In the frenzied metropolis that is New York City, art enthusiasts are constantly on the look out for the newest stimulating exhibitions. While galleries and museums are the obvious go-to, there are a variety of cultural alternatives that allow you to discover art while also exploring different parts of the city.
Following our showcase of the Museum of Sex, we next turn our focus to the New York Public Library. Situated on the border of Bryant Park, this architectural marvel boasts a stunning neoclassical façade that displays the heavy European aesthetic influence on 19th century Americans (history lessons aside, this is a very beautiful historic building that deserves a visit).
Aside from the smell of vintage books and breathtaking chandeliers, the library offers a serious arts program. Currently there are four exhibitions at the 5th Avenue location alone and 14 other shows occurring at the other NYPL locations.
The current main exhibition at the Bryant Park location is Public Eye: 175 Years of Sharing Photography. This show examines the idea of photography being a routine part of modern culture and organizes photographs from our recent history into a massive compare-and-contrast type of retrospective.
“Seen together, the works on view drive home a point made clear by today’s proliferation of digital imagery: photography has always been a technology dependent upon social interaction, mediation, and the public sphere. This exhibition examines photography’s origin and ongoing history in the public eye,” says Stephen C. Pinson, the Library’s Curator of Photography.
Essentially the exhibition revolves around three central themes: photo-sharing, street view, and crowdsourcing. Unless you went to art school and were required to take History of Photography, chances are these three terms mean nothing to you.
Just know this collection that consists of over 500 images from the Library’s archive showcases the 175-year lifespan of photography, allowing you as the viewer to observe and appreciate the transformation of this art form.
Highlights include 19th century sepia portraits and an interactive exhibition “On Broadway” that allows viewers to compile historic photos and data from the thirteen miles of Broadway that span Manhattan. The overhead selfie mirror in the entrance has also become a social media sensation.
Though photo sharing on social media is a customary aspect of everyday life for younger generations, it is important to examine the art form’s rich history. Public Eye is free to the public and will be on display at the Gottesman Exhibition Hall until January 3, 2016.
All photos by Art Report, taken with an iPhone camera in order to engage with the exhibit’s theme.
Like this article? Checkout our other article on Unlikely Place to Experience Art: The Museum Of Sex!