Exquisite Juxtapositions

Experience the magic of world-renowned art paired like wine

El Greco Frick

New York City is one of the world’s finest cultural epicenters, and it’s not too late to experience three noteworthy museum exhibits that have locals talking and critics raving.

While the name El Greco may be unfamiliar to most, the past few months have shown the artist much attention in honor of the 400th anniversary of his death. This month, the celebration that began with Men in Armor: El Greco and Pulzone Face to Face, an exhibit that NYCM covered in October, continues with El Greco at the Frick Collection, an exhibit that unites three remarkable El Greco paintings – Purification of the Temple and portraits of Vincenzo Anastagi and St. Jerome – showing them together for the first time, side by side. El Greco was a Greek painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance who is known for painting elongated, tortured looking human figures in a dramatic and expressionistic style that was beyond his time, but one that found appreciation in the 20th century. The exhibit opens 11/4 at The Frick Collection, a museum that houses some of the most exceptional works of Western art. (Through 2/1, 70th St. nr. Fifth Ave.)

The English painter Chris Ofili, who sparked controversy here in 1999 with his “Sensation” exhibit that depicted pop star Madonna in an unusual light, has returned to the Big Apple at The New Museum. Occupying the museum’s three main galleries, “Night and Day” is an exhibit that spans the Turner prize-winning artist’s life and career, encompassing his work in painting, drawing and sculpture. It is his first major solo museum exhibition in the United States. Over the course of Ofili’s career, his very diverse body of work has taken imagery and inspiration from such incompatible sources as the Bible, hip-hop music, Zimbabwean cave paintings, and William Blake poems. He is known for creating vibrant and elaborate artwork, and this exhibit does not disappoint. (Through 2/1, Bowery nr. Prince St.)

Lastly, stop by The Met for the exhibit Grand Design: Pieter Coeke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, the first monographic exhibition devoted to the great 16th-century Netherlandish artist. Coeke is an important Renaissance master who designed tapestries for the wealthiest and most important patrons of the time, including Emperor Charles V, Francis I of France, and Henry VIII of England, among others. On view at the Met are 19 epic tapestries that are juxtaposed with seven of Coeke’s panel paintings – including a monumental painting from Lisbon and several dozen drawings and prints, including woodcuts and books. Many of the splendid tapestries are on loan for the first time from the major and national collections of Europe, so check them out now before they return. (Through 1/11, Fifth Ave. at 82nd St.)

(Photo Credit: El Greco / The Frick Collection)