Explore New York City

Cool Museum Exhibits to See This Winter in NYC

While most entertainment is shut down, museums provide a welcome diversion that’s both socially distanced and enlightening.

Outdoor Exhibitions

Two museums in the Bronx and Manhattan invite you to view their current feature installation from outdoors. There’s no admission charge, and you can spend as much time as you’d like pondering at any hour.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts

"SeeMeBronx" - through May 24

Celebrating the Bronx Museum's 50th anniversary, #SeeMeBronx is an interactive project about visibility, intersectionality and identity. Visitor participation is encouraged and all you need to do is write a question about any of the three topics on a sign and take a selfie of yourself with it. You then post your selfie and tag @bronxmuseum with the hashtag #seemebronx. The Museum creates a changing selection of submissions, which are then included in the installation on the outside of the museum.

Celebrating the Bronx Museum's 50th anniversary, #SeeMeBronx is an interactive project about visibility, intersectionality and identity | WhereTraveler
(Courtesy Bronx Museum of the Arts)

The Jewish Museum

“All the Stars in the Sky Have the Same Face” - through February

On the Jewish Museum’s Fifth Avenue façade, you’ll see the building-wide banner “All the Stars in the Sky Have the Same Face” by New York City artist Lawrence Weiner. The two-story red, white and blue banner imparts a plea for shared humanity. The banner was born out of Weiner’s many years of reading messages on walls all over New York and he views these walls, like the walls of the museum, as a canvas for communicating important messages. The sentence itself derives from a Yiddish saying that Weiner has reconceived in response to anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism, writing the words in English, Hebrew and Arabic to emphasize inclusiveness. Catch these four exhibits before they end. Some require timed entrance so check the museum's website for additional instruction.

On the Jewish Museum’s Fifth Avenue façade, you’ll see the building-wide banner “All the Stars in the Sky Have the Same Face” by New York City artist Lawrence Weiner | WhereTraveler
(©Liz Ligon)

Indoor Exhibitions

While the Met, MoMA and Whitney have outdoor spaces to enjoy, the exhibits listed below are all indoors and require tickets in person or reservations online. Check the websites for specific instructions.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

“About Time: Fashion and Duration” - through February 7

In a sleek serpentine display of black silhouettes, mirrors and a pendulum that ticks off the years and moments of a timeline, two rooms of paired designs show the influence of past creations on later ones. The Costume Institute at the Met's "About Time: Fashion and Duration" retrospective displays all creations in black to emphasize comparability. Contrasts in shape, material and decoration are discussed with many earlier designs looking as fresh as their more recent counterparts. Designers include Cristóbal Balenciaga, Gabrielle Chanel, Christian Dior, Tom Ford, Hubert de Givenchy, Christian Dior, Gabrielle Chanel, Alexander McQueen and other fashion-world cognoscenti. Timed tickets are required, and tickets are limited.

The Costume Institute at the Met's "About Time: Fashion and Duration" retrospective displays all creations in black to emphasize comparability | WhereTraveler
(©Meryl Pearlstein)

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

“Countryside, The Future” - through February 15

Heavy on text and environmental and cultural references, “Countryside, The Future” lines the entire spiral of the Guggenheim, focusing on differences and changes in city and country living over the years. Even more relevant today than when the exhibit first opened in February 2020 (and then closed due to the pandemic), the contrasts of country concerns with the problems of the urban life spark a growing contemplation of our current situation. Whereas the movement to the country might have seemed to be gradual and remote, isolationist, or perhaps more of an environmental or political reactiveness last year, the outflow now holds extended relevance and invites closer reading of the dense texts that discuss the forces, ecosystems and other motivators to the present. The exhibit was organized by Dutch architect and theorist Rem Koolhaas with a team of researchers and was five years in the making.

Heavy on text and environmental and cultural references, “Countryside, The Future” lines the entire spiral of the Guggenheim | WhereTraveler
(©Meryl Pearlstein)

MoMA The Museum of Modern Art

“Handles” - through February

Handles,” a site-specific commission by Korean artist Haegue Yang for MoMA’s Marron Atrium, features six sculptures with a variety of geometries that combine with light and sound. As conceived by Yang, Handles are points of attachment and material catalysts for movement and change. Some clearly represent door handles, some move with tones of bells or rattles. A subtle background of bird sounds recorded in the DMZ between North and South Korea during the 2018 summit adds a haunting soundtrack. The effect is a sensory experience with mixed-in historical references.

“Handles,” a site-specific commission by Korean artist Haegue Yang for MoMA’s Marron Atrium, features six sculptures with a variety of geometries that combine with light and sound | WhereTraveler
(©Meryl Pearlstein)

Whitney Museum of American Arts

“Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925-1945” - through January 31

A striking exhibit of three Mexican muralists alongside their American contemporaries, “Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925-1945” presents approximately 200 works by 60 artists at the Whitney. Pieces by Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros acknowledge the influence of these painters on art in the United States during the twenty-year period. Of particular note is the reproduction of Diego Rivera’s controversial mural “Man at the Crossroads” removed from Rockefeller Center due to the inclusion of Vladimir Lenin. Also mounted are never-before-shown sketches of this giant mural.

Virtual Visits

Much like the city that never sleeps, online never sleeps either so you can tour these museums virtually as well.

Google Arts & Culture

This non-profit initiative by Google Arts & Culture is a compendium of virtual tours and cultural institutions around the world available 24/7.