Installation Inspiration: New York Museums and Galleries
Finding your own New York sense of style requires stimulation.
Where better for creative stimulation in New York City than walking among the most cutting-edge aesthetic and design installations? The city is a hub for some of the world’s best museums, but not all of them are in plain sight. Avoid the usual recommendations and start your journey at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, which reopened in 2014 after a three-year, $91 million renovation and is the only museum in the country entirely devoted to historic and contemporary design.
Browse over 240 years of design that celebrates the power of human creativity, and you might just garner some of your own. Use modern technology to create your own artwork in high-tech installations such as its Immersion Room, where visitors can sketch their own designs and project them on the walls at full scale. Located in the landmark Andrew Carnegie Mansion on Fifth Avenue, the museum houses more than 210,000 design objects and a world-class design library.
“Sophisticated New Yorkers across all fields of interest gather at these cultural institutions to browse the latest exhibitions and mingle amongst diverse art aficianados.”
If you need a little peace and quiet, a place away from the crowds and background noise, head to The Noguchi Museum for contemplation and reflection. In 1985, Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi converted an industrial building into a testament to his life’s work. Noguchi is known for his ability to provoke profound thought through the silence in his sculptures and architecture. The museum is designed around an open-air garden of large carved granite and basalt sculpture in the style that defined Noguchi’s career, within a building that houses 10 unique galleries.
To fully appreciate New York City, you must familiarize yourself with its history. The Morgan Library & Museum holds the city’s foremost collections of manuscripts, rare books, music, drawings and works of art. This extensive collection began as the private library of the late Pierpont Morgan. Today, the Renzo Piano-designed museum not only includes a dynamic selection of literary history, it also houses artwork by some of the world’s most famous artists. Browse Rembrandt’s first masterpiece, pastels by American artist Lucas Samaras and sculptures from ancient Mesopotamia – you could spend days here learning about the history of the city and the world.
While museums are a sure way to experience a wide variety of work, the character and curation of New York’s best galleries are not to be missed. A mere stroll around the famed Chelsea Art District will start you in the right direction, but there are a few stops you’ll have to make along the way. Leila Heller Gallery, a pioneer in promoting creative exchange between Western and Middle Eastern, Central and Southeast Asian artists; Sean Kelly, which specializes in diverse and intellectually driven art from installation and performance artists; and David Zwirner, once listed second on Forbes magazine’s America’s Most Powerful Art Dealers list, are three forces in the New York art scene that have collected masterpieces while remaining true to their Manhattan roots.
Even beyond world-class art, these galleries will give you a glimpse into an elusive social scene. Sophisticated New Yorkers from all fields of interest gather at these cultural institutions to browse the latest exhibitions and mingle with diverse art aficionados. Perhaps here, you will find your own New York beat.