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Exhibitions at NYPL


The New York Public Library offers free major exhibitions and special displays at three of its research library locations—the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Library for Performing Arts, and Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture—and community showcases at many of its circulating branch locations throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. See what’s showing right now.

Current Exhibitions

Exhibitions are major presentations on wide-ranging subjects in galleries and similar spaces at research library locations.

  • 140 Years of Grooved Media: Highlights from the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound

    New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center
    Open now. Ongoing.

    A current case exhibit on the third floor of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts features a selection of grooved media recordings from the Rodgers & Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound. The exhibit celebrates the 140th anniversary of the invention of sound recording, in which sound waves were traced as grooves on a surface.Read More ›
  • Black Power!

    Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
    Open now. Ends December 30th, 2017.

    On view in the Main Exhibition Hall | Curated by Dr. Sylviane A. Diouf

    The concept of Black Power was introduced by Stokely Carmichael and fellow Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) worker Willie Ricks in June 1966. Like no other ideology before, the multiform and ideologically diverse movement shaped black consciousness and identity and left an immense legacy that continues to inform the contemporary American landscape.

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  • Drawn from the Clouds: Mid-Century Airline Pictorial Maps

    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
    Open now. Ends September 11th, 2017.

    This display features cartographic works selected from the Library's collection of over 1,800 pictorial maps and focuses on the use of this genre in print advertisements by commercial airlines during the first half of the 20th century. On view are several vibrant pictorial “route maps” designed for a variety of international airlines. Each illustrates the delicate marriage of art and commerce in mid-century map making. This display also includes vintage postcards published in the 1940s to advertise the new  “La Guardia Field” (LaGuardia Airport), New York City’s longest operating municipal airport.

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  • Hilary Knight’s Stage Struck World

    New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center
    Open now. Ends September 1st, 2017.

    Hilary Knight was born stage-struck, ninety years ago. Best known as the illustrator of the American classic Eloise, he cites the performing arts as the single greatest influence on his life and career.

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  • Love in Venice

    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
    Open now. Ends August 26th, 2017.

    This exhibition is part of Carnegie Hall’s citywide festival La Serenissima: Music and Arts from the Venetian Republic.

    A tolerant and secular state, the Venetian Republic originated in the lagoon communities around Venice and existed for half a millennium, from 1297 until 1797. Dominated by a merchant capitalist elite who did business through sea trade, the Republic of Venice enjoyed an autonomy and freedom that was not typical of the rest of Italy, and which for centuries made it a destination for love and pleasure.

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  • Power in Print

    Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
    Open now. Ends March 31st, 2018.

    Power in Print explores the art of the Black Power movement poster, showcasing a variety of aesthetics, styles, and messaging strategies. This collection-based exhibition pulls together dozens of posters from the Schomburg Center’s Art and Artifacts Division. The display also includes a selection of iconic imagery by artist, designer, and former Minister of Culture of the Black Panther Party, Emory Douglas. Both at the time and in our historical memory, Douglas’s designs came to visually communicate the ideals of Black Power and the political stances of the Black Panther Party.

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  • Radical Bodies: Anna Halprin, Simone Forti, and Yvonne Rainer in California and New York, 1955 - 1972

    New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center
    Open now. Ends September 16th, 2017.

    In August 1960, the choreographer Anna Halprin, the inventor of task-based improvisation, taught an experimental workshop on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais, north of San Francisco, attended by Simone Forti and Yvonne Rainer. Within two years, Forti’s conceptually forceful dance constructions premiered in Yoko Ono’s loft in New York and Rainer co-founded the groundbreaking Judson Dance Theater. Radical Bodies examines the artistic relationships between Halprin, Forti, and Rainer, shedding light on each artist’s contribution to history. Dance was a conceptual engine of the art world in the 1960s. Halprin, Forti, and Rainer, all Californians with Jewish roots, opened the way to a radicalized, communitarian vision for performance that continues to influence choreographers and visual artists around the world to the present day.

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Community Showcases

Community Showcases are presentations of different sizes at select branch locations in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island that speak to community interests and highlight the work of groups, organizations, and individuals.

  • Anita Thacher - Caravan

    Mulberry Street Library
    Open now. Ends January 1st, 2018.

    We are pleased to invite you to the viewing of the site-specific installation Caravan, a lively painted frieze by Anita Thacher in The Community Room on Lower Level 2 of the Mulberry Street Branch of the New York Public Library.  Playful shapes and colors address the architecture of the room in a long march along one wall, while the shapes are echoed in neutral gray and white along the facing wall. These flag-like bands of rough cotton are embellished with barely visible gold embroidery threads in tribute to historic friezes. Library patrons of all ages – from babies to seniors set Caravan in motion. The work is on display indefinitely, during library hours.

    A reception for Caravan will be held on Saturday December 12, 2015 from 2 - 4:30 pm in the Community Room of Mulberry Street Library on Lower Level 2. 

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  • Away! An Exhibition by the National Association of Women Artists

    Mulberry Street Library
    Open now. Ends September 7th, 2017.

    Summertime -- a time for change, a time for fancy, a time for elsewhere…

    Lifestyles change. Rhythms change. New possibilities emerge.

    New realms to explore.

    All here. All for you. Summer in the city. Summer at the shore.

    Or away... in your imagination.

    The National Association of Women Artists--the first American women artists

    fine art association--established in 1889, in New York City--and now going strong nationwide --explores these possibilities in "AWAY!," presented

    July 1-September 7, 2017, in the lower level Community Room/Gallery at the Mulberry Street Library, 10 Jersey Street, New York, NY 10012.

    (Reception Saturday, July 15, 2-4pm)


    Come away with us, find a refreshing way into your dreams.

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  • Fred Gutzeit - Four Sidewalks

    Mulberry Street Library
    Open now. Ends December 30th, 2017.

    These four canvases are part of a series of 60 paintings, that started with a painting of a single section of sidewalk.  This was a section of concrete not far from the Mulberry Street Library on Houston Street.  That painting in 1975 was of the bright sunlight on the sidewalk at noon.  Twenty more followed including early morning light, afternoon cloudy light, light from a rain-wet sidewalk, light from a reflected neon sign in a rain puddle, and a fantasy (dream sequence of concrete aggregate forming into geometric patterns).The series of 21 paintings formed a cycle moving from dawn to “new” dawn.  These paintings are 46 inches high, and others are various sizes including works on paper .  The four six foot high canvases here are variations on the patterns of the aggregate – into shifting planes of first dawn and new dawn patterns.Patricia Eakins, in American Artist Magazine – October 1975, says:“Thus these paintings are not really about sidewalks or even 

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  • Kevin Lustik: Needlepoint and Cross-Stitch

    Mulberry Street Library
    Open now. Ends August 31st, 2017.

    Kevin Lustik, a self-taught artist, has been sewing for over 30 years.  He started by creating quilts, then moved on to original needlepoint designs.  Kevin also employs an original technique of embroidering yarn and thread into found photographs.  Highlights of his collection include a self-portrait, a New York subway map, abstract pieces, and Woman Smoking a Cigarette.  Kevin’s artwork has been exhibited in several venues around Manhattan and will be on display at the Mulberry Branch for the months of July & August of 2017.  

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  • NER BECK: Manhattan Madrid Barcelona

    Riverside Library
    Open now. Ends July 27th, 2017.

    Come visit the Riverside Library, just adjacent to Lincoln Center, for a special four-part photography exhibition of Ner Beck’s strange and wonderful images shot in New York City, Madrid and Barcelona. First see his collection of quirky found faces lurking within inanimate objects, that seem to possess many of the same emotions and feelings that everyone can relate to. Then view the reflections exhibit wall with prism-like colors that were built naturally from mirrored building windows, water and glass, that then merge into one final layered composition. Enjoy a quad of photos of lost, dropped and discarded personal objects haphazardly lost or left on the streets by fellow New Yorkers. Finally take a stroll down the streets of Madrid and Barcelona to see what buried visual-treasures were discovered and uncovered there. SOME RECENT LIBRARY VISITORS’ COMMENTS: “The artist has eyes and he can see.” “My 17-month old daughter always says “Hi” to one of your smiling face 

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  • Seward Park Library Presents: Tesatawiyat by Mina Ao & Bryce Kanbara

    Seward Park Library
    Open now. Ends September 30th, 2017.

    Seward Park Library Presents:


    by Mina Ao & Bryce Kanbara

    July 5 – September 30

    Artist Reception: Thursday, August 3, 6-8pm

    Tesatawiyat means "come in" in Mohawk. This is a photo project by Mina Ao and Bryce Kanbara, with members of the Aboriginal community in the Hamilton region (Ontario, Canada), sharing their stories in their homes. This project started almost three years ago as an attempt to foster understanding between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. Ao and Kanbara began by introducing themselves to the Aboriginal community in Hamilton and educating themselves about the culture and the community's concerns. During that time, the public focus on Aboriginal issues in Canada was sharpened by events such as The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Idle No More and the call for a national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

    For news and exhibition updates of the project:

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  • Spirits by the Sea: Sculpture and Photography by Robert Oxnam

    53rd Street Library
    Open now. Ends September 20th, 2017.


    For its first exhibition, 53rd Street NYPL has selected the art works of Robert Oxnam, well-known China specialist and former Asia Society president.  Over the past decade, Oxnam has focused what he calls “a Chinese eye” on the coastline of the North Fork of Long Island.   The NYPL exhibition is the first comprehensive show of Oxnam’s works – featuring thirty sculptures and ten photographs.

    The sculptures are crafted out of “found wood” from beaches and forests.  Inspired by the famous Chinese “scholars' rocks,” Oxnam seeks to reveal the inner energy in each salvaged piece of wood, using organic paints and waxes to enliven the surfaces.  And when it comes to photographs, Oxnam focuses his lens on small sections of glacial rocks, revealing what William Blake called “seeing the world in a grain of sand.”   The exhibition will take advantage of the NYPL’s spacious modern architecture by presenting groups of sculptures in the 

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  • Touchable Fiber Art Exhibit by Auspicious Stitches

    Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library
    Open now. Ends September 8th, 2017.


    From June 24th through the summer, the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library's Community Room will host a display of fabric art made by our Auspicious Stitches crafting group. Much of the work was inspired by Himalayan art and culture and features themes of Buddhism and nature. Most of the work is invitingly touchable – check out the techniques of silk knotting, bead work, paper rolls, applique, embroidery, yo-yos, and other skills on the fabric art pieces, including a sampler of skills made exclusively for Heiskell to pique your interest. 

    Auspicious Stitches is a volunteer-run, non-affiliated,  long standing, two-hour coming together of participants who range from new to experienced handcrafters who enjoy discovering and creating individual and/or group needlework and fabric art projects. It is free and open to all. Meets Mondays from 12 Noon to 2:00 PM

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  • Winter Gardens and Seedheads

    St. Agnes Library
    Open now. Ends July 31st, 2017.


    This month St. Agnes Library is featuring a photography exhibition by Upper West resident Mildred Alpern. The theme of the photography exhibition is Winter Gardens and Seedheads, one arc of the ongoing bud-flower-seed cycle. Each month St. Agnes features a different visual artist to display at our library. It is very popular with our patrons, especially when we display a new artist.

    Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Mildred is a a graduate of Girls’ Latin School, Boston University, and Columbia University Teachers College. She first arrived in New York in 1953 and has lived in the Upper West Side since 1996.  A former teacher of modern European History, she has also worked as a consultant for the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program, publishing articles and student guides. Photography themes include natural and urban landscapes, primarily in New York City and upstate New York. A regular contributor to online blog Mirrorless Photo Tips, her photos have 

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