NYCxDesign 2019: 6 Spring Exhibitions Around Town

Our selection of shows cover a wide range of topics, from the origins of Modernist graphic design to the history of the global Chinese diaspora.
NYCxDesign 2019 Spring Exhibitions

Featured at MOCA’s The Moon Represents My Heart: a video still of PRD Anti-Heroes, a theater project from 2005 by the artist Cao Fei. Courtesy Vitamin Creative Space


Headed to NYCxDesign but looking for a quiet break from design industry chit chat, business meetings, and continuing education sessions? Metropolis has rounded up six shows that might hit the spot!

Offsetted by Cooking Sections
Through June 8, Columbia GSAPP Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery, arch.columbia.edu

Conceived of by London-based “spatial practitioners” Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe), Offsetted is an immersive exhibition at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation that repositions New York City’s greenery in the context of environmental services—the value in dollars that the trees provide to the city in the form of flood mitigation, pollution reduction, shade, and so on. Comprised of dismembered pieces of the urban forest, the exhibition highlights the ways that such quantification both protects the city’s greenery and accepts the continuous production of waste and pollutants.

Jan Tschichold and the New Typography
Through July 7, Bard Graduate Center Gallery, bgc.bard.edu/gallery

This exhibition traces the development of Modernism that reshaped graphic design in the 1920s, taking as its starting point Weimar-era designer Jan Tschichold’s manual for graphic design Die Neue Typographie (1928). The exhibition’s core is a collection of objects and artworks on loan from the Museum of Modern Art, acquired by Tschichold while researching his book. Works by Modernist luminaries, including Kurt Schwitters and El Lissitzky, are highlights. But there are surprises to be found, including Tschichold’s early work in calligraphy and blackletter.

Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan
Through July 14, Noguchi Museum, noguchi.org

The Noguchi Museum in Queens is dedicated to the Japanese-American sculptor and designer’s legacy. This show looks at the brief but consequential friendship between Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988) and Japanese painter Saburo Hasegawa (1906–1957), who is credited with introducing European abstraction to Japan. Together, the pair undertook a study of traditional Japanese art and design, as they grappled with the conflicts between traditional and modern, Japanese and Western. Containing over 90 works from both artists, this exhibition traces the roots of their shared artistic concerns.

Jean-Luc Moulène: More or Less Bone
Through July 29, SculptureCenter, sculpture-center.org

The Queens institution is prized for its constantly changing exhibitions of contemporary sculpture. Here, French sculptor Jean-Luc Moulène debuts a new work in his ongoing explorations of advanced technology and material culture. Working with software engineers, Moulène developed a process to create this composite form using the least amount of wasted material possible. The process, known as formal optimization, is commonly used in industrial manufacturing. Here, Moulène enlists it to create strikingly organic and skeletal work.

The Moon Represents My Heart: Music, Memory, and Belonging
Through September 15, Museum of Chinese in America, mocanyc.org

Co-curated by The New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu, along with MOCA’s curatorial team, this immersive exhibition connects the history of the global Chinese diaspora through music. Seeking to represent a constellation of Chinese immigrant musical experiences, and drawing connections across time and space, Hsu and MOCA present styles as divergent as Cantonese opera, pop music from Taiwan and Hong Kong, karaoke, and the Beijing underground rock scene using a mix of art, recordings, and DJ-led listening sessions. The show encourages viewers to consider how identity, community, and belonging are constructed.

Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall
Through December 8, Brooklyn Museum, brooklynmuseum.org

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, sparked by a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. The ensuing events catalyzed the queer-rights movement and are re-explored at the Brooklyn Museum. The show examines the memory of the Stonewall Uprising in a generation of artists born after the event—all 28 participating LGBT Q+ artists are younger than 50—and considers history as a part of the urban fabric.

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Categories: Design