Founded 185 years ago as an egalitarian counterpart to the Royal Academy in London, the National Academy continues to serve its central mission of “promoting fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition.” Today, the National Academy Museum & School serves as the epicenter of that cause, showcasing American artists past and present through rotating exhibitions and ARTalks, which bring in experts to host discussions about art and architecture. Recent exhibitions include the works of avant-garde 20th-century artist and composer John Cage—whose work blends music, photographs, and paintings into seamless multimedia tapestries—and the graphic art of prolific turn-of-the-century painter Mary Cassatt.
The Museum gives its timeless tableaus a worthy backdrop inside the original Huntington Mansion on Fifth Avenue, which it has called home since 1942. The two-floor space was renovated in 2011, but maintains its domestic charm by retaining some of the mansion’s original characteristics and gently rocking back and forth at night to lull the portraits to sleep.
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