Once every three years, the curators at New York's International Center of Photography set out on a mission to encapsulate the world. They scour every corner of the globe to collect the most interesting video and photography. The end result is an exhibit that reveals the Earth at present—its economic conditions, political instabilities, and social mores. The museum's other gallery spaces surround their visitors in works from the 19th century to modern day, offering windows into every era since Santa invented cameras as a new Christmas toy. These ever-changing exhibits showcase everything from evolving fashions to countries in the midst of full-blown revolution.
Hidden behind theses photographs' imagery, lies the minds of brilliant visual artists. Some of these masters speak at the The Photographers Lecture Series, a staple of the museum's research center since 1974. During these events, distinguished photographers discuss their work and how photography fits into the worlds of art, fashion, and journalism. The ICP's Library delves into these worlds even further with thousands of photobooks, periodicals, and digital files.
ICP's faculty also nurtures emerging artists. Together, they lead more than 400 continuing education courses, exploring areas such as digital photography and video. And for the most serious students, they offer a one-year certificate program and an MFA program.
Housed within a complex designed to resemble a mountainside monastery, the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art immerses visitors within an environment intended to foster a widespread appreciation for the artistic and cultural creations of the Himalayan peoples. The fieldstone buildings were inspired by photographs of the Potala Palace?the historic seat of the Dalai Lamas?and the surrounding landscape features terraced gardens, lotus and goldfish ponds, and secluded nooks for meditation or high-stakes staring competitions. This connection to Himalayan architecture is also apparent in the structures' architectural details, such as a flat roof crowned with a four-sided pagoda, the trapezoidal windows, and the slate-capped doorways. When taken together, all of these architectural and landscaping features allow visitors to lose themselves in the setting while viewing the collection of artwork and culturally relevant artifacts.
The museum's permanent collection focuses on rare and sacred pieces from Tibet and nations influenced by Tibetan Buddhism, such as Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia, and northern China. Featuring works from the 12th?20th centuries, this selection includes everything from bronze sculptures and silk-backed scroll paintings to furniture, photographs, and ritualistic objects. Allowing guests to view these items is only one aspect of the museum's mission though. Additionally, the staff members encourage visitors to engage with Himalayan culture by participating in tai chi and guided-meditation classes that the instructors lead on select days.
In 1929, three highly regarded patrons of the arts joined forces to found an institution that would break away from the conservative archetype of an art museum. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Lillie P. Bliss, and Mary Quinn Sullivan could hardly have guessed that their mutual brainchild—The Museum of Modern Art, or MoMa—would someday transform into an archetype all its own. The museum’s original director, Alfred H. Barr Jr., moved to create the first-ever multidepartmental structure, with various departments devoted to architecture and design, film and video, and photography. These were in addition to the standard painting, sculpture, and visual-arts exhibits found in nearly every other museum to date. The public's response was overwhelmingly positive. After outgrowing two spaces, MoMA moved to its Midtown location, where it stands to this day. MoMA's initial gift of eight prints and one drawing has exploded to encompass a collection of more than 150,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photos, and design pieces. This collection continues to offer a wide-angle view into modern art and has spilled over into a massive library that houses more than 300,000 volumes. Every day, art lovers from around the world make their way through the museum’s structure, stopping at galleries that house iconic works by Picasso, Bourgeois, Warhol, Rauschenberg, and others. A constant influx of exhibitions keeps MoMA's many walls alive in the spirit of its progressive founders.
There are many ways to look at a city. One can get a view of it while walking down its avenues, flying through its airspace, or gazing from afar at its distinctive skyline, an unmistakable fingerprint. The curators of The Skyscraper Museum, however, view New York through its history, exploring the personalities that shaped the skyline along with the stories of the buildings themselves. Their exhibits delve deep into these stories, examining, for instance, the economic circumstances and technological advances which allowed the Woolworth Building—sometimes called the "Cathedral of Commerce"—to sprout from New York's fertile pavement.
Even the very bones of the museum support its subject, with displays set into stacked cases that rise from floor to ceiling. The stainless steel ceiling and floor extend the verticality, making guests feel as if they're striding through the skyline of a city as giants, caught between the perspective of man and skyscraper. The narrow passageways of the museum feature long strips of lighting, the stacked panels along the walls and streaks of light creating the sensation of driving down a bustling boulevard at night.
Housed in a former speakeasy, the Museum of the American Gangster isn’t obvious on a casual stroll down St. Mark’s Place. If visitors know to look for number 80, though, they pass through a black gate and up a flight of stairs, where a plethora of artifacts and exhibits awaits. The museum focuses on American organized crime through the decades, which includes profiling mob bosses, Prohibition-era gangsters, serial bank robbers, and dastardly Scooby-Doo villains. The New York Times praised co-owner and tour guide Lorcan Otway as "so encyclopedic that touring the rooms takes an hour," as he expounds upon America's unique relationship with hedonism and straight-laced morality. In the Wall Street Journal, correspondent Alexandra Cheney mentions noteworthy finds including the museum's genuine Tommy guns, vintage whiskey bottles, and old copper stills.
Standing at the intersection of contemporary art and design, The Museum of Arts and Design explores the way that artists and designers from around the world translate ideas in masterpieces that range from traditional to bleeding-edge. At its stunning Columbus Circle headquarters, visitors marvel at its glass-and-terracotta exterior before exploring a rotating collection that ranges from jewelry and delicate glass works to ceramics to architectural designs and furniture. This meshing of masterpieces has attracted more than a million visitors to the museum since it opened in 2008. The jewelry collection illustrates the transformation that took place in the world of studio jewelry from post–World War II to today, while woodwork by generations of well-known artists charts the evolution from handcarved pieces to astonishing works of machine-aided art. Other rotating exhibits the museum hosts explore topics such as glassworking, scent, and sculpture.