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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.

  • Alexander Hamilton: Striver, Statesman, Scoundrel

    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
    Open now. Ends December 31st, 2016.

    Alexander Hamilton, an orphaned immigrant from the Caribbean, acted as George Washington’s top aide in the American Revolution, created the American financial system, and waged ideological battles against Thomas Jefferson in the earliest days of American political parties. His vision, ambition, and voluminous writings inspired his admirers, enflamed his opponents, and continue to captivate contemporary audiences. In this exhibition, The New York Public Library presents a selection of its holdings to illuminate the many facets of Alexander Hamilton—a striver, statesman, and scoundrel.

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  • Preserving a Masterpiece: From Soaring Ceilings to Subterranean Storage

    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
    Open now. Ends October 9th, 2016.

    Celebrate the legacy of The New York Public Library’s iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street with our new exhibition, Preserving a Masterpiece: From Soaring Ceilings to Subterranean Storage. Known as the People’s Palace, this library is a monumental oasis for New Yorkers who need a quiet place to read, a well of information for scholars, and a must-see destination for visitors from all around the world.

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  • Protests in Print

    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
    Open now. Ends January 18th, 2017.

    The term “alternative press” is used by librarians, publishers, authors, and artists to group together forms of print that diverge from the production and distribution methods of conventionally published materials. As a platform for both personal expression and social justice activism, this alternative print culture continues to play a vital role in the dissemination of information not included in mainstream publications. Although the hierarchy between conventionally and alternatively published media is far from balanced, the initiatives taken by marginalized communities to personally represent their lived experiences is a radical attempt to equalize the production, distribution, and consumption of information.

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  • Splendour Among Shadows

    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
    Open now. Ends September 28th, 2016.

    In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of The New York Public Library’s Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle, the Library presents a new exhibition, Splendour Among Shadows: Celebrating 30 Years of the Pforzheimer Collection at The New York Public Library. The Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle is one of the most prominent repositories for the study of British Romanticism. Scholars from around the world, as well as high school classes, artists, and historians, visit the Library to explore its holdings. It is also one of the most narrowly focused of the Library’s special collections.

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  • “Laughter, Agita, and Rage”: Political Cabaret in Isaiah Sheffer’s New York

    New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center
    Open now. Ends December 31st, 2016.

    In August 2004, the Republican Convention was held at Madison Square Garden. On those evenings, Isaiah Sheffer and Martin Sage stage the first three Thalia Follies at Sheffer's Symphony Space. They were inspired, as the press release promised "by the traditions of European cabaret and American anti-war protest.” That combination of song and dance with parodies inspired by political themes had flavored New York’s entertainment scene since the 1930s.

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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.

  • "Somos Latinas" Por Ernesto Camacho

    Bronx Library Center
    Open now. Ends September 30th, 2016.


     “This exhibition portrays Latinas in a state of elegance in different scenarios, and more importantly, in papyri of different colors that stems from an amazing history in an array of moods and Colors, often, being viewed as one hue”.

    “My definition of Latina is: Who's a Latina?”

    “Latino/la teeno/ (plural-nos)  A fusion of different people from distant lands who came together with the indigenous populous thru a turbulent past, and blossomed into a new type of people made up of different hues, textured hairs, and colored eyes; all under the umbrella of one language... ...Latino”.

    Artist Statement:

    Ernest Camacho

    I was born and raised in the South Bronx during the 70’s when it was burning down. Those days left indelible impressions in my mind and heart that I will cherish down till this day. Many of these memories included the sound of congas echoing off the project walls late into the summer evenings; 

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  • Ana C. Traversa: Drawings and Paintings Exhibition

    Bloomingdale Library
    Open now. Ends September 30th, 2016.

    Ana C. Traversa -USA-Patagonia. She is an independent artist, painter, sculptor and an instructor who has worked extensively throughout the five boroughs of New York and exhibited abroad in museums, private and public organizations that have been around for more than 100 years.

    She has exhibited at Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, New York Historical Society, MOMA, International Center of Photography, University of Virginia, Museum of Mayan Culture, Mexico, National Museum of Oriental Art, Buenos Aires, Argentina and other prestigious organizations.

    In 2002 she was awarded the Silver Medal of “Arts Sciences and Letters”, the highest honor given to an artist in France by the Academy of Arts founded in 1905.

    In 2011 she was awarded by the Provincial Legislature of the Province Rio Negro, Argentina. Her work has been declared as Educational and Cultural Heritage.

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  • 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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  • Ka-Man Tse Photography

    Mulberry Street Library
    Open now. Ends September 28th, 2016.

    by Ka-Man Tse

    June 1 to September 28, 2016

    These photographs are part of an ongoing investigation surrounding notions of home, family, identity and community. My image-making is informed by the points of intersection between the LGBTQ and the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community; and what is shared, divergent, and negotiated between these two seemingly disparate worlds. Using mostly a large format view camera (there are two sides per film holder), my photographs offer B-sides: a mix-tape of queer narratives and portraiture, memories and obsessions,

    What does it mean to look, what does it mean to be seen? Whose histories are told or visible? I am a photographer searching for an image of possibility. In these photographs, I think about issues of access and disclosure, visibility and protection; visibility and resistance. In the contested and contingent spaces in Hong Kong, New York, and in the home, occupying a space, a conversation and 

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  • Katherine Knauer | Big Eye, Version 2 | Art Wall on Third Exhibition Series

    Mid-Manhattan Library
    Open now. Ends January 3rd, 2017.

    The Art and Picture Collections present the site-specific textile exhibition by artist Katherine Knauer. Big Eye, Version 2 is a trompe l’oeil wall cloth, sponge-printed to appear as a brick wall.  In the center is an enormous single eye staring straight out at the viewer, referencing the ubiquity of security cameras in public areas, retail spaces and institutions, and the sense of being constantly observed. The artist created the eye image with multiple processes, including silk-screened and hand-stenciled fabrics, digitally printed fabrics, hand and machine appliqué, patchwork, machine quilting, twill tape and commercially printed fabrics.

    One of a group of artists who espouse “Semper Tedium” (an invented pseudo-Latin term referring to the embrace of labor-intensive technique), Katherine Knauer created the eye image with multiple processes, including silk-screened and hand-stenciled fabrics, digitally printed fabrics, hand and machine appliqué, patchwork, machine 

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  • Katherine Knauer | Observed | Art in the Windows Exhibition Series

    Mid-Manhattan Library
    Open now. Ends November 30th, 2016.

    On view day and night

    The Art and Picture Collections present the site-specific textile exhibition Observed by artist Katherine Knauer. The small Fifth Avenue windows are lined in fabrics designed by Katherine Knauer and commercially printed with repeating images of eyes staring out at the viewer.  The focus of the south vitrine is a framed detail of Rembrandt’s alarmed-looking 1630 self-portrait, enlarged and transformed by adding color and through the use of PhotoShop, then silk-screened onto fabric and layered over coordinating fabric prints. 

    The north vitrine, lined in a different fabric print that continues the theme, contains a three-dimensional collage of various eye images printed on card stock, then stitched together in assorted Jacob’s Ladder configurations. These pieces can also be considered to be a form of Artist's Books.

    This exhibition is a companion to her Art Wall on Third exhibition at the Art Collection on the 3rd floor of 

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  • Paul Sunday | Archive / Improv | Photo Walls in Picture Collection Exhibition Series

    Mid-Manhattan Library
    Open now. Ends February 15th, 2017.

    The Art and Picture Collections present the site-specific photography exhibition Archive / Improv by artist and educator Paul Sunday. In this new body of work, the artist riffs on a long held fascination with minimalism and the camera. Improvising in the studio and treating images from his personal archive as materials, Paul Sunday creates collage oriented pictures that look at the photo as an object. Deadpan still images are placed into whimsical studio sets with a hint of surrealist humor. Combining elements of process and play, the images explore borders between photography, installation, painting and sculpture.

    Artist, curator, and cofounder of Minus Space Matthew Deleget joins Paul Sunday for An Artist Dialogue Series event on Saturday December 3 at 2:30 p.m. inside the Corner Room 

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  • Seward Park Library and Feargal Doyle Present "Ultramarine"

    Seward Park Library
    Open now. Ends January 2nd, 2017.

    Seward Park Library and Feargal Doyle Present: “Ultramarine” Exhibit on display from Friday, September 9, 2016 – Monday, January 2, 2017 Seward Park Library Art Wall Gallery on the 3rd floor Join us on Monday, September 26 at 6 pm for a reception.


    Originally from Ireland, Feargal Doyle now lives and works in New York. He moved to New York in 2012 via Thailand, where he and his family spent two years on a life transforming adventure. It was during this time that he turned to painting as his life's passion. Prior to that his career had been in architecture - working for several years with New York based ‘starchitect’ Daniel Libeskind on projects in his native Dublin and in Berlin - and in theatre where he worked as a set designer.

    In his painting, Doyle is guided by the intuitive embodied wisdom of the hand. His paintings depict memories of people, places and events through the lens of his own experiential 

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  • Sue Willis | The Upper Worlds | Art in the Corner Room Exhibition Series

    Mid-Manhattan Library
    Open now. Ends January 22nd, 2017.

    Unless there is a program or event the Corner Room, hours are the same as Mid-Manhattan Library hours.

    The Art and Picture Collections present the site-specific sculpture exhibition The Upper Worlds created by artist and academic Sue Willis. A companion to her Art in the Windows site-specific installation of the same title, this exhibition includes works representing the upper worlds, and consists of life-size porcelain and faux-fur wildlife, small human figures and the tree of life in three columns of silk flowers and mixed materials. The sculptural installations in the two large scale windows facing Fifth Avenue reflect unity and transcendence, occurring when our collective positive energies reach critical mass, and also an aftermath of destruction with cause for hope.

    In additon to the Fifth 

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  • Tactile exhibition: The architecture of identity, celebrating history and a shared vision for peace

    Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library
    Open now. Ends October 10th, 2016.

    Presented by the Institute for Digital Archeology


    "Centered around Palmyra’s ancient triumphal arch, this exhibition represents the launch of a bigger project in collaboration with the UK’s Royal National Institute for the Blind, the USA’s National Federation of the Blind, and the New York public Library to develop and deploy 3D printing technology to help to make architectural cultural heritage — something which is traditionally very hard for those with low or no vision to experience — more accessible. We aim, also, to draw attention to the extent to which emerging technologies have the power to transform the museum and gallery experience into one which is more welcoming, inclusive, and inspiring for those who cannot see."   A total of seven tactile exhibits complete with braille, large print, and audio exhibition guide will explore the key architectural and decorative features of this ancient structure. The exhibition will travel across the United Read More ›
  • The Bowery: Past, Present and Future on NYC's Oldest Thoroughfare

    Ottendorfer Library
    Open now. Ongoing.

    This exhibition briefly surveys the Bowery’s historical and cultural significance, and its difficult future in an age of overdevelopment. 


    Stretching 1.25 miles from Chatham Square to Cooper Square, with architecture representing every decade from the 1780s to the present, the Bowery was a Native American foot trail, Dutch farm road, Washington’s march route during

    British evacuation, and the site of Manhattan’s first free Black settlements. 

    The Bowery has important links to tap dance, tattoo, vaudeville, Yiddish theater, Abe Lincoln, Stephen Foster, Irving Berlin, and Harry Houdini.    In the 1800s, it was a scene of interaction for gangs, gays, Blacks, the working class and the immigrant Irish, Italians, Chinese, Jews, and Germans.  In the second half of the 1900s, it became an affordable jewelry, lighting and restaurant supply district; quietly nurtured a cutting edge artists’ colony, and helped launch Abstract Expressionism, 

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  • The Brooklyn Watercolor Society: "WATERCOLOR ETUDES"

    Riverside Library
    Open now. Ends October 3rd, 2016.

    The Brooklyn Watercolor Society is pleased to offer an exhibit of its members' work to the Riverside Library community from September 7-October 3rd, 2016.  There willl be a special "Meet all the Artists" event with demonstrations and participation by the public on Saturday, September 24th from 1-2 pm followed by a reception from 2-4 pm.  

    All visitors are sure to enjoy the technical and artistic merit of these works.  

    *Please note that when the space is used for branch programming viewing of exhibit may not be available .

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  • Traces of Sepharad (Huellas de Sefarad): Etchings of Judeo-Spanish Proverbs

    Inwood Library
    Open now. Ends October 22nd, 2016.

    Forty-five etchings by artist and Inwood resident Marc Shanker illustrating Ladino proverbs, proverbs in the medieval Spanish spoken by and preserved by the Spanish Jews after their expulsion in 1492.

    Mr. Shanker's naive drawing style mirrors the proverbs' spirit, transforming them into simple images without sacrificing their complex meanings. The etchings reflect the proverbs' appealing mix of common sense, timeless wisdom, pithy humor and irreverence. 

    Marc Shanker rejected a formal academic art education and worked in the labor movement. He is the author of a number of books, including "But a Bubble", "Man, a Machine of Absurdities", and "Cheap Gems, Precious Rocks." He is the founder of Gravity Free Press and has an extensive exhibition history. His work can be seen on Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Youtube and at Meet the artist on Sunday, September 18th from 2pm - 4pm. Light 

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  • Vithya Truong: Paintings

    Jefferson Market Library
    Open now. Ends September 30th, 2016.


    Artist  - I was born and raised in Thailand to Vietnamese parents.  At age 12, I moved to a Chicago suburb to be with my extended family.  After college, I moved to New York City and completed my MFA (2007) at the New York Academy of Art.  Since then, I’ve been quietly painting in my little New York City bedroom/studio.

    Artist Statement - I am fascinated with how life informs painting, and painting informs life.  I rely on my life’s experiences and visual intuition to guide me. My subjects are ordinary and they usually come from my surroundings: my wife’s coffee maker, my daughters’ toys, her friends, or a picnic bench at the park.  When a subject sparks my interest, I quickly sketch it.  One of these sketches later becomes a reference for my paintings.  I prefer using these drawings to help me begin painting because they provide just enough information for a point of departure; therefore, I am forced to imagine, take chances, make 

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