Three days of art in New York
A large fiberglass sculpture in the shape of a military drone hovers 25 feet above the high line, the elevated public park on Manhattan’s West Side. Although from a distance it could be mistaken for the real thing, this drone is a piece of artist Sam Durantwho uses the work to discuss surveillance terrorism.
Watching “Untitled (drone)” in the middle of a sunny day is the perfect way to start a whirlwind artistic tour of New York. In the space of a long weekend, it is possible to admire a good amount of artwork that will sustain you for months.
Day 1: High Line, Chelsea and Lower East Side
Grab a scone and a coffee at Whole Foods Market on 10th Avenue on the West Side. It’s a short walk from the 30th street entrance to the High Line, where you start with “Untitled (drone)”, surrounded on all sides by the shiny metallic structures of New York. In 2017, Durant’s “scaffolding” appeared in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, but it was taken down following protests from Dakota leaders and led to an extensive reconciliation process with the Walker Art Center.
Walk down part of the High Line towards 23rd Street. The elevated walkway is built over old train tracks, merging past and present into one experience. Most of the public artwork on the High Line rotates about every 12 months, giving the park the feel of a 1.5-mile-long outdoor gallery. Some areas along the way, like a strip of old trails where trees sprout from the ground, look like art installations in themselves – reminders of historic Manhattan.
Exit the High Line at 23rd Street, then enter Chelsea’s Arts District, where dozens of established art galleries await. start to Lehmann Maupin (501 O.24e St.), representing a range of international artists including Catherine Opie (whose photographs of Minnesota ice houses are currently on display in “Five Ways to Enter” to the Walker).
Go upstairs to Hill Art Foundation (239 10e Av.), a public exhibition and education center that works with contemporary artists such as Kevin Beasleywhose sculpture, performance and sound installation explore protest, work, family and black identity.
Down the street are a variety of contemporary galleries. Check Yossi Milo Gallery (245 10th Av.), then descend 24e Street to catch shows in classic spaces like the Gladstone Gallery, premier Matthew Marks and Luhring Augustine Galleries, and Jack Shainman, a hip gallery known for bringing international artists to the US market. Make sure you fall in Greene Naftali (508 W. 26th St.), known for representing cutting-edge artists, including the 2022 Whitney Biennial artist Aria Dean.
Once you’ve had your fill of Chelsea, which should take at least two hours, take the F train from the city center to Broadway-Lafayette station to reach the New Museum in the Lower East Side. Before leaving the station, locate Mel Chinthe permanent installation of “Signal” (1998), with six figures of blue tiles symbolically connected by long lines, representing the six nations of the Iroquois Confederacywho were among the first inhabitants of New York State.
At the seven-story New Museum (235 Bowery, $18, timed admissions recommended), the exhibit “Art and Race Matter: The Career of Robert Colescott,” featuring 40 years of paintings with satirical takes on race, beauty and American culture, opens June 30.
Day 2: Midtown and Upper East Side
MoMA (11 W. 53rd St., timed admissions $14-$25) is one of New York’s busiest and largest museums. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find something you want to see, whether it’s European modernism, lesser-known artists from Africa, architecture from contemporary China, or a spotlight on a young emerging artist. Although you don’t have to step out of the gift shop, it’s recommended, with everything from magnets with your favorite artwork to handy leather-bound notebooks and full-size art posters.
Head to the Upper East Side, where more museums await. Challenge yourself to see how much you can pack in an afternoon. Choose from the Metropolitan Museum of Artthe Guggenheimthe jewish museum and New Gallery on 5th Avenue, the Frick-Collection at 1 E. 70th St. at Asian society at 725 Park Ave.
At the Met, don’t miss “Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room“, which recreates the Village of Seneca, a thriving 19th-century community of mostly black landlords and tenants that existed just west of the Met in what is now Central Park. In 1857, the city used eminent domain to take it over and displace the inhabitants.The period room recreates this place, and it’s a welcome change from the typically colonial domestic spaces of museum period rooms.
Day 3: Downtown and back
Keep the best for last. Take the train from the city center to start at African Cemetery National Monument (290 Broadway), the oldest and largest known burial site for free and enslaved black people in North America. Then walk to National Museum of the American Indian (1 Bowling Green), where there is a show on the Dakota Modern Artist’s View oscar howe (until September 11).
Finally, book it near your departure point: the Whitney Museum of American Art (99 Gansevoort St.) in the Meatpacking District, next to the south entrance to the High Line. There you can catch the 2022 Whitney Biennialon view through September 5, which features Minnesota artists Dyani White Hawk and Pao Houa Her, and Adam Gordon, Minnesota-born artist. Grab a late lunch around the corner at the classic Hector’s Cafe & Diner (44 Little W. 12th St.), and choose from omelets, salad platters, tacos, burritos or sandwiches, all accompanied by a cup of coffee.