A Grand Art Tour in New York City

From the Instituto Cervantes to Scandinavia House.

Italian Street Artsit BR1 Wall Mural

Anybody can take a grand tour of the world’s art while staying right here in the city. Below is a short itinerary for the New Yorker who wants to travel across cultures by taxi (or Uber), rather than by plane.

“From Street to Art,” Italian Cultural Institute, 688 Park Avenue, closes August 20.
The Italian Cultural Institute is holding the first New York exhibition of Italian street art, displaying mural and graffiti works from 10 street artists. “From Street to Art” looks at the past two decades of Italian urban art, featuring the work of street artists Agostino Iacurci, Aris, BR1, Cyop&Kaf, Dem, Eron, Hitnes, Sten&Lex, Ufo5, and 2501.


A poster by street artist BR1, whose work appears at the Italian Cultural Institute.
Photo: Italian Cultural Institute.

“Unity of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt and the Americas,” Americas Society, 680 Park Avenue, closes July 26.
Here in one small room at the Americas Society is a gallery full of 19th-century landscape paintings, old books and journals, and a history of the travels of Alexander von Humboldt, a man who apparently charted and explored half of South America. The paintings are by Norton Bush, Louis Rémy Mignot, Frederic Edwin Church, and Julius Schrader, and depict landscape scenes inspired by Humboldt’s travels. The trees, the mountains, the rocks, the streams, the shrubbery—all are animated with a spirit of awe.

Installation view of Unity of Nature Alexander von Humboldt and the Americas. Photo Beatriz Meseguer

Installation view, “Unity of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt and the Americas” at the Americas Society.
Photo: Beatriz Meseguer.

“Fernando de Szyszlo: Elogio a las Sombras,” Instituto Cervantes, 211-215 East 49th Street, closes July 6.
Stepping off the European continent, and heading towards South America, I’ve found a show that blends reality with nightmare. Assembled by the Instituto Cervantes, this retrospective features 22 of the works of Peruvian painter Fernando de Szyszlo. They span the years 1950–2012.

Fernando de Szyszlo, "Elogio a las Sombras," at the Instituto Cervantes.<br> Photo via lavacamulticolorby.blogspot.mx.

Fernando de Szyszlo, “Elogio a las Sombras” at the Instituto Cervantes.
Photo via lavacamulticolorby.blogspot.mx.

“The St. Petersburg Paradox,” Swiss Institute, 18 Wooster Street, closes August 17.
“The St. Petersburg Paradox,” centering on the theme of gambling and risk, features works by 13 artists ranging from Dadaists Marcel Duchamp and Jean Arp to contemporary artists Barbara Bloom and Sarah Ortmeyer. The media varies: collages, video art, installation work, and lithographs. One area of the space is devoted to Cayetano Ferrer’s Remnant Recomposition (2014), an installation collage of pieced-together, brightly colored carpet sections, mimicking the carpeting of an over-stimulated casino.


Marcel Duchamp, Monte Carlo Bond (1938). 
Photo: Courtesy Rhonda Roland Shearer, New York, and Roger Walton, Miami.

“Sámi Stories: Art and Identity of an Arctic People,” Scandinavia House, 58 Park Avenue, closes August 23.
This exhibition features the work of the Sámi, the indigenous peoples of Scandinavia. The show is a mix of contemporary cultural artifacts, as well as paintings, woodcuts, photographs, and embroidery.

John Savio, Chiermagak (Reindeer Calves), n.d. Woodcut on paper.

John Savio’s Chiermagak, Reindeer Calves (undated), woodcut on paper, at Scandinavia House.
Photo: Courtesy Scandinavia House.


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