With many museums closed, New York City invites residents to admire art outside

Outdoor Offerings

With many museums closed, New York City invites residents to admire art outside

Rendering of Sam Moyer’s Doors for Doris, on view at Central Park’s Doris C. Freedman Plaza, beginning this September (Sam Moyer Studio/Via NYC & Company)

Museums in New York City are very much closed, which is a sad thing if you like culture and free air conditioning. One not-great alternative is to squint across the lawn through the window at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur to admire the stonework, which is hard on the eyes and impractical if you don’t live on the Upper East Side.

Fortunately, NYC & Company, the city’s destination marketing organization, has a solution for art-deprived locals and the smattering of visitors who are (maybe?) around right now. The group’s recently released All in NYC: Public Art Edition website maps public art and outdoor exhibitions citywide where people can stay socially distant while taking in some beauty for free.

Photo of a sculpture in front of the Met Museum
Installation view of Wangechi Mutu’s The Seated II, part of The NewOnes, will free Us, an outdoor exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Bruce Schwarz/Via NYC & Company)

The guide includes installations on the lawns and grounds of established institutions as well as some atypical sites.

The Met has installed sculptures from Wangechi Mutu, a New York City–based artist known for her Afrofuturistic work in painting, performance, and sculpture. The NewOnes, will free Us, a collection of sculptures of four seated figures, is the very first work installed in the four niches on the Met’s beaux arts facade. The figures, Seated I, II, III, and IV, reference caryatids, carvings of load-bearing female figures (Mutu’s are decorative, not structural).

Also in Manhattan, the long-running outside art nonprofit Public Art Fund commissioned New York City–based artist Sam Moyer to build Doors for Doris, a (forthcoming) set of eclectic mosaic archways in Midtown and Central Park from marble and rocks found naturally in the area, a nod to the city’s diversity. At the Studio Museum in Harlem, artist Chloë Bass debuted Wayfinding, a 24-piece collection of signage that plays on the visual language of the signs that help pedestrians get around touristy historic neighborhoods and amusement parks.

Photo of a sign in a park
Installation view of Chloë Bass’s How much of life is coping?  (SaVonne Anderson/Via NYC & Company)

Other institutions are branching out away from home base: Brett Littman, the director of The Noguchi Museum in Queens, curated the Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center, a collection of works by six artists in homage to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

Photo of Rockefeller Center with sculpture
The Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center (Via NYC & Company/Courtesy Tishman Speyer)

The listings live on this map, which is maintained by NYC & Company. Run dates, locations, and more information about the exhibitions can be found here.