Is it just us, or has the fall exhibition schedule in New York City been given an extra shot of macho manliness? Two of the 20th century’s most interesting men, Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway, are the focus of art shows in the city, but both in ways that defy their longstanding stereotypes. Picasso Sculpture, on view beginning September 14 at the Museum of Modern Art, for instance, takes on a surprisingly little-known aspect of the Spanish artist’s work: sculptures that he created throughout his life. A 1914 sculpture series of absinthe glasses and a plywood bull from 1958 are among the more than 100 pieces—created in clay, wood, sheet metal and paper and including found objects ranging from wooden sticks to chicken wire—on view in the first US museum show of its kind in nearly 50 years.
Meanwhile, Ernest Hemingway gets his first major museum exhibition, in New York or anywhere, beginning September 25 at the Morgan Library. Among the roughly 95 pieces in Ernest Hemingway: Between Two Wars are notebooks and typescripts from his major novels, including The Sun Also Rises and For Whom the Bell Tolls, as well as letters from F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein between the two world wars. Less-literary treasures include small tokens that this inveterate collector kept along the way: his World War II dog tags, bullfighting stubs from Pamplona and some boastful logs covering his Cuban fishing trips.
Film buffs have three good reasons to explore the city outside of a movie theater: See early sketches of Woody, Wall-E and Remy the Rat in Pixar: The Design of Story, opening October 8 at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, as well as storyboards from Up and this year’s critical darling, Inside Out. An early experiment, 1986’s Luxo Jr., will also be screened. Meanwhile, on October 9, the New-York Historical Society will debut Superheroes in Gotham, a look at the history of caped crusaders like Batman and Superman, and how they were conceived and developed by artists and writers working in New York City. The show traces their introduction in comic books published in NYC starting in the 1930s through their dominance of the big-screen box office today. And at the Museum of the Moving Image, get an in-depth look at the phenomenon of cats on the Internet with How Cats Took Over the Internet, a show that details many of the countless videos, memes and other digital ephemera that humans have shared about their feline friends.
For 100 years, the Hill-and-Pond Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has been one of the few ways to experience a real Japanese garden here in the City. For its anniversary, six large works by Japanese-American designer and artist Isamu Noguchi will dot the landscape; more Noguchi sculptures will appear in other gardens on the grounds. (The Noguchi Museum celebrates its own 30th anniversary in October.)
Want more Japan? For a New World to Come: Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography (opening September 11 at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery and October 9 at Japan Society) shows a huge range of photography-based works from 29 of the most famous Japanese artists in the 1970s. Among them: highlights from Nobuyoshi Araki, still working today and publisher of more than 350 books; and Jiro Takamatsu, whose seemingly playful shadow photographs make all-too-sober reference to the imprints left on walls in Hiroshima. And on October 20, the Museum of Arts and Design hosts a show of 12 “kogei” artists, specialists in the 18th-century technique of making plates, vessels and other ceramic tokens.
For hardcore art buffs, two shows this fall are required viewing: Greater New York, opening October 11 at PS1, is a helpful compendium of New York art over the last five years, while Jim Shaw: The End Is Here, opening October 7 at the New Museum, is the first comprehensive collection of the Los Angeles–based artist in New York City since he first hit with his riotous airbrush paintings in 1981. A little more subdued, the Whitney Museum opens a retrospective of minimalist master Frank Stellaon October 30 that will fill the fifth floor of the new location near the High Line.
Across the New York Harbor, the Staten Island Museum—which is currently displaying an engaging show of Civil War prints by photographer Michael Falco—hosts the grand opening of a wing in Snug Harbor on September 19 and 20. During your SI visit, make time to see the National Lighthouse Museum, at the St. George Ferry Terminal. Snag a ticket to one of the lighthouse boat tours, offered once a month, for evidence that Maine hasn’t cornered the market on rocky architecture in the northeast.
Shezad Dawood: It was a time that was a time
Through November 1
The London-based artist takes over the former Red Hook factory building with a show highlighted by a postapocalyptic film made during his residence at the on-site studio, and shot on Coney Island, the Far Rockaways and Staten Island.
Franz West: Furniture Works
Gagosian Gallery (Madison Avenue)
Through November 7
The cerebral Austrian designer illustrates the difference between art and design in elegant fashion here with his Artist’s Chairs, a selection of rainbow-colored simple pieces of furniture that his foundation has produced over the last year.
Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch
Museum at FIT
Through December 5
For a slice of the fabulous world of nightlife queen Susanne Bartsch, head to FIT to see the wild outfits worn by the fashion muse since the 1980s—including some eye-popping numbers by the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. Nearly 80 looks in all still can’t do justice to the spectacle of this unique New Yorker.
Kongo: Power and Majesty
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Through January 3, 2016
Although every schoolkid knows that in 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, very few (if any at all) know about the voyage nine years earlier of a different explorer, Diogo Cão, who, under the Portuguese banner, established the first European presence along the Congo River. This exhibition illustrates what the colonialists found, and what happened there over the next 400 or so years.
Museum of Stones
The Noguchi Museum
October 7–January 10, 2016
For the first time in its 30-year history, the Noguchi Museum—across the street from the former Queens home and studio of Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi—will have outside artists showing their work in its galleries. More than 50 pieces will attempt to illustrate the difference between mere rock and the sculptor’s stone. Also on hand: a small array of Chinese art—scholars’ rocks, rock-oriented paintings and decorative stone items—on loan from the Met, to add historical context.