The county courthouse still looms over 161st street, but the Yankees have a new home; the corner candy store is a Burger King; and the synagogue I went to as a kid is now a museum. While change can be hard, it was more than made up for by my visit to the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Located at 165th street and the Grand Concourse, at the site of the former Young Israel of the Grand Concourse, the Bronx Museum offers an eclectic collection of artworks.
The museum was founded in 1971 and is a contemporary art museum that “connects diverse audiences to the urban experience through its permanent collection, special exhibitions, and education programs.” There were several interesting exhibits on view when I was there, including a large scale installation by Sarah Sze called “Triple Point (Planetarium),” recently reviewed in the New York Times.
I really enjoyed a charming exhibit on the museum’s terrace called “One Kind of Behavior.” The installation, by Taiwanese artist Shyu Ruey-Shiann, consists of overturned buckets mechanically opening and shutting in response to the wind. The installation, according to the museum, was inspired by the quasi-mechanical movements of creatures such as the hermit crabs. “The artist sees in the random opening and closing of their shells on the beach, a stark contrast with contemporary society where things move at high speed.” This exhibit closed August 17th. But several others are still on view.
“Portraits of Veterans” is a series of colorful paintings by Nina Talbot based on interviews she conducted with men and women from the U.S. Military. The ten paintings in the show, displayed in a bright gallery overlooking the street, focus primarily on Bronx residents and is on view until August 24th.
Diagonally across the street from the museum is “SuperPuesto,” a temporary pavilion by Terence Gower. The pavilion is part of an exhibition at the Museum entitled “Beyond the Supersquare.” It’s the first U.S. museum exhibition to examine “the complicated legacies of modernist architecture in Latin America and the Caribbean through the perspectives of 30 contemporary artists.” The pavilion is housed on the grounds of the beautiful Andrew Freedman Home, a “Renaissance Palazzo.” It served as a home for the elderly for 59 years where “couples and seniors lived out their twilight years in delightful charm and elegance.” Today, with landmark status, it is undergoing it’s own renaissance and is “expanding into a new and exciting destination for art, culture, learning and creativity.”
SuperPuesto will be on view until November 16.