Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School
September 21, 2012 - February 10, 2013
Can history be so beautiful it stuns you? The legendary artists of the Hudson River School have long been “at home” in the New-York Historical Society. After a national tour, 45 of their iconic works – including Thomas Cole’s The Course of Empire – will return for a limited engagement.
"Every now and then, an exhibition comes along that is so perfectly lovely that you want to shout its merits from the closest rooftop, or in this case mountain."
Benjamin Genocchio, The New York Times
WWII and NYC
The War Remembered
October 5, 2012 - May 27, 2013
Don’t miss the museum experience that tells the war stories of our greatest city and generation! New York City was the most important industrial metropolis on earth, the busiest port anywhere, the capital of capitalism, the largest and richest city on the planet. We’re putting it all together for you in a blockbuster exhibition on four floors. You’ll listen to first-hand accounts from the people who lived through it – riveting true stories that will climb out of the history books and into your life.
"…more than 800,000 men and women from New York City were in military service during the war and more than 3.2 million members of the armed forces departed for overseas from the Port of New York."
Richard Goldstein, The New York Times (9/29/10)
John Rogers: American Stories
November 2, 2012 – February 18, 2013
John Rogers was unquestionably the most popular sculptor of the 19th century. In his lifetime he sold over 80,000 works and was called “the people’s sculptor” and “a new star”. He reflected life during the Civil War and themes such as Shakespeare and Longfellow. Rogers’ work was often compared with that of Norman Rockwell and Rockwell himself made a direct connection in a 1948 cover for the Saturday Evening Post titled “The Curiosity Shop” by including a Rogers sculpture in the corner.
"We know no sculptor like John Rogers…in the Old World, and he stands alone in his chosen field… [his works] possess real elements of greatness."
James Jackson Jarves, The Art Idea, 1864
Audubon’s Aviary: Part I of the Complete Flock
March 8, 2013 - May 19, 2013
Audubon’s dramatic watercolors rank among the most spectacular natural history documents ever produced. Visually arresting, this show will offer an unprecedented opportunity for visitors to explore the evolution of Audubon’s dazzling work. You’ll see how he developed his innovative, signature depictions and experimental media.
The legendary naturalist-artist rendered birds in unparalleled life-size scale and captured them with all the drama of their avian life. Some of these birds are now extinct, so this will be an opportunity for you to see the beauty that was. Enriching these offerings will be a range of fascinating objects drawn from the Society’s Audubon collection, the largest in the world.
"I know I am not a scholar, but meantime I am aware that no man living knows better than I do the habits of our birds; no man living has studied them as much as I have done."
John James Audubon
May 31, 2013 – September 8, 2013
The crème de la crème! View masterpieces drawn from over 400 years of objects and art in our collections.
AIDS Comes to New York
June 7, 2013 – September 2013
In 1980, the first reports of cases of a mysterious cancer that seemed to be attacking otherwise healthy young men appeared. By 1985, it was evident that a full-fledged epidemic was spreading uncontrolled throughout the country. During those five years, NYC was the epicenter of this epidemic and the anger would spill over to force public recognition of this deadly disease and the drive to find some solutions. This fight against AIDS would provide a model for activists in the decades that followed.
"It’s bad enough that people are dying of AIDS, but no one should die of ignorance."
Elizabeth Taylor for World AIDS Day
Swing Time: Reginald Marsh and Thirties New York
June 21, 2013 – September 1, 2013
Artist Reginald Marsh recorded the vibrancy and energetic pulse of NYC in the 1930s. He captured the animation and visual turbulence that made urban life an exhilarating spectacle. His subjects were not glamorous New Yorkers, but Bowery bums, burlesque queens, Coney Island musclemen, subway riders and post-flapper era sirens. Discover the city as it was during the Depression – colorful, interesting and full of intense energy.
"My pictures have too much shock in them for a lot of people to hang on the walls at home. Not really shocking, just a kind of not-too-pleasant reminder of what they have shut out when they go home… They don’t want to be reminded in their living rooms of the people they see – or don’t see – walking on the streets of New York. Makes them feel uncomfortable."
Reginald Marsh (from Reginald Marsh As I Remember Him by William Benton)
Beauty’s Legacy: Gilded Age Portraits
Gilded Age New York
September 27, 2013 – March 9, 2014
We’ll recreate the viewing experience of those who attended the influential National Academy of Design exhibitions in the 1890s for you and show you the public and private lives of Gilded Age society. Great fortunes were made and the wealthy sought out artists who could portray both their social standing and personal accomplishments—raising questions about how beauty is defined and showcasing the special allure exerted by power and money in the portraits of the titans of finance and industry.
Walk to the next gallery and you’ll see a lively display of Gilded Age New York featuring photographs of their opulent residences, their images in fancy dress for lavish costume balls and society weddings, and an array of advertisements documenting the cosmetics and fashions popular among the belles of New York society.
"The golden gleam of the gilded surface hides the cheapness of the metal underneath."
Mark Twain, who coined the term “The Gilded Age”
The Armory Show at 100
October 18, 2013 - February 23, 2014
Imagine waking up one morning to the soft beauty of Gilded Age art – then finding everything had changed by the afternoon. That’s what happened to New Yorkers in 1913 when The Armory Show opened. It changed everything: art, architecture, interior design, fashion. Picasso, Matisse, Cezanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh (to name just a few) were featured in the most important art show ever held in this country – and this is your chance to experience it for yourself. Walk through our Gilded Age gallery, then move to a celebration of The Armory Show – the first time these paintings have been together in over 100 years.
…the most important public event that has ever come off since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, & it is of the same nature… There will be a riot & a revolution & things will never be quite the same afterwards.
Mabel Dodge to Gertrude Stein, January 24, 1913
Fashion + Architecture
March 2014 – July 2014
For over eight years, New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham documented the architectural riches and fashion history of New York City. Scouring the city’s thrift stores, auction houses, and street fairs for vintage clothing, he assembled nearly 500 costumes representing nearly 200 years of fashion. He then paired them with architecture highlighting the stylistic convergences of the two forms.
The wonderful costumes are worn by Editta Sherman, the "Duchess of Carnegie Hall", as she poses for the camera in virtually every corner of Manhattan. Cunningham and the Duchess capture the era -- an intelligent blend of fashion and architectural history, a spirit of playful animation, and an elusive sense of the past. You’ll see New York City during one of its darkest times, yet their infectious enthusiasm for architecture, fashion and the city itself will provide an intriguing and creative look at this distinctly challenging period in New York’s history.
An exuberant change from the usual deadpan approach to the history of fashion and the history of architecture.
New York Magazine (Book Review, 1978)
Homefront and Battlefield:
Quilts and Textiles during the Civil War
April 4, 2014 – August 31, 2014
This groundbreaking show will mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War by using quilts, textiles and clothing to connect personal stories and public history to link soldiers and civilians. You’ll discover the human experiences beneath the veneer of Blue and Gray.
"Our lives are like quilts – bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love."
We recommend that all groups schedule their visit at least three weeks prior to the desired date. To book your tour, please contact Kathleen O’Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org