The Very Best of NYC Art

PUNK: Chaos to Couture, AIDS in New York: The First Five Years, Claes Oldenburg, Spectacle: The Music Video

When the punk era began, its grungy uniform of leather jackets, white T-shirts and ripped jeans was not exactly considered the height of fashion. But eventually the look was appropriated by top designers, and the influence of the culture really began to be seen in magazine spreads and on runways. This spring, the Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrates that rebellious spirit with PUNK: Chaos to Couture, a multimedia exhibit exploring punk’s fashionable roots, as well as its continuing effect on the designers of today. Opening May 9 in the museum’s renowned Costume Institute, it will feature 100 designs displayed in seven galleries, including pieces by Alexander McQueen, Helmut Lang, John Galliano, Zandra Rhodes and Stephen Sprouse.

The Museum of the City of New York remembers the frightening early days of the AIDS epidemic with AIDS in New York: The First Five Years, running from June 7 to September 15. It will use photographs, diaries, letters, newspapers, and other historically relevant material to tell the heartbreaking and inspiring story of a city in crisis. It will also cover the decade before AIDS hit, when the gay community was enjoying a vibrant sexual liberation after the Stonewall Riots. AIDS in New York promises to be an educational and fascinating look at a time we should never forget.

As one of the pioneering artists of the pop period, Claes Oldenburg made us take a second look at the way we view food, with detailed artistic recreations of hamburgers and pastry. One of the aspects of Oldenburg’s work that makes him most intriguing was the way he used cardboard and newspaper to create his art. The Museum of Modern Art presents an extensive view of his career by exhibiting his first major pieces The Street and The Store from the 1960s, along with later works. The exhibit runs through August 13.

Hard to believe, but music videos have been around for more than 35 years. Over time they emerged into a legitimate art form of their own, taken to dazzling heights by icons like David Bowie, Madonna and Kanye West. The American Museum of the Moving Image explores this phenomenon with Spectacle: The Music Video, on view now through June 16. The exhibit will present more than 300 videos to show what an amazing influence this format had (and continues to have) on technology and creativity. In addition, it will include props from memorable videos, such as A-HA’s “Take on Me;” interactive opportunities using the works of Radiohead and Bjork; and a special look at directors who have made their name in the field.

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