DiMenna Children’s History Museum
The New-York Historical Society on the Upper West Side is one of America’s pre-eminent cultural institutions, dedicated to presenting exhibitions and public programs that reveal the dynamic character of history and its influence on the world of today. The “DiMenna Children’s History Museum” is a new facility at the New-York Historical Society. It brings American History to life for children by introducing them to experiences of other children from the past. The design immerses visitors in American history by encouraging them to become History Detectives. The exhibits feature historical artifacts and replicas, objects and illustrations, interactive elements and three-dimensional pavilions. The pavilions allow children to identify with figures whose enterprise and creativity changed the course of our history. Some of the highlights are:
- Alexander Hamilton, the orphaned immigrant from the West Indies who became a Founder of the United States
- an Orphan Train girl, one of the many New York City children transported by the Children’s Aid Society to new homes in the Midwest in the 19th century
- a New York “newsie,” one of the children who eked out a living by selling newspapers on the street
Holiday Train Show
Through January 16th, the New York Botanical Garden presents its “Holiday Train Show.” This year marks the 20th anniversary of this beloved seasonal tradition. The show features large-scale model trains winding past replicas of New York landmarks that have been crafted from a variety of plants. In The Artist’s Studio, for the first time this year, models in different stages of completion allow visitors to see how the replicas are built. The New York Skyline, Ellis Island, and Yankee Stadium are only some of the more famous replicas on view.
Picasso’s Drawings at the Frick
A remarkable, traveling exhibition of Pablo Picasso’s drawings is on view at The Frick Collection through January 8th. Pablo Picasso was one of the world’s greatest draftsmen. Drawing was the link that connected his work in a variety of media. This exhibition presents more than sixty drawings spanning the first thirty years of Picasso’s career, from 1890 through the early 1920s. Some of the highlights are: “Study of a torso”, a charcoal and pencil work from 1895, a “Self-Portrait” that combines chalk and watercolor, from late 1901, early 1902, and “Head of a Woman” a pastel on paper created in the summer of 1921.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at New York City Center
New York City Center hosts the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater with a season featuring classics as well as newer works that continue the legacy left by the company’s founder. “The Hunt” is just one of several works choreographed by Robert Battle, for whom this is the first season as Artistic Director of the company. “Home,” from hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris, was inspired by stories of people affected by HIV. “Minus 16,” by American-Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin, is an unusual work in the company’s repertory, because it challenges the dancers to improvise, break the fourth wall and invite the audience on stage.
Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties
The Brooklyn Museum presents its first large-scale exhibition of American art from the period between the end of WWI and the Great Depression. “Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties” showcases a wealth of paintings, sculptures and photographs by 67 artists. Created in response to the dramatic changes of American life in the 1920s, these works reflect the search for a perfect modern world. “Self-Portrait with Rita” painted by Thomas Hart Benton in 1922, is one example in the new trend of figurative works that celebrate this era of physical liberation. Portraits, such as “Paul Cadmus” realized by Luigi Lucioni in 1928, are realized in the newly popular “close-up” format, a style influenced by advertising and by newly discovered psychological theories. The rise of urban black culture leads to representations of the idealized black body. American landscapes are pictured as uninhabited, precisely refined environments. Even still-life compositions suggest the new tensions between the traditional and the modern in art and in life. The exhibition is on view through January 29th.