If you’re looking for ways to spend your holiday days off, there are some fantastic museum shows currently open in New York. And, you can walk around museums without gloves on.
Messerschmidt is one of my favorite artists. He’s an eighteenth-century sculptor known for his wildly expressive and gorgeously rendered faces. I swear, you’ll love his work. Stop by Neue’s Café Sabarsky after for some spätzle or schnitzel-yum! (Closes January 10, 1048 Fifth Avenue at 86th Street, 11am-6pm, open Thursday-Monday)
I loved this show! Much of the work is housed within wooden constructions that recall children’s playhouses and shantytowns. Some are used to frame the work and keep visitors at a distance, while others invite you to explore their weird little magical interiors. Nara is a contemporary Japanese artist who draws on anime and rock-n-roll. (Closes January 2, 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street, 11am-6pm, closed Mondays)
Baldessari is a hugely influential conceptual artist, and this is a fantastic retrospective. In addition to more recent work, it includes tons of early pieces, from the 1950s and early 60s, that are funny, thought provoking, disturbing, and quirky. (Closes January 9, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, 9:30am-5:30pm, open Friday and Saturday evenings until 9pm, closed Mondays)
And while you’re at the Met, you must stop by to see the amazing installation in the one-room space for temporary contemporary shows. Sigurdardottir has copied one of the Met’s petit eighteenth-century salons, complete with carved boiserie and furniture, in exquisite detail—with one bold exception: everything is white. The purity of the palette emphasizes both the craftsmanship of the original and the extraordinary details of the reproduction. The jewel box of a room is visible through a series of one-way mirrors. (Closes March 6, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, 9:30am-5:30pm, open Friday and Saturday evenings until 9pm, closed Mondays)
Related, yet totally different, is Peter Greenaway’s installation at the Park Avenue Armory. I haven’t seen it yet, but it sounds amazing. He has recreated the dome of the Refectory of Santa Maria Delle Grazie in Milan, where Leonardo’s The Last Supper was first on view, and brought it to life with a theatrical light and sound show. (Closes January 6, 643 Park Avenue between 66th and 67th Streets, 11am-8pm, showings are on the hour starting at noon, see website for details, closed Mondays)
This blockbuster is a must see, showing treasures from MoMA’s 1940s and 50s AbEx collection, some of which are rarely on view, including work by Pollack, de Kooning, and Rothko. One of the things I love about the New York Abstract Expressionists is that they were probably the last generation of macho artists who approached art making without irony. (Closes April 25, 11 West 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, 10:30am-5:30pm, open until 8pm on Friday evenings, closed Tuesdays)