Saturday, June 4, 2011

Neue Galerie: 86th Street and Fifth Avenue

The Neue Galerie (Neue Info) is a museum dedicated to German and Austrian Art.  On the first Friday of each month, it is free from 6-8 pm (normally $15/adult; $10/students and seniors, children not admitted) and apparently New Yorkers are drawn to this museum on such evenings in hoards.  I got there a little after 6:30 pm and there was an hour-long line just to get inside!  And once inside, it was shoulder-to-shoulder--ugh. 

While not the most relaxing way to spend an evening, if you are hungry for some modernist German or Austrian art, there is probably no place better in New York City.  The museum's 2 floors of galleries currently show modern paintings, drawings, clothing, furniture, jewelry, home goods, and architectural models.  With about 30-40 minutes, one can dwell on favorite pieces, get a detailed look at the clean plain styles of Adolf Loos, as well as the colorful precursors to art deco style from Josef Hoffman. 

Given my recent study of German Expressionists at the MOMA (please see my prior blog on MOMA Courses), I was particularly drawn to the paintings by Gustav Klimt and was pleased I recognized the flattening of the subjects with the backgrounds and the play of positive and negative spaces (see photos). 

I don't think I will repeat my visit any time soon (too crowded on free nights and not worth the $15 for such a small collection), but I am glad I visited it at least once.  If I have the time and want an infusion of art, I would rather revisit the Hispanic Society of America (please see my prior blog), which is always free and has just as impressive (if not more so) a collection of Spanish and Latin American art.

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