Save the date for the 41st Annual Museum Mile Festival, next Tuesday, June 11th, when Fifth Avenue from 82nd St. to 103rd Streets becomes NYC’s biggest street fair, with music, food, activities for the kids, and FREE admission to the world-class museums that give Museum Mile its name.
This year’s participating institutions include: El Museo Del Barrio, Museum of the City of New York, the Jewish Museum, Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, Neue Galerie New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and The Africa Center.
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Museum Mile is rain or shine, 7pm to 10pm, so let’s hope for shine.
Here’s your guide to Museum Mile Festival 2019, from North to South, including entertainment in front of the museums:
Top Exhibition: Melissa Calderón.
This self-taught multi-media artist’s sculptures, installations and performances explore the social and political landscape using evocative—and sometimes provocative—imagery.
Entertainment: All-woman drumming corps Fogo Azul Bateria Feminina makes a racket, as a special collaborative performance by artists Carlos Jesus Martinez Dominguez and Leslie Jimenez (with live music by vocalist and percussionist Lisette Santiago) takes to the street. Beats are provided courtesy DJ Shabakkano.
Exhibition highlight: Cycling in the City
Cycle through (pun intended) 200 years of history and the bike’s transformation of urban transportation and leisure, and explore the extraordinary diversity of cycling cultures in the city, past and present.
The exhibition reveals the complex, creative, and often contentious relationship between New York and the bicycle, while underscoring the importance of cycling as the city confronts climate change, energy scarcity, and population growth in the years to come.
Entertainment: Salsa music and dance.
Top Exhibition: Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything
Hallelujah for Leonard Cohen. This exhibit features his music and poetry, plus artwork by artists inspired by his life, work and legacy.
This unique exhibit was approved before he died and received his personal approval.
Entertainment: Brooklyn group Banda de Los Muertos plays Mexican brass music.
Top Exhibition: Austrian Masterworks
Highlights from the museum’s extensive collection of Austrian art from the period 1890 to 1940, including major works by Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Alfred Kubin, and Egon Schiele. Collection gems such as Gustav Klimt’s iconic painting Adele Bloch-Bauer (1907) are on view.
Top Exhibition: Implicit Tensions: Maplethorp Now.
In the thirty years since his death, Robert Mapplethorpe (1946–1989) has become a cultural icon.
One of the most critically acclaimed and controversial American artists of the late twentieth century, Mapplethorpe is widely known for daring imagery that deliberately transgresses social mores, and for the censorship debates that transpired around his work in the United States during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Yet the driving force behind his artistic ethos was an obsession with perfection that he brought to bear on his approach to each of his subjects, and his images are a marvel of lighting and composition.
Entertainment: Swing Jazz by Sarah King and the Smoke Rings.
Top Exhibition: Play it Loud
This is the first major museum exhibition devoted exclusively to the instruments of Rock and Roll, widely regarded as one of the most important artistic movements of the twentieth century, which influenced culture and society around the world. There are more than 130 instruments on display alongside posters and costumes.
The instruments used in rock and roll had a profound impact on this art form that forever changed music.
The exhibition is co-organized with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Columbus, Ohio.
Event: Movement and dance with Sidra Bell Dance New York.
Top Exhibition: Iridescense
Shining examples of objects ranging from ancient to the contemporary illustrate how the optical effects of iridescence have maintained a lasting impact on design.
Event: An “Imagination Playground” for kids in the Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden.
Museum Mile Festival History
Begun as an initiative to spur the development of new museum audiences and to increase support for the arts during the fiscal crisis of the 1970s, Museum Mile was formed as a consortium by the museums that share the Fifth Avenue address.
The first festival, in June of 1978, was an instant success, exposing both New Yorkers and visitors to an incredible collection of New York’s artistic riches.
Over the years, Museum Mile Festival has promoted public awareness through increased visibility, accessibility and attendance at all the museums, and brought many New Yorkers to upper Fifth Avenue for the first time.