NYC Hidden Art Gems
When I first got to New York City, I was eager to explore as many art museums as I could. Along the way, I discovered the hidden art gems and forgotten spaces that became more powerful to me to visit than just any art museum. Though these spaces seem out of the way, they are easily accessible to the public and are open year round.
Janet Cardiff is known for creating sound walks throughout the world. We are fortunate to have one in our very own Central Park. If you love sound art, add this to the top of your list. Part performance piece and part walking meditation, the experience takes you on a real sound journey. One special aspect that distinguishes this work from the other hidden art gems is that it isn’t a physical work or gallery you can visit. Rather, it is much more abstract in its attempt to explore the medium of sound. This is a free experience that can be found and downloaded here.
Most prominent in the 1960’s, Max Neuhaus, a musician and artist, often used music in uncanny ways throughout his career. He allowed musicians to play instruments without practicing and allowed the act of uncertainty to take over his work. In the middle of Times Square, you can find one of his works under the streets of NYC. It is so hidden that you have to really focus to hear the “harmonic sound texture” that emanates from the floor in one of the loudest spaces on earth.
The Tank in NYC is an incredible initiative that works to give artists a platform that will enhance their careers. My favorite part about The Tank is how they allow visual artists that are interested in pursuing or testing out other passions, such as stand up comedy, a space to do so. This allows artists to loosen up as they can engage with other artists that have common aspirations, rather than going to a more intimidating location specifically for stand up comedy. It is a true place for exploration and growing beyond one’s comfort zone.
Just an hour away from New York City is one of the best sculpture parks I have ever been to. Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey is a great space for sculpture enthusiasts but also for those looking to get out of the city for a day. Not only were the sculptures powerful, but their placement within the gardens were so well curated that it makes each piece unforgetable. As you roam around, you will also stumble upon interior gallery spaces that have interactive works inside.
Most prominent in the 1960’s, Walter De Maria is an icon for American sculpture. When I first entered, I thought that I would be able to walk around the room, but was quickly informed that you are only allowed to look at the work. Not only is this one of the most unusual works I have seen, but it has an incredible smell as well. When I looked out at the room, I found it most fascinating just how much I wanted to interact with the space, and how the restriction of doing so impacts your entire perception of this work. While not recommended for anyone truly rebellious or oppositional (just kidding) the experience of the restriction is an interesting personal experiment worth trying.
One of my favorite ways to escape the city is going to the Dream House in NYC. It is hard to believe that this space exists, as it feels like a time capsule or another dimension when you enter it. Dream house is a collaborative piece made by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. It combines sound and light in ways that may make you feel either calm or completely dizzy. Every time you move across the space, you hear a different sound, smell a different smell, or see a different shadow. A majority of art galleries and museums switch out their collections and works, but this space is permanent. As you are invited in the space, you are allowed to sleep on the floor and stay there until they close. Adult nap time can now truly be a thing!
Netanel Saso is a BFA student at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. She is originally from Tel Aviv in Israel, and moved to the United States at a young age. At the Cooper Union, she is primarily grounded in printmaking and the moving image. Her work plays with trust as she recreates through manipulation and exploration of space in a whimsical manner, the original state of objects, childhood memories, and found footage. Her passion for art and education grew when she worked as an assistant and teacher at Studio Arts Dallas in Texas and volunteered at the Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art. She is currently a volunteer at the Rubin Museum of Art. As a VAR Fellow, she looks forward to working towards her dream of opening her own creative art studio for all ages in the future.