After months of an at-home, eye-watering art diet of digitally-mediated exhibitions, New Yorkers were finally able to resume museum going starting the last week of August.
The phase-four reopening meant that institutions, which had been on lockdown since mid-March, could once again operate with visitors—as well as hand sanitizer, face masks, and temperature checks. Though the Met and MoMA are used to welcoming tens of thousands of visitors each day, now they can only host a fraction of those numbers.
People outside the Metropolitan Museum as the city continues phase four. Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images.
As more reopenings continued throughout Labor Day weekend, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Natural History Museum, photographers captured the surreal images of a socially-distanced art-going public.
At the Met, for the first time ever, artist-designed panels greeted visitors instead of exhibition advertisements, and banners by Yoko Ono proved hopeful and inspiring. Meanwhile, at MoMA, a tribute to artist Milton Glaser, who died earlier this summer, welcomed post-lockdown visitors with a classic New York logo.
See images of the new normal, below.
Painters pose for a photo after installing an oversized presentation of the iconic “I Love NY” logo designed by Milton Glaser inside the west end of The Museum of Modern Art lobby. Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images.
A woman walks past Jackson Pollock’s Autumn Rhythm Number 30 in the newly reopened MoMA. Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images.
A visitor in front of Van Gogh’s Starry Night at MoMA. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images.
A security guard stands at his post at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images.
A worker checks the body temperature of a visitor outside the Metropolitan Museum as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening. Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images.
A visitor is seen in front of Mexico City-based artist Hector Zamora’s sculptural installation at the Met. (hoto by Selcuk Acar/NurPhoto via Getty Images.
Visitors walk through an exhibition at the newly reopened Whitney Museum of American Art on September 3, 2020 in New York City. Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP via Getty Images.
Visitors walk through an exhibition at the newly reopened Whitney Museum of American Art. Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images.
Visitors at the Met. Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images.
A fully PPE’d young girl visits the Met as it reopened to the public. Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images.
Sheryl Victor-Levy and her daughter Sidney Levy pose inside the lobby of the Museum of the City of New York. Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images.
Members of the American Museum of National History. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images.
People line up inside the entrance on reopening day at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images.
People wearing face masks visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Liao Pan/China News Service via Getty Images.
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Liao Pan/China News Service via Getty Images.
A visitor looks at a piece in the “Collecting New York Stories” exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York. Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images.
Two friends in face masks sit in front of Claude Monet’s paintings at the Metropolitan Museum during its first day open to members since March on August 27, 2020. Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images.
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Members of the American Museum of National History enjoy exhibits on September 02. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images.