The Central Park, the Empire state building, the High line, the Statue of Liberty, the Broadway, Manhattan …oh so many things and places to praise New York City for! It is almost impossible to imagine the energy with which a city with such treasures would operate daily, almost making every other city envy its charming character. It wouldn’t be surprising therefore for the city to boast of some of the most spectacular art collections in the world.
Yes, that’s correct, for those looking out to visit museums in particular New York is like an endless ocean. With entire districts being dedicated to art and clusters of art galleries taking shape in whichever corner of the city New York may have an incredible set of galleries and museums to choose from.
From Renaissance art to contemporary, to modern, to folk, to media and film to history and science….there is something for everyone to enjoy. Listed below are some of the most popular and influential art galleries of New York City.
1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Location: 1000 Fifth Avenue New York City
Architectural Style: Beaux-Arts
Architect: Richard Morris Hunt, Calvert Vaux, Jacob Wrey Mould
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the most celebrated museums in New York. With over 7 million visitors annually the MET is the largest museum in New York and is the fourth most visited museum in the world. It was opened in the year 1870 to serve as a library and impart art education to the masses and has since grown to become a conservatory to some of the most exquisite and comprehensive works of master artists from across the globe.
Ranging from impressionist and post-impressionist artists’ works to elaborate collections of sculptures, to the more modern- and current-day contemporary works of art there is something for everyone to enjoy.
2. MoMA- The Museum of Modern Art
Location: Midtown Manhattan, New York City, on 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
Architectural Style: International style-Internationalism-Modern/Modernism/Contemporary
Architect: Yoshio Taniguchi, Philip Goodwin, Edward Durell Stone, Philip Johnson
Established in 1929 the MoMA is yet another hotspot in New York City for art enthusiasts. Deemed to be one of the most influential collectors of modern art in the world the MoMA is one of the largest museums that showcases modern and contemporary artworks—ones that fall under the progressive artworks category.
It was one of the first museums to include collections in architecture, industrial design, photography, and motion pictures apart from sculptures, paintings, and other graphics arts works.
3. The Met Cloisters
Location: Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights, Manhattan.
Architectural Style: Romanesque-Medieval Architecture.
Architect: Charles Collins
A quiet escape from the chaos of the city into a serene paradise of gardens. That is exactly what the MET cloisters are all about. Set up as a branch of the MET, the MET cloisters or simply the cloisters is a museum that specializes in showcasing medieval art and architecture, in particular the art and architecture of the Romanesque and Gothic eras.
The buildings that house the museum are traditional cloisters that were brought from Europe to New York in the 1930s by American Sculptor and art dealer George Grey Bernard. The cloisters are home to nearly 5000 works of art and architecture with a majority of them dating from the Byzantine and early Renaissance periods.
4. MoMA PS1(Public School One)
Location: Long Island City neighborhood in the borough of Queens, New York City.
Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival style + Modern Architecture
Architect: Andrew Berman
What is known today as the MoMA PS1, was founded in 1971 by Alanna Heiss. It was set up in an attempt to turn abandoned and underutilized buildings into studios and gallery spaces for contemporary artists.
Back then it was called the Institute for Art and Urban Resources Inc. and operated out of an abandoned Romanesque Revival style Public School building from which it now gets its name MoMA PS1-Public School One. It was only in the year 2000 that it was formally affiliated to the MoMA and has since grown to be one of the most influential spaces for contemporary art and artists alike.
5. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Location: Long Island City neighborhood in the borough of Queens, New York City
Architectural Style: Modernism
Architect: Frank Llyod Wright
This Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is best known to be an architectural masterpiece and is undoubtedly one of the most popular museums of the city.
In this museum, one may find collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, early modern, and contemporary artworks with the exhibition spaces and display galleries winding themselves along and around a central spiral ramp—the nautilus shell, one of the defining features of the museum. Its proximity to Central Park makes it all the more convenient to visit making it a star attraction of the city.
6. Whitney Museum of American Art
Location: 99 Gansevoort Street; Situated between the High Line and the Hudson River
Architectural Style: Modern Architecture
Architect: Renzo Piano
Originally the museum was located at 945 Madison Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and only recently, in the year 2015 did it get relocated to its current location which also acts as the southern entrance to the famous High line.
The new Renzo Piano-designed building as it stands today houses contemporary artworks of the 20th and 21st century serving as a magnet attracting all art lovers to its charming new design with larger gallery and exhibition spaces overlooking the Hudson River on the West.
7. New Museum
Location: 235 Bowery between Stanton and Rivington Streets, at the origin of Prince Street in New York City, Lower Manhattan.
Architectural Style: Modern Architecture
Architect: Tokyo-based Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa-SANAA
If you want to catch the latest developments in art and see works of new and upcoming artists the New Museum is the place to visit. The brainchild of Marcia Tucker, the museum shifted locations between 1977 and 2007 and now finds itself stationed in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
What looks like a composition of white cubes is a building designed by Tokyo-based architectural firm SANAA and is now in the process of receiving an extension—a design by OMA thereby expanding its gallery and exhibition spaces.
8. American Museum of Natural History
Location: 200 Central Park West, New York
Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival architecture
Architect: Calvert Vaux and J. Wrey Mould
Founded in 1869 the American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s largest and most popular natural history museums. It is a host to some of the most elaborate presentations on human cultures, evolution, specimens of fossils, plants, animals, and many more.
Spanning across 30000 sq.m of exhibition space the museum is quite popular among the science buffs and has even made appearances in many Hollywood films. The museum also houses a library and planetarium and is sure to satisfy the science and history buff in you.
9. The Frick Collection
Location: Henry Clay Frick House on the Upper East Side in Manhattan
Architectural Style: Beaux-Arts
Architect: Thomas Hastings and Selldorf Architects
Named after its founder Henry Clay Frick, the Frick collection features artworks such as sculptures, painting, and decorative arts from Henry Frick’s personal collection of art works from the ninth to the nineteenth century and continues to acquire and present art works in allied fields.
Globally popular as a museum and research center, the museum opened in 1935 and has been operating in Henry Frick’s former mansion which was converted, after his death, to house the museum and has had additions such as library facilities and expanded gallery spaces.
10. Brooklyn Museum
Location: 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn
Architectural Style: Neo-Classical Revival style
Architect: McKim, Mead, and White
The Brooklyn Museum in New York’s third-largest museum housing over 1.5 million artworks. It is known for its collection of antiquities spread across 3000 years. A popular feature of the museum is the “Memorial Sculpture Garden” which houses salvaged architectural elements from New York City.