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Best NYC museum shows to see this fall: MoMA, the Whitney, Natural History, more

There are offerings for patrons young and old at these 13 institutions in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter

The Butterfly Conservatory: Tropical Butterflies Alive in Winter Photo Credit: ©AMNH / M. Shanley

Autumn in New York starts hot and humid and wraps cold and chilly, making it the right time to transition toward indoor entertainment. With dozens of museums to choose from, many of which are offering new exhibitions, the Big Apple is a perfect place to combine learning, looking and fun for all ages. Here’s a breakdown of what some of the city’s institutions have on display this fall.

THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART

MoMA kicked off its fall season with “Judson Dance Theater: The Work Is Never Done,” a major review of the work generated by a collective of artisans, musicians and performers who used the Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village as a space to create. This exhibition, which runs through Feb. 3, celebrates dance works from the 1960s and ‘70s. MoMA also is joining forces with the Art Institute of Chicago to present a deep exploration of work by the late Charles White, which runs through Jan. 13. You can see more than 100 pieces in what would have been his centenary year. Kids age 16 and younger are free; adults are $25.

WHERE 11 W. 53rd St., Manhattan

INFO 212-708-9400, moma.org

BROOKLYN MUSEUM

The third-biggest museum in the five boroughs presents “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power,” through Feb. 3. The exhibition reviews African-American art that arose between 1963 and 1983, including photography, painting, prints and performance, with much of the art addressing social conditions and personal experiences of the time. General admission is $16; 19 and younger free.

WHERE 200 Eastern Pkwy., Brooklyn

INFO 718-638-5000, brooklynmuseum.org

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

This museum is a tribute to the collision of art and history that often characterizes New York City. “Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis,” which runs through spring, looks back at how the Big Apple has battled illness, and how the threat of sickness, in turn, can shape culture. “Interior Lives: Contemporary Photographs of Chinese New Yorkers,” which runs Oct. 26-March 24, giving patrons a photographic retrospective of city residents whose heritage is tied to immigration from China. Suggested admission is $18; free ages 19 and younger.

WHERE 1220 Fifth Ave., Manhattan

INFO 212-534-1672, mcny.org

SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM

Named after its founder, The Guggenheim is a preserve of innovative and contemporary art, starting with its signature cylindrical structure designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. A pair of fresh exhibitions debut Oct. 12. New creations by celebrated artist R.H. Quaytman will be on view through Feb. 3 (“+ x, Chapter 34”), and will appear in conjunction with the work of the late Hilma af Klint (“Paintings for the Future”). Klint, who passed in the 1940s, is considered by some to be Europe’s first abstract artist, and someone whose work has long been championed by Quaytman. Admission is $25; children younger than 12 are free.

WHERE 1071 Fifth Ave., Manhattan

INFO 212-423-3500, guggenheim.org

QUEENS MUSEUM

A great option for Long Islanders not looking to venture too far inside the city limits, the Queens Museum touches on art, education and life in the borough. The eighth biennial Queens International exhibition, which runs through Feb. 24, highlights modern art born in area neighborhoods while exploring what’s on the minds of Queens-based artists young and old. $8 for adults; kids 18 and younger are free.

WHERE New York City Building, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens

INFO 718-592-9700, queensmuseum.org

NEW MUSEUM

You can spot this building on the Bowery from a distance due to its off-kilter, stacked exterior. Inside, it gets even more wild with a collection of truly contemporary and daring artwork. Among the fall offerings is a first-ever American review of the provocative pieces created by U.K. artist Sarah Lucas, a celebrated member of the Young British Artists movement. “Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel” runs through Jan. 20. Turkish artist Aslı Çavuşoğlu has her first solo American exhibition as well, with “The Place of Stone,” through Jan. 13, as part of her residency launch. $18 to enter; ages 18 and younger are free.

WHERE 235 Bowery, Manhattan

INFO 212-219-1222, newmuseum.org

WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART

A major fall exhibition at the Whitney will center on the work of an American creative genius with “Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again.” Starting Nov. 12, through March 31, museum-goers will get a fresh perspective on what he did and how its influence shows in the contemporary art world, featuring more than 350 works. Fall visitors also will receive an introduction to the efforts of Kevin Beasley, who has transformed the motor of a cotton gin into an audio piece that leads into an installation inspired by the history and impact of the American South. $25, free ages 18 and younger.

WHERE 99 Gansevoort St., Manhattan

INFO 212-570-3600, whitney.org

THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART

The nation’s largest art museum features a Jack Whitten retrospective at its Met Breuer location (945 Madison Ave.; 212-731-1675) through Dec. 2. The lauded American sculptor passed away in January, which adds poignancy to this look at his signature wood carving-meets-found curios style. The Met Fifth Avenue (1000 Fifth Ave.; 212-535-7710) is also holding the first-ever North American exhibition focused on the 19th century painter Eugène Delacroix, through Jan. 6, offering several works never before seen in the United States. For a more politically pointed experience the “Everything Is Connected: Art and Conspiracy” exhibition features 70 works in different media, also through Jan. 6. General admission is $25; free for children younger than 12.

INFO 212-535-7710, 212-731-1675, metmuseum.org

THE JEWISH MUSEUM

At one of the oldest Jewish museums in the world, patrons can see thousands of items representing the history of Jewish culture. This fall, catch a rare glimpse into Russian avant-garde work created after the Communist Revolution. Documents and artwork from El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich and Marc Chagall will serve as the focus. Opening Nov. 2 is an exhibition dedicated to video and other installations by Martha Rosler, spanning her career from her photo montages of the 1960s to her recent work. Admission $18; ages 18 and younger are free.

WHERE 1109 Fifth Ave., Manhattan

INFO 212-423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org

AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

There aren’t many museums better known than this one, especially for its dinosaur displays — but this fall the big focus is on butterflies. Several types will be fluttering by this fall in the Butterfly Conservatory. The next major exhibit, opening in the spring, will center on tyrannosaurs, including the “king” of the dinosaurs, the T. rex. General admission is $23; ages 2-12, $13.

WHERE Central Park West and 79th Street, Manhattan

INFO 212-769-5100, amnh.org

COOPER HEWITT SMITHSONIAN DESIGN MUSEUM

Recognized as the only American museum devoted to design, the Cooper Hewitt has launched two new exhibitions: “Tablescapes: Designs for Dining“ presents dining styles from across time, demonstrating principles from the early 19th and 20th centuries, then looks toward what the future may hold for people sitting down for a meal. At the same time, “Rebeca Méndez Selects” explores how humanity shares the world with nature. Admission is $18, $16 in advance; ages 18 and younger are free.

WHERE 2 E. 91st St., Manhattan

INFO 212-849-8400, cooperhewitt.org

LOWER EAST SIDE TENEMENT MUSEUM

Its story is unique: a former tenement discovered walled-up, making it more than just an exhibition space. The upcoming program “’Life and Death in the Tenement,” on Sept. 27 offers a 90-minute tour that includes both its historic buildings (97 and 103 Orchard St.) and a walking tour of the immediate neighborhood. An exploration of how health and illness has affected immigrants, the tour also tells the tale of three families and how they coped with diseases such as tuberculosis and the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. Tickets must be purchased in advance: $25; $20 ages 6-17 (children younger than 6 are not permitted on some tours).

WHERE103 Orchard St., Manhattan

INFO 212-982-8420, tenement.org

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF MANHATTAN

Featuring workshops, live entertainment and interactive exhibitions, CMOM is intended to mix education and fun for the younger patrons among us. Running until the end of the year, the museum is hosting “Art, Artists and You,” an exhibit that lets kids build their own contemporary art pieces. Guests can also craft models, make paper-pulp sculptures, work on a wall hanging or even create some stop-motion animation. Kids who are interested in the tech side of art will have access to 3D printing and green-screen video making.

WHERE 212 W. 83rd St., Manhattan

INFO 212-721-1223, cmom.org

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