Click to skip to site content

Urbana’s Guide to Upper East Side Exhibitions: Fall/Winter 2019/2020

There are 32 museums in the 22.82 square miles that comprise the island of Manhattan. It certainly isn’t breaking news that the city is a vibrant haven of the arts, but its prominence in this realm is difficult to overstate. Between The Met, MoMA, the Guggenheim, and The Frick Collection, the Upper East Side is positively overflowing with world-class institutions. Here are a few of our favorite upcoming exhibitions on or near Museum Mile—and extremely convenient to Urbana’s luxury Fifth Avenue apartments for rent.


In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection  | The Met

Sandy Schreier has amassed a stunning and robust collection of couture fashions from the twentieth century. And from November 27th, 2019 through May 17th, 2020, 80 pieces from her prized collection will be featured at The Met at the foot of Museum Mile. For anyone interested in fashion, this is an absolute must-see. There will be extraordinarily rare pieces on display that chart the evolution of high-fashion in France and the United States. 


Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now | The Guggenheim

There aren’t many photographers—or artists in general—that were as influential and controversial as Robert Mapplethorpe. Known for pushing boundaries and making social statements through his work, Mapplethorpe liked to make people uncomfortable; he preyed on preconceived notions and worked to shatter convention and decorum at every turn. Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now, an acclaimed two-part exhibition just six blocks north of The Met at the Guggenheim, features an array of photos from Mapplethorpe himself as well as a collection of images from other artists who seek to explore identity through photography. The show closes on January 5th, so act quickly.


Bertoldo di Giovanni: The Renaissance of Sculpture in Medici Florence | The Frick Collection 

The Frick Collection, which is on Fifth Avenue but a little south of Museum Mile, continues its renowned series on Renaissance sculptors with an exhibition of nearly all of the legendary Italian artist Bertoldo di Giovanni’s sculptures, running through January 12th, 2020. Giovanni worked with many different metals and even branched out to wood and terra-cotta. His oeuvre, which ranges from pieces as small as coins to full-size sculptures on pedestals, is truly exquisite and all but begs to be seen in person. 


The Legends of “Black Girl’s Window” | MoMA

Betye Saar’s work always tells a story. She has an irrepressible talent for bringing people into her world. A legendary and profoundly influential African American artist, printmaker, and activist, Saar can’t help but make deep statements about society and history. Her creations are not passive; they are beautiful, and they are here to be reckoned with. MoMA’s new exhibition, which runs through January 4th, is the first “dedicated examination” of her printmaking work. It’s composed of 42 early pieces, and it deserves a “dedicated” visit to MoMA, which neighbors the Upper East Side on 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.