33 Art Exhibitions to View in N.Y.C. This Weekend

‘PLAY IT LOUD: INSTRUMENTS OF ROCK & ROLL’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (through Oct. 1). Presented in collaboration with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, this exhibition offers a vision of history in which the rock music that flowered in the 1960s and ’70s sits firmly at the center. The format of the rock band provides the structure of the show, with one room given over to the rhythm section and another showcasing “Guitar Gods.” Yet another room has a display highlighting the guitar’s destruction, with pieces of instruments trashed by Kurt Cobain and Pete Townshend. To the extent that it shifts focus toward the tools of the rock trade, the show is illuminating. Of particular interest is the room set aside for “Creating a Sound,” which focuses on the sonic possibility of electronics. The lighting in “Play It Loud” is dim, perhaps reflecting rock music as the sound of the night. Each individual instrument shines like a beacon, as if it’s catching the glint of an onstage spotlight. It makes the space between audience member and musician seem vast, but that doesn’t diminish the wonder of browsing the tools once used by pop royalty. (Richardson)
212-535-7710, metmuseum.org

‘CHARLOTTE POSENENSKE: WORK IN PROGRESS’ at Dia Art Foundation in Beacon, N.Y. (through Sept. 9). This Hudson Valley institution continues its satisfying enlargement of its roll call of Miminalists and Conceptualists with a major showcase of this German artist, who showed her modular, industrially inspired sculptures alongside Donald Judd and Frank Stella in the late 1960s, but then abandoned art for sociology. Posenenske’s most important works were free-standing pipes, made of sheet steel or cardboard, that look almost exactly like commercial air ducts. Unlike some of the control freaks whose art is also on view here, Posenenske made her art in infinite editions, out of parts that can be arranged in any shape you like: a generous distribution of authorship from the artist to her fabricators and collectors. (Farago)
diaart.org

‘PUNK LUST: RAW PROVOCATION 1971-1985’ at the Museum of Sex (through Nov. 30). This show begins with imagery from the Velvet Underground: The 1963 paperback of that title, an exploration of what was then called deviant sexual behavior and gave the band its name, is one of the first objects on display. Working through photos, album art and fliers by artists like Iggy Pop, the New York Dolls, Patti Smith and, yes, the Sex Pistols, the exhibition demonstrates how punk offered a space for sexual expression outside the mainstream. In the story told by “Punk Lust,” much of it laid out in placards by the writer and musician Vivien Goldman, one of the show’s curators, graphic sexual imagery is a tool for shock that frightens away the straight world and offers comfort to those who remain inside. While some of the power dynamic is typical — underage groupies cavorting with rock stars — images from female, queer and nonbinary artists like Jayne County and the Slits make a strong case for sex as an essential source of punk liberation. (Richardson)
212-689-6337, museumofsex.com

‘SCENES FROM THE COLLECTION’ at the Jewish Museum (ongoing). After a surgical renovation to its grand pile on Fifth Avenue, the Jewish Museum has reopened its third-floor galleries with a rethought, refreshed display of its permanent collection, which intermingles 4,000 years of Judaica with modern and contemporary art by Jews and gentiles alike — Mark Rothko, Lee Krasner, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman and the excellent young Nigerian draftswoman Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze. The works are shown in a nimble, nonchronological suite of galleries, and some of its century-spanning juxtapositions are bracing; others feel reductive, even dilettantish. But always, the Jewish Museum conceives of art and religion as interlocking elements of a story of civilization, commendably open to new influences and new interpretations. (Farago)
212-423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org

STATUE OF LIBERTY MUSEUM on Liberty Island (ongoing). Security concerns stemming from the Sept. 11 attacks led the National Park Service to restrict the number of people who could go inside the Statue of Liberty’s massive stone pedestal and up to the crown. So the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation wanted to offer something more for visitors who found the outdoor view less than satisfying: a stand-alone museum on the island that would welcome everyone who wanted to hear the story behind Lady Liberty. Going beyond the vague and often dubious ideal of American “liberty,” the museum’s displays highlight the doubts of black Americans and women who saw their personal liberties compromised on a daily basis in the 1880s, when the statue opened. These exhibits also spotlight a bit of history that is often forgotten: that the French creators intended the statue as a commemoration of the abolition of slavery in the United States. (Julia Jacobs)
statueoflibertymuseum.org

‘STONEWALL 50 AT THE NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY’ (through Sept. 22). For its Stonewall summer, the society offers a bouquet of three micro-shows. One is devoted to relics of L.G.B.T.Q. night life, from the 1950s lesbian bar called the Sea Colony to gay male sex clubs like the Anvil and the Ramrod that sizzled in the 1970s. Another documents the founding in 1974 — by Joan Nestle, Deborah Edel, Sahli Cavallero, Pamela Olin and Julia Stanley — of a compendious and still-growing register of lesbian culture called the Herstory Archives. And a third turns a solo spotlight on charismatic individuals: Storme DeLarverie (1920-2014), Mother Flawless Sabrina/Jack Doroshow (1939-2017), Keith Haring (1958-90) and Rollerena Fairy Godmother. (Cotter)
212-873-3400, nyhistory.org

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