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Best art exhibits to see at NYC museums in the new year

From Frida Kahlo to Mickey Mouse, there’s much to be seen in 2019 at the city’s many museums.

New York City's museums, including the Metropolitan Museum

New York City's museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, have exciting programming set for 2019. Photo Credit: iStock

New York City museums are planning to kick off 2019 with exciting programming and exhibitions on popular literature and feminism, dog art, the impact of jewelry on society, the representation of black models in art and much more:

'Everything is Connected: Art and Conspiracy'
The Met Breuer
Through Jan. 6

This timely exhibit features 70 works — half done by those who believed the public’s version of events at face value and the other half made by people who bought into conspiracy theories. The works, which range from painting and sculpture to photography, video and installations from 1969 to 2016, reveal uncomfortable truths about society, no matter which side they represent.

'Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography'
El Museo del Barrio
Through Jan. 6

See urban life through the lenses of 10 photographers who captured city residents and their decaying Latino neighborhoods, including photos of the South Bronx, East Los Angeles and others. 

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Through Jan. 6

This exhibition of the 19th-century French painter — the first major North American retrospective of his art — set attendance records at the Louvre in Paris.

The Met Fifth Avenue
Through Jan. 13

The first major exhibition displaying art and culture by the Armenian people over 14 centuries is coming to The Met. With about 140 objects, including gilded items, illuminated manuscripts, textiles, cross stones, printed books and more, the new exhibit shows how the Armenians made Christianity their own, which connected their widespread communities, according to The Met. Just about every item in the exhibit is on display in the U.S. for the first time.

'Focus: Wiener Werkstätte Jewelry'
Neue Galerie
Through Jan. 21

Compared to Gustav Klimt’s paintings, these tiny jeweled treasures by Viennese Workshops in the 19th and 20th centuries are a sight to behold. In their day, the jewelry (brooches among them) were some of the most coveted pieces produced by the Wiener Werkstätte. This collection features the highest quality and most rare pieces.

'Harry Potter: A History of Magic'
New-York Historical Society
Through Jan. 27

Created along with the British Library, this celebration of the 20th anniversary of the U.S. debut of the boy wizard includes original drafts and drawings by real-world sorcerer J.K. Rowling, along with an array of the historical drawings, documents and works that inspired the author, including those of Leonardo da Vinci and Nicholas Flamel.

'Billie Jean King: The Road to 75'
New-York Historical Society
Through Jan. 27

King turned 75 last month, and the New-York Historical Society is celebrating that milestone with a photography exhibit that highlights her remarkable life. Among the exhibit's 75 photos, there are images of King’s grand entrance into the Houston Astrodome for the 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match against Bobby Riggs; testifying before the U.S. Senate; and as Grand Marshal for the NYC Pride March earlier this year.

'Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power'
Brooklyn Museum
Through Feb. 3

More than 60 black artists’ work from 1963 to 1983 show how political and social upheaval dominated the national discussion.

'Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future'
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Through Feb. 3

Swedish artist Hilma af Klint was ahead of her time — her art was bold, colorful and quite abstract, and it was only 1906 when she began. Klint barely exhibited her work and asked that it only be shown 20 years following her death. Starting in 1986, her work began gaining attention and only now is she getting her first major solo exhibition in the U.S.

'Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today'
Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University
Through Feb. 10

An exploration of how the depiction of black models in art, specifically black women, changed in the context of societal changes with respect to racial, social and political thought.

'Mickey: The True Original Exhibition'
60 10th Ave.
Through Feb. 10

This museum is perfect for Disney fans who want to revel in all things Mickey Mouse across 16,000 square feet, starting with a large-format video introduction setting Mickey to contemporary music with a really good beat. More than two dozen artists have taken Mickey or his elements — the gloves, the yellow shoes and his three-circle silhouette — and used them in new ways to pay homage to the character. There are several interactive pieces to the exhibit as well, including "Steamboat Willie Redux," a compilation of about 50 artists' takes on the short with each of the 35 scenes taking on a different animation style, from stop-motion to computer-generated animation.

'Jewelry: The Body Transformed'
The Met Fifth Avenue
Through Feb. 24

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but why? This exhibit will gather 230 pieces of jewelry and ornamental objects from The Met’s collection in order to tell a global story of how we as humans have used them to transform ourselves throughout history.

'In the Dugout with Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait of a Baseball Legend'
Museum of the City of New York
Jan. 31 — Feb. 28

In celebration of Jackie Robinson's 100th birthday, MCNY is opening a photography exhibit all about Robinson — the first African-American to play Major League Baseball. The collection of 32 photographs (most of them never published), features pictures taken for Look magazine, rare home movies and memorabilia related to his career. The exhibition is being done in collaboration with the Jackie Robinson Foundation, which is launching a Jackie Robinson Museum in December 2019.

'Martha Rosler: Irrespective'
The Jewish Museum
Through March 3

See more than five decades of Rosler's work, from installations and photography to sculpture and video, that touch on and confront political matters of her time including gender roles, war, gentrification, inequality and labor. Her work is known for its intellectual rigor and sharp wit, according to the museum. 

'Half the Picture: A Feminist Look at the Collection'
Brooklyn Museum
through March 31

Feminist artists speak their truths through more than 100 works that touch on political and social issues, including those from Guerrilla Girls, Wendy Red Star, Andy Warhol and Beverly Buchanan. The works are said to be “radical and inspiring” because they advocate for their creators’ beliefs, communities and hopes for equality amid opposition.

'Andy Warhol — From A to B and Back Again'
Whitney Museum of American Art
Through March 31

A major retrospective of the American icon, the first in the U.S. since 1989, is also the largest single-artist exhibit at the Whitney’s new location.

'Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis'
Museum of the City of New York
Through April 28

All those germs you imagine living on the subway cars are real. The MCNY is taking a look at infectious diseases and the city’s history in dealing with germs in this new exhibit. Follow the story of “Typhoid Mary,” learn how the flu decreased the city’s population in 1918, see what an iron lung really looks like and view art from Blast Theory, Mariam Ghani and others. The museum will host a number of events, including a trip to Roosevelt Island (formerly Welfare Island) ... just in time for flu season.

'Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving'
Brooklyn Museum
Feb. 8 — May 12

See Kahlo's personal items, including jewelry, clothing and prosthetics, which will be on display in the U.S. for the first time. Several paintings by the iconic Mexican artist such as “Self-Portrait with Necklace” (1933), “Self-Portrait with Braid” (1941), and “Self-Portrait as a Tehuana, Diego on My Mind” (1943) will also be highlighted. 

'Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth'
The Morgan Library & Museum
Jan. 25 — May 12

J.R.R. Tolkien's legacy and his tales of hobbits and elves will be celebrated in an exhibit all about the man and his creation. The most extensive public display of original material, the collection features Tolkien's illustrations, maps, draft manuscripts and designs related to "The Hobbit," "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Silmarillion." 

'The Coen Brothers Go West: Costume Design for ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs'
Museum of the Moving Image
Through May 26

Dedicated to the creations of costume designer Mary Zophres, “The Coen Brothers Go West: Costume Design for ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ ” showcases 16 ensembles, along with costume boards and hair pieces from the film.

'A City for Corduroy: Don Freeman's New York'
Museum of the City of New York
Through June 23

This exhibit provides a sweeping look at Don Freeman's life work in three sections, "City Life," "Stage Life" and "Corduroy and Friends." The author wrote 40 books that included characters who lived and worked at well-known landmarks, including Norman the Doorman, a mouse who stands sentry at the art museum; Hattie, the backstage bat who lived at the Lyceum Theatre; and Maestro Petrini, the mouse who works at the Metropolitan Opera. But Corduroy, the stuffed bear in need of a button for his green overalls, is the most beloved.

'History Through Art — An Exhibition of 35 Years of Courtroom Art'
Moynihan U.S. Courthouse

More than 100 images from three longtime courtroom artists, Elizabeth Williams, Jane Rosenberg and Aggie Kenny, are displayed in the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse at 500 Pearl St. The drawings feature criminals, terrorists, lawsuits and the occasional Statue of Liberty climber, John Gotti Jr., Congressman Anthony Weiner, Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, household doyenne Martha Stewart, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Rolling Stone Mick Jagger, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, and most recently, Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen. 

Museum of the Dog
101 Park Ave.
Opens mid-January

An entire art museum dedicated to dogs is coming to Manhattan with a large, two-floor collection of paintings, figurines, sculptures and rare pieces) from famous dog artists, including Sir Edwin Landseer, Maud Earl and others. There will also be interactive exhibits, like a "Find Your Match" kiosk that takes your photo and pulls up the AKC-registered dog breed that is most like you and a "Meet the Breeds" touch screen where you can explore different breeds' features, traits and histories.


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