“New York, New York” is a wonderful town where “the Bronx is up but the Battery’s down,” according to one famous lyric. In another song, it’s the place where if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.
At the Nassau County Museum of Art, “New York, New York” is the title of a new exhibition that celebrates the “city that doesn’t sleep” with more than 140 paintings, photographs and sculptures as exuberant as any song about the five boroughs.
The works are organized around themes like work, leisure and entertainment, and they span the 20th century, starting around 1900.
“This was an exciting time that made the city what it is,” said Constance Schwartz, the museum’s director emerita and the show’s guest curator. In the early 1900s, she said, ships and immigrants arrived from around the world. And throughout the 20th century, innovations in architecture and transportation transformed the city. “It’s a nice, long sweep,” she said. Works by Berenice Abbott, Georgia O’Keefe, Milton Avery, Romare Bearden, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol are part of the exhibit.
The oldest painting is “On the East River,” an oil by Robert Henri that dates to 1900-1902. A 1907 oil, “Lower Manhattan (Broadstreet),” by Childe Hassam, shows a bustling thoroughfare framed by soaring buildings. Everett Shinn’s 1908 watercolor, “The Bar at McSorley’s,” depicts men jovially drinking and chatting. Francis Luis Mora’s 1914 “Evening News” is a 4-foot-high mural featuring crowded commuters reading newspapers as they sit in a subway car, then a new way to travel.
Nearly all the works are realistic. Schwartz said she wanted to showcase how immigrant American artists “established a new kind of reality,” splitting from an older academic style and a newer European fashion for Cubism and other concepts. Approaches changed over the years. Several large environmental works by Red Grooms — one filling an entire gallery — are on display, as is his nearly 8-foot-long 2009 charcoal-on-paper drawing, “Lunchtime on Broadway,” the newest work. Only a 1915 oil by Max Weber, “New York, Rush Hour,” is abstract, Schwartz said, but “it feels just exactly like a rush hour with its overlapping planes and sense of movement.”
Whether it’s Herald Square or Harlem, the Brooklyn Bridge or Coney Island, the artists capture the city.
“It’s all New York,” said Schwartz. “You know where you are.”
WHAT “New York, New York”
WHEN | WHERE July 22-Nov. 5, Nassau County Museum of Art, 1 Museum Dr., Roslyn Harbor
INFO $12, $8 seniors, $4 students and ages 4-12; 516-484-9338, nassaumuseum.org
‘Sporting Life on LI’
WHAT “Sporting Life on Long Island: The Great Estates Era” shows how the rich enjoyed themselves in and around the 1920s. Trophies and equine-decorated dinnerware help illuminate an era when horse racing, polo, hunting, fishing and sailing were dominant pursuits.
WHEN | WHERE Through Oct. 1, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. daily, Coe Hall, Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park, 1395 Planting Fields Rd., Oyster Bay
INFO $5, free ages 11 and younger; 516-922-9200, plantingfields.org