Saturday, July 3, 2010

New York's Museums

I don't know for how many people this is the case, but in a very real sense, our schedules here in New York City are shaped by museums - their openings, their closings, their special events, their members' viewings, their relatively easy accessibility. We are members of MoMA, the MET, the Guggenheim, the New York Historical Society (N-Y), the Museum of the City of New York, and the Paley Center for Media. The only one of these that never sends us a special invitation to attend their openings or special events is the MET - famously stuffy and aloof. We love it anyway, though, and go there as often as any place because there is always so much going on. MoMA, our beloved MoMA, is the other extreme. They constantly send us invitations to special viewings, to receptions celebrating openings, to so many parties and jazzy gatherings that we can't keep up and often have to turn them down. For instance, we are invited next week to a reception at MoMA for members only that welcomes the wonderful new Matisse exhibit that centers on a time of great creativity for him - his period of "radical invention" as it is referred to - from 1913-1917. Somehow, especially given Karen's love for Matisse, we had to drop everything to make sure we could be there for this unique evening.

The Guggenheim, too, has provided us with rich sources of stimulation and amusement. Their "Works and Process" Series, often noted in this blog, with its sly pairing of seemingly disparate arts and sciences, and its reliably delicious concluding receptions, has never failed to provoke and satisfy us. Its really quite outlandish exhibits, too, have kept us laughing and amazed and coming back for more.

N-Y, a favorite of ours, continues its terrific lecture series of fascinating historical and contemporary topics. Its surprising celebration of musical comedy, that has wreaked havoc with our schedules since they present these events at 6:30 on weekday evenings, has continued to give us much pleasure, even if we occasionally do have to slip into our seats just before (or after) the curtain.

The Museum of the City of New York recently installed its own fascinating exhibit on the John Lindsay Years, Mayor of New York from 1965-1973, and also held a can't miss musical revue on the Broadway hits from that period. We vow to return to see much more of the excellent Lindsay exhibit, though it does mean hiking up to 5th Avenue and 103rd Street, the one museum that sometimes seems just a bit out of reach for us.

Finally, Paley is hot and cold when it comes to special events. For a while, we seemed to be going to one a week, whether celebrating Leonard Bernstein's birthday and his Young People's Concerts or premiering the film "Julie and Julia" paired with clips from the actual Julia's famed TV show or feting an aging Harry Belafonte. But lately, the pickings have been slim. Of course, Paley's great virtue is its video library and the fact that you can view any program in its large archives any time you want.

So there you have it - life by museum. It's tough to keep up with everything, but we do our best. We regard it as one of our most sacred New York responsibilities.

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