Autumn Art

A Trio of Diverse and Unique Exhibits at Top NYC Museums

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With the cooler weather upon us, it’s the perfect time to head indoors and check out some of the city’s most interesting museum exhibits—collections that you won’t find anywhere else. We’ve selected a few shows, including two that are closing at the end of the month, that will both delight the eye and engage the mind. What more could you want from art?

Though he may not be as celebrated in fashion circles as top designers and models, Ralph Pucci (no relation to designer Emilio) has been an influential presence since the 1970s. Ralph Pucci: The Art of the Mannequin at The Museum of Arts and Design is a tribute to his innovative approach to the previously undistinguished department store mannequin. Pucci, who was inspired to create his own unique forms while working for his parents’ mannequin repair company, initially made a splash with a collection of “action figures” posed dancing, jogging and performing headstands. Pucci would go on to collaborate with Kenny Scharf, Anna Sui and Diane von Furstenberg, among many others, creating a diversity of striking figures. The show includes over 30 of his most important mannequins, including Andrée Putman’s bronze “Olympian Goddess” (1986) and Patrick Naggar’s abstract, elongated “Nile” (1995).  There is also a recreation of Pucci’s sculpture studio and jewelry from MAD’s collection arranged on Ruben Toledo’s surrealist mannequins. (Through 10/25, 2 Columbus Circ. at 58th St.)

There has long been a close connection between music and design, as explored in MoMA’s engaging exhibit Making Music Modern: Design for Ear and Eye. Many of us are familiar with iconic album covers that are inextricably tied to the music contained within, but the show encompasses much more, such as listening devices ranging from bulky early phonographs to sleek iPods. Drawn completely from the Museum’s collection, the material on display includes instruments and sound equipment, in addition to posters, record sleeves, sheet music, and animation. The exhibit shows how cutting-edge designers including Lilly Reich, Saul Bass, and Kurt Schwitters all pushed their own creative boundaries making designs for the music of their eras. From the cool aesthetic of mid-century jazz album art to the eye-popping late ’60s psychedelia of posters for Jefferson Airplane to the minimalist style of recent technology, Making Music Modern covers territory that should fascinate audiophiles and design fans alike. (Through 1/17/16, 11 W. 53rd St. at 6th Ave.)

At one time, artisans from all over Europe flocked to the ore-rich region that now encompasses Hungary and Romania, creating decorative objects that remain unsurpassed in their craftsmanship and opulence. Around 120 examples of this work are on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit Hungarian Treasure: Silver from the Nicolas M. Salgo Collection. Comprised of pieces dating from the 15th to 18th centuries, the collection was a gift from former U.S. ambassador to Budapest Nicolas M. Salgo (1914-2005), an avid and discerning collector. Thanks to his generosity, the Met is the only museum outside Hungary with such a large array of goldsmiths’ work from the area. These rare, beautiful objects were influenced by both German and Ottoman styles, reflecting a distinctly local interpretation of Renaissance and Baroque ornamentation. Seven medieval pieces, including two rare chalices with mastered filigree enameling, are the collection’s earliest works. Also included is material from other Met collections, including Arms and Armor and the Costume Institute, showing the wide-ranging influence on Hungarian silver during this period. (Through 10/25, 1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.)