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street. With a focus on showcasing international emerging contemporary art, Scope will host 60 international galleries, with related performances, and talks.
Spring/Break Art Show: In a new location at 4 times Square, Spring/Break Art Show will run from March 1-6. The theme for 2017 will be Black Mirror, and will explore the artists’ identity within their work as an aesthetic reflection. More than 150 curators will premiere new artworks created by over 400 artists. Chashama, with five Chashama studio artists in this show, is this year’s Cultural Arts Organization Beneficiary, partnering with Artsy and the founders of Spring/Break, The They Co. All proceeds from the Artsy Benefit Auction will go towards Chashama.
VOLTA NY: A fair “by galleries, for galleries.” This year, VOLTA NY is celebrating ten years of solo focus and will present 96 galleries and artist-run spaces from 38 nations. VOLTA NY will include related programing such as The Volta Salon with Artnet, Shoot to Thrill: Picturing Identity in New York, 1977 – Now, and other topics. The fair will run from March 1-5, located on Pier 90, West 50th Street at 12th Avenue. Direct shuttles from The Armory Show at Pier 94 to Pier 90.
Independent: Now in its eight edition, Independent New York will host 48 exhibitors from 19 cities around the world. The show will run from March 2-5 and includes several well-known New York galleries including Gavin Brown’s Enterprise and Elizabeth Dee Gallery. Independent is located at Spring Studios Tribeca, 50 Varick Street
Art on Paper: Now in its third edition, Art on Paper will present paper-based art from seventy-five international galleries. This will include sculpture, drawing, painting, and photography. The show will run from March 2-5, returning to Pier 36 located at 299 South Street.
Pulse will not be in Armory Week New York this year, turning their attention instead to exhibiting at Art Basel Miami in December.
There’s still time to celebrate Black History Month, and the Black Power! exhibit at The Schomburg. Several of our February Art Installations are still on view. You can contact the author at AFineLyne.