Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Beyond Art: Great Entertainment at 10 Top New York City Museums

By Jacquelin Carnegie
Breaking the Waves, Works & Process,
The Gugg

In museums all over town, there's lots more happening than the exhibits on the walls: Music, Dance & Family Fun. New York City museums have become de facto performing arts centers with exciting events, often thematically tied into what's on view. Here's a small sampling to get you started:
The Guggenheim
1071 Fifth Ave (at 88th St); www.guggenheim.org/new-york
Throughout the year, there are several top-notch, special events, so be sure to check the Performance calendarWorks & Process: In an intimate theater space, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, this performing arts series gives you the opportunity to see new works by some of the most acclaimed, international creators and performers in the world.
Peter & the Wolf

For the Holidays: Don't miss the divine Isaac Mizrahi production of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf and the Rotunda Holiday Concerts--fun for children and adults!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Fuentidueña Chapel, Cloisters

1000 Firth Ave (at 82nd St); www.metmuseum.org
There is always something cultural happening at the museum from concerts to lectures to site-specific performances. 
MetLiveArts: This series offers interesting performances, commissions, and world premieres in the museum's theater. Site-specific events are set in unique gallery spaces throughout the museum.
The Met Cloisters - Concerts www.metmuseum.org/visit/met-cloisters
In the beautiful, medieval Cloisters' museum in Fort Tyron Park, concerts are held in the splendid, 12th-century Fuentidueña Chapel, with wonderful acoustics. (Concert tickets include free, same-day museum admission.)

The Jewish Museum
Don Byron Band, Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Ave (at 92nd St); www.thejewishmuseum.org
The museum offers an amazing range of cultural programs from interesting discussions with artists and curators (AM at the JM), to talks by contemporary authors and thinkers, concerts, and other performances and workshops inspired by exhibitions on view.

Museum of the City of New York

1220 Fifth Ave (at 103rd St); www.mcny.org
This museum, devoted to New York City history, presents fascinating events and talks illuminating New York's past and imagining the city's future. Check out the Stories & Events calendar. 
For the Holidays: Learn how to make ornaments & snow globes!

El Museo del Barrio
1230 Fifth Ave (at 104th St); www.elmuseo.org
The museum focuses on Latino arts and culture. Its' bilingual programs, festivals, and special events celebrate the 
rich cultural heritage of the Caribbean and Latin America. Get ready to party! 

Rubin Museum of Art

150 West 17 St; www.rmanyc.org

Jazz, Rubin

The museum, dedicated to the culture of the Himalayas, India, and neighboring regions, is also a wonderful place to see international films, hear great jazz, and be inspired by interesting talks and performances. The museum is open late on Fridays, so in addition to soaking up the culture, be sure to stop by the Café Serai/K2 Lounge; it's a neighborhood hot spot. 
Museum of Jewish Heritage
Edmond J. Safra Plaza, 36 Battery Place; mjhnyc.org
While not as well known as The Jewish Museum, MJH, located downtown by Battery Park, presents a broad tapestry of Jewish life in the 20th and 21st centuries—before, during, and after the Holocaust. Hence, the engrossing programs include discussions, films, plays, and concerts that highlight the richness of Jewish culture and ideas. (There's also an Andy Goldsworthy stone garden really worth seeing and great views of the Statue of Liberty.)

99 Gansevoort St; www.whitney.org
Terrace, Whitney
In a downtown area, recently made hip by the fabulous High Line walkway, 20th- and 21st-century American art is celebrated in the museum's new building abuzz with activity. The Whitney Biennial is one of the museum's signature events, along with an exciting, eclectic mix of performances and talks on a regular basis that are tied into current exhibits. Best feature: The "art terraces" on every level with stunning views of New York and the Hudson River. 

American Museum of Natural History
Sleepover, AMNH

Central Park West at 79th St; www.amnh.org
The museum is a treasure trove of discoveries for kids as well as adults. While you might know about all the wonderful activities for children, did you know that adults can also do "A Night at the Museum" sleepover, enjoy cocktails and conversation at the after-hours SciCafe evenings, and participate in family-fun cultural events, themed to tie-in with current exhibits? There's a lot more going on here than dinosaur bones!

Brooklyn Museum of Art
The Bang Group, BMA

200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn; www.brooklynmuseum.org
In addition to way-cool exhibits, BMA offers a variety of interesting events for adults, teens, and kids. These include talks, performances, films, and workshops that enhance the museum’s current exhibits and permanent collection. Every month, there's also free First Saturdays which usually feature music, dancing and a film, plus museum admission.

Editor's Note: Some of these wonderful, special museum events are free with admission, others require a separate ticket and/or booking in advance. Be sure to check the museum's website. And, when you enter any museum, be sure to read the signs ("suggested" admission means pay any amount not the $20+ listed). Also, many museums have free or "pay what you wish" evenings starting at around 5pm. The Metropolitan Museum ticket includes same-day admission to The Met Cloisters. Of course, during COVID, some events may be online only. 

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