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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.

  • Archives of Sound

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

    Archives of Sound is an interactive audio installation created by art collective, Kinokophone.  It is inspired by by The New York Public LIbrary for the Performing Arts's audio colelctions and features prominently unique recordings from The Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound, which is among the largest archives of its kind.  The installation experiments with new ways of presenting archival audio collections, explores sound technology's role in shaping experiences of the past and present and makes the behind-the-scenes world of the audio archives audible.  Listeners will discover the archival practices that bring the audio archive to life and explore aspects of the collection they may otherwise never see nor hear.

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  • Black Power!

    Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
    Open now. Ongoing.

    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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  • Curtain Up: Celebrating the Last 40 Years of Theatre in New York and London

    New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center
    Open now. Ends June 30th, 2017.

    The Society of London Theatre and London's Victoria and Albert Museum have partnered with The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center to celebrate the extraordinary story of the world's two greatest theatrical districts, London's West End and New York's Broadway in a ground-breaking new exhibition—Curtain Up: Celebrating the Last 40 Years of Theatre in New York and London.

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  • David Gordon: Archiveography - Under Construction

    New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center
    Open now. Ends April 6th, 2017.

    This exhibition will be closed Monday, March 6 and will reopen Tuesday, March 7. We apologize for any inconvenience.

    What do you call an artist who would title a work Autobiography of a Liar? A postmodernist.  (Ba dum.) Suzanne Carbonneau, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Journal 2002.

    What do you get when a seminal postmodern choreographer donates his archives? A “reconsideration of conventional archival methodology,” naturally, along with a series of new, experimental workshop performances re-examining the artist’s past. Michael Cooper, The New York Times, January 7, 2016

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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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  • New York’s Stone River: Maps and Profiles of the Erie Canal

    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
    Open now. Ends April 13th, 2017.

    2016 marks 200 years since New York State’s legislature authorized the construction of the Erie Canal, one of the most ambitious public works project in this nation’s history, connecting the farmlands of upstate N.Y. and the American Midwest with the merchants and consumers of New York City. Work on the 363-mile man-made river began on July 4, 1817 and was completed in 1825; originally 40 feet wide and 4 feet deep, its success as a means for transporting people and goods would result in its expansion to 70 feet wide and 7 feet deep in the later half of the 19th century.

    This display features historic survey maps and land elevation profiles with canal vignettes that document the design, construction, and daily use of the Empire State's engineering marvel and "Eighth Wonder of the World"—the Grand Canal.  

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  • Protests in Print

    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
    Open now. Ends April 30th, 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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  • The Spirit of Will Eisner: Celebrating a Graphic Novel Pioneer

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

    The New York Public Library is delighted to celebrate the legacy of Will Eisner (1917–2005) on the centennial anniversary of his birthday this March. Eisner is universally known as a master of visual narrative and commonly recognized as the father of graphic novels. Often remembered for his masked-detective superhero, “the Spirit,” he is considered one of the most innovative and influential comic book artists of the 20th century. He is also widely credited for popularizing the term “graphic novel” with his groundbreaking 1978 publication A Contract with God. The Library holds an array of notable examples from Eisner’s life and career, in addition to an extensive collection of graphic novels and comics spanning the medium’s history. Students, artists, and comic book aficionados visit the Library to learn more about Eisner’s legacy and study the art of graphic storytelling—an art that continues to grow in popularity and reach new audiences.

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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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  • Bobbi Beck’s New York City Days

    Grand Central Library
    Open now. Ends April 1st, 2017.

    Bobbi Beck’s days in New York City are spent visually documenting her life through artworks that are inspired by the events she experiences and then copes with everyday. Living and working in cities can be exhilarating and trying at the same time for most of us, facing many of the same trials and tribulations that test our limits in today’s uncertain seesaw world. Her dreamlike images frequently reflect this same urban dilemma, that we all might have been perplexed by and are always struggling to counterbalance and set back upright again. 

    Her final compositions are constructed and rendered in a way that is difficult to describe, but many have commented that her unique style possess hints of Dali, Escher, Beardsley, Mucha and even Goudy. She morphs, twists and intertwines human and animal forms, combined with natural and mechanical elements that are then embellished with rich decorative shapes and patterns, all referenced from many cultures and histories. Ideas 

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  • Bryan LeBoeuf | Plato's Cave | Art Wall on Third Exhibition Series

    Mid-Manhattan Library
    Open now. Ends March 20th, 2017.

    The Art Collection presents a site-specific painting exhibition titled Plato's Cave by artist Bryan LeBoeuf. The exhibition title is derived from Plato's Allegory of the Cave. At the heart of his famous work, Plato uses this allegory to compare "the effect of education and the lack of it on our nature." The exhibition features two major large paintings that together present open-ended narratives, allowing the viewer free rein of interpretation thereby functioning as the Allegory of the Cave does.

    Acclaimed novelist Simon Van Booy joins Bryan LeBoeuf for An Artist Dialogue Series event on Saturday January 28 at 2:30 p.m. inside the Corner Room on the 1st floor.

    The exhibition series Art Wall on Third is curated by 

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  • Community Puzzle!

    Jefferson Market Library
    Open now. Ongoing.

    Come on over and indulge your obsessive side by helping put together a 1000 piece puzzle!  Located in our lobby, stop by whenever we are open and enjoy!

    Past puzzles include this one below, Bestsellers:



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  • Francine Perlman “Then Till Now”

    Morningside Heights
    February 7th, 2017 - February 27th, 2017

    Works on Paper from 1986 to 2017

    These works follow the continuity in line and palette that persist through the years in Francine Perlman’s works on paper.  The earliest work records a dream. The later works are from a series called “Lost in Infinity” and use the infinity symbol as the starting motif for journeys that create the illusion of deep space in a flat plane.   More and more her work addresses concerns about the current state of US and global issues.

    Francine Perlman has exhibited works on paper, sculpture, and installations since 1985.  Her large outdoor sculptures in The Farm Project, in Garrison, NY, were featured in press coverage in both 2014 and 2015.  During 2012, she created 300 tiny works on paper for Alternet, a collaboration with 75 other artists, that has been traveling since January 2013.  At the Fine Arts Gallery, Westchester Community College, she was granted that venue’s first ever solo exhibition.  She has had solo shows 

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  • Fred Gutzeit - Four Sidewalks

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

    Fred Gutzeit – FOUR SIDEWALKS, 1978, acrylic on canvas, 72 inches highThese 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, 

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  • Hannah Kirshner | Refrigerator Portraits | Art in the Windows Exhibition Series

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

    On view day and night

    The Art Collection presents the site-specific sculpture exhibition Refrigerator Portraits by artist and culinarian Hannah Kirshner. This exhibition is a continuation of a project that the artist began over a decade ago in which she constructed a vanity table and all its effects as an affected self-portrait.

    In this exhibition the two window vitrines adjacent to the lobby entrance display the contents of two refrigerators, one autobiographical, and the other fictional.

    I continued to study food by working my way through the chain of production: harvesting herbs on an organic farm, selling specialty produce, serving farm-to-table food, baking artisan pastries and selling them at farmers markets, creating artful wedding cakes, developing and implementing

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  • Larry Koster : A Retrospective

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


    Larry Koster has been working for eight decades.  A relentless curiosity has fueled his experimentation, resulting in art that refuses to follow an expected trajectory.  Witness East and West, each employing different media and spanning almost forty years.

    From commercial illustration to commissioned portraiture to the golden age of the comic book and culminating in his contemporary graphic novel, Solaris, Koster inhabits a world of timeless imagination and maintains a spirit of hopeful inquiry and comic affirmation.

    Left - Pen & Inkling (2006 – 2009)

    It is surprising that these pen-and-ink illustrations were made as recently as the 2000s. In their energy and affectionately wrought details, these nostalgic drawings convey much of the hopefulness and optimism associated with early twentieth-century America. Looking for the ideal feminine in figures of women conducting themselves in situations both dramatic and ordinary, the 

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  • Lynn Croton and Liz Rudey: Drawings/Prints

    Mulberry Street Library
    Open now. Ends March 28th, 2017.

    Join us for an enchanting exhibition of Lynn Croton and Liz Rudey's collective show "Drawings/Prints" on view at Mulberry Street Library from January 5th through March 28, 2017.  The artists reception will be held in the Community Room of Mulberry Street Library on Saturday February 4th from 2 - 4 pm. 

    Liz Rudey is an artist and Professor of Art and Art Education at Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus. Liz has been working in Sculpture, pottery, and jewlery since she attended Teacher's College, Columbia University, with Lynn Croton in the early 1970's. She began to make prints during a sabbatical from teaching in 2015. Studying with Michael Pellettieri at the Art Students League, Rudey found a natural transition from clay to carving linoleum. An interest in endangered birds became the subject of these prints.  

    The birds featured in 

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  • Margaret Cogswell | Moving the Water(s): Croton Fugues | Art in the Corner Room Exhibition Series

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

    The Art Collection presents the site-specific multimedia exhibition Moving the Water(s): Croton Fugues by artist Margaret Cogswell. The exhibition is the third in a series of projects that focus on New York City's water supply system. The work pays homage to the Centennial Anniversary of NYC’s aqueduct system that was completed in 1917. It is also inspired by the location of Mid-Manhattan Library along Fifth Avenue and 40th Street across the Avenue from The New York Public Library's main location (Stephen A. Schwarzman Building) that was built in 1911 on the site of the former Croton Distribution Reservoir. 

    Focusing on the Croton Reservoir, drawings, photographs, and archival images from The New York Public Library's digital files are layered to form large panels that are suspended in the windows creating a collage in space.  Inspired by the paintings of India’s Deccan Court in the 16 and 17th centuries, these panels break down images into sections of narratives, 

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

    Mid-Manhattan Library
    September 20th, 2016 - February 27th, 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 Mija Jung Present: "Painter's Third Eye"

    Seward Park Library
    Open now. Ends February 28th, 2017.


    Artist Reception

    Thursday, January 19, 6-8 pm

    192 E. Broadway, 3rd floor


    Exhibition from:

    January 10th – February 28th


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  • Still Life Paintings By Children of Orange Line Studio

    South Beach Library
    Open now. Ends February 28th, 2017.

    Stop by the library to see this lovely exhibition of still life paintings created by the children at Orange Line Studio.

    About the exhibition: "This exhibition is all about STILL LIFES. Drawing and painting still lifes is a great exercise for a young artist. Besides, looking closely at everyday objects such as fruits, dishes and flowers helps us learn to see and appreciate beauty."

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  • Taino Zen Images by Luis Cordero

    Bronx Library Center
    Open now. Ends February 28th, 2017.

    Bronx Library Center

    Latino & Puerto Rican Cultural Center

    Heritage Gallery

    Taino Zen Images 

    By Luis Cordero

    February 2,  2017 - Februray 28, 2017

    Luis Cordero's images are based on photographs taken of Taino sacred objects like cemies and the Atabey sculpture in Utuado, PR. They were then digitized and otherwise colorized in Adobe Photoghop. Exhibit booklet provides the original images before they were edited.​


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  • Unhurried Journey by Kristiana Parn

    Mulberry Street Library
    Open now. Ends April 15th, 2017.

    Each piece starts with a bare wood panel, complete with random grain patterns and variations.  This natural surface is then saturated with paint, both accentuating and obscuring these marks, in the process creating an atmosphere that is only partly my doing.  Within, entire environments are created- trees, mountains, earth, light and air, as well as living creatures, both real and imagined.  Often taking the form of the northern forests of my youth, these scenes are places of great play and whimsy, where woodland animals inhabit the waking and dreaming worlds.

    Kristiana Pärn is an Estonian born artist living and working in New York City.  At the age of seventeen she launched her art career, studying with Estonian painter Marje Berlokko.  Shortly after graduation, Kristiana moved to New York City to study animation at The School of Visual Arts.  Since 2005, she has focused exclusively on illustration work, starting out as a textile designer for various Manhattan 

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