Few places in the city capture the diversity of New York as well as the Bronx Museum of the Arts. The museum specializes in contemporary art, highlighting the work of living artists who have a meaningful connection to the surrounding community. By focusing on collections relevant to the neighborhood, the museum manages to maintain a local flavor that many larger museums have lost. Visitors, whether Bronx-natives or tourists are rewarded for their short trip across the Harlem River with challenging and topical exhibits few other galleries could show.
When you're a kid with artistic yearnings brought up in the Bronx, you don't get fed up too easily.
What You Will See
Here you will not see great masters of the past, but rather risk discovering your new favorite artist. In a short 40 years, the museum has amassed an impressive collection of contemporary art. The museum showcases the challenges and triumphs of modern-day Bronx residents, and therefore much of the collection was produced by minority artists, often as-yet undiscovered traditional galleries. Temporary exhibits are the museum's real strength. Creative, contemporary and challenging, the museum's exhibits appear on critic's best of lists' far more than a museum of this size would suggest.
Why You Should Go
Outside of game-day at nearby Yankee Stadium, the South Bronx is not a traditional destination for New Yorkers, much less tourists. Yet those who skip the Bronx miss out on 15% of New York City and ignore one of the most diverse places in the world. The Bronx Museum of the Arts represents its neighborhood so well that any journey to understand the Bronx must include the museum. You may not see familiar pieces, but you are promised to find something new, exciting and unique.
Quilts are common subjects of New York City museums. But usually, the responsibility falls to The American Folk Art Museum or occasionally The Museum of Art and Design. This season, however, the best quilt-based exhibition in the city is hosted at the Bronx Museum. Harlem-based artist Sanford Biggers displays his contemporary interpretation of artistic quilting in this thoroughly unique display.
Jose Parla's first solo museum exhibit is appropriately hosted at the Bronx Museum. Though born in Miami, Parla's first moved to the Bronx when relocating to New York City. His abstract paintings made of multiple layers of paint recall the large murals he painted in Miami under the name "Ease." This is a beautiful collection of work perfectly harmonious with the goals of the Bronx Museum.