Along with spring art shows and play openings, this season marks the start of a stretch of free outdoor events, from a museum crawl up and down Fifth Avenue to a celebration of Shakespeare's birthday in Bryant Park.
Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney's Collection
The Whitney Museum of American Art opens a two-floor, 200-artist show of portraits from the museum's own holdings. The more than 300 works on display, all created in the last 116 years, include the celebrated, by artists including Edward Hopper, Alice Neel, Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol, and the recently-acquired that will receive their first showings at the museum. Divided into 12 sections, the exhibition explores glam celebrity portraits from the early days of motion pictures, including Edward Steichen's magazine shots, as well as street photography like Helen Levitt's Spanish Harlem images. Artists' likenesses also appear, including Robert Rauschenberg's photograph of Cy Twombly, and a portrait of Jasper Johns captured by Richard Avedon. Among the recent works is a wax candle sculpture by Urs Fischer of artist Julian Schnabel.
Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney's CollectionOpens April 27The Whitney Museum of American Art99 Gansevoort St., between Washington and West StreetsMuseum hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; closed TuesdayAdmission $22For more information, visit whitney.org or call 212-570-3600
Museum Mile Festival
Exploring just one of the Upper East Side's art destinations can often become a full day excursion, but the annual Museum Mile Festival makes seven of the area's cultural meccas accessible and family friendly for an evening. During the festival, now in its 38th year, galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cooper Hewitt, the Jewish Museum and others open to the public for free. Street performers and chalk artists take over Fifth Avenue, which is open to pedestrians only during this three-hour stretch, and musicians perform outside the museums. A retrospective of painter László Moholy-Nagy's work at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Roz Chast's cartoons at the Museum of the City of New York are among the shows on view.
Museum Mile FestivalTuesday, June 14Fifth Avenue, from 82nd Street to 105th Street6-9 p.m.Begins at 5:45 p.m. at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., at 82nd StreetFREEFor more information, visit museummilefestival.org or call 212-606-2296
"Art for Every Home: Associated American Artists: 1934-2000"
A new exhibition at New York University's Grey Art Gallery looks at the 20th century rise of Associated American Artists, which thrived on commercial commissions and a broad base of buyers. The exhibition looks at how companies like Standard Oil and Lucky Strike commissioned these artists for advertisements, and how the company's founder and director Reeves Lewenthal capitalized on the post-war prosperity of the late 1940s and 1950s by selling ceramics and other home decor for mass consumption.
"Art for Every Home: Associated American Artists: 1934-2000"April 19-July 9New York University's Grey Art Gallery100 Washington Square East, near Washington PlaceGallery hours: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Wednesday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed Sunday and MondaySuggested price: $3For more information, visit greyartgallery.nyu.edu or call 212-998-6780
A Shakespearean Birthday Bash
The Drilling Company, which performs annual, free outdoor Shakespeare productions in a parking lot on Norfolk Street, celebrates the playwright's birthday and the 400th anniversary of his death with a day of monologues, music and death scenes. Free to the public, the event includes live music by the Natalie Smith Band, and, in a nod to a funeral, a jazz procession with the Jambalaya Brass Band. The celebration concludes with performances of death scenes from "Othello," "Romeo and Juliet," "Cymbeline" and other plays.
A Shakespearean Birthday BashFriday, April 22Bryant ParkSixth Avenue and 42nd Street12:30-8:30 p.m.FREEFor more information, visit http://shakespeareintheparkinglot.com
In "Harper Regan" by Simon Stephens, the title character takes a break from her complicated relationships with her daughter and husband to spend time with her ailing father in a hospital in Manchester, which ignites the need to mend ties with her family. The play, which premiered in England in 2008, returns to New York after a 2012 run at the Atlantic Theater Company. The English playwright won a Tony Award in 2015 for "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time."
"Harper Regan"May 4-June 4T. Schreiber Theatre151 W. 26th St., 7th FloorAssorted show timesTickets $20-$30To purchase tickets, visit tschreiber.org or call 212-352-3101
Ariel Rivka Dance Festival
Ariel Rivka Dance joins forces with three other companies to present a dance festival in honor of the company's ninth season. Along with solo work choreographed and performed by Elisa King, a premiere from Heidi Latsky Dance and two pieces from RIOULT Dance NY set to music by Maurice Ravel, Ariel Rivka Dance presents four ballet pieces. A quartet of cellists accompanies the dancers in the works choreographed by the company's founder Ariel Grossman.
Ariel Rivka Dance FestivalMay 19-May 21New York Live Arts219 W. 19th St., near Seventh AvenueAssorted show timesTickets $30To purchase, visit newyorklivearts.org or call 212-924-0077
"The Maysles & Co."
The first feature film from the brothers Albert and David Maysles has been sparingly viewed because of rights problems. Now, the newly-restored 1963 film "Showman," about Hollywood producer Joseph E. Levine, whose credits include "Hercules" and "The Graduate," screens during a two-week Maysles retrospective. Also showing are 1970's "Gimme Shelter," which looks at the Rolling Stones' 1969 tour, "Salesman" about Bible sellers in Florida, and "Grey Gardens," which peers into the lives of an eccentric mother and daughter duo—and the family of Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis.
"The Maysles & Co."Through April 21Film Forum209 W. Houston St., near Varick StreetAssorted dates and show timesTickets $14For schedule and tickets, visit filmforum.org or call the box office at 212-727-8110