Got family in town? Show them some New York culture
New York is rightly renowned for its easy access to high culture, but sometimes it takes the kick in the pants of visiting family and friends for natives to go see some of it.
This holiday season, there are plenty of exhibits on view that should awe your relatives and expand your own mind as well.
“John Baldessari: Pure Beauty”“Underground Gallery: London Transport Posters 1920-1940”
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, through Jan. 9
This thorough retrospective showcases Baldessari’s cheeky photo collages and other multimedia works. Though the show can get academic at points, most of his work is a lot of fun. (If you’re so inclined, swing by the Neapolitan Baroque Crèche on your way out.)
MoMA, through Jan. 10
For the friend who has a framed copy of “Keep Calm, Carry On.” The attention paid to the typography and design of public British posters after WWI elevated the medium to an art form.
Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy and Germany, 1918-1936
Solomon L. Guggenheim Museum, through Jan. 9
Focusing on the aesthetic movement toward simplicity and order in central Europe following WWI, this exhibit is easy to digest, but no less powerful. The work on view is crisp, clean and compelling.
“Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera”
Brooklyn Museum, through April 10
Another crowd-pleaser, this retrospective examines the working process of the beloved American institution that is Norman Rockwell. Ignore that little voice that’s telling you, ‘this is going to be cheesy,’ and enjoy these images of simpler times.
“³Houdini: Art and Magic”
The Jewish Museum, through March 27
Houdini fanatics will absolutely not want to miss out, but this collection of posters, photographs and more holds appeal for general audiences as well.
“³Patrick Jouin: Design and Gesture”
Museum of Arts and Design, through Feb. 6
Before starting his own product design studio, Patrick Jouin worked for fellow Frenchman Philippe Starck. The pieces on view here are accompanied by a panoramic movie that explore how an object’s form affects its use.
“Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody’s Fool”
Asia Society, through Jan. 2
You’d have to be heartless not to love the impish characters that populate Yoshitomo Nara¹s wonderful illustrations. The Japanese artist keeps the spirit of childhood alive.
“The Talent Show”
PS1, Dec. 12 through April 4.
Inspired by reality television and social networking, this group show features works that explore the ‘tensions between exhibitionism and voyerism,’ according to the museum’s press release.
“Charles LeDray,” et al.
Whitney Museum of American Art
“Something for everyone” is cliché, but the Whitney does have many excellent exhibitions mounted right now. “Charles LeDray: Workworkworkworkwork” (through Feb. 13) has modern sculptures made from everyday objects, and “Lee Friedlander: America By Car” (through Nov. 28) provides a captivating snapshot of life in America through Friedlander’s photography. Also showing are “Paul Thek: Diver, A Retrospective,” “Slater Bradley and Ed Lachman: Shadow” and “Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time.”