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Now that you’re all settled into Columbia, it’s time to explore the Big Apple to become a little more cultured than you already are. At the heart of international, historical, and social culture, NYC is home to some of the best museums in the United States, some more renowned, others relatively more niche. Spectrum is here to make you feel a little less like a tourist and a little more like the seasoned Columbia student you are with our list of must-attend museum events in NYC.

For the hidden artist

MoMA—Bruce Nauman: Disappearing Acts

The Museum of Modern Art is the place to be for the edgy, avant-garde artist. At the heart of Midtown, MoMA is home to eye-catchingly shaped, vibrantly colored pieces of unimaginable artwork that will stay with you long after you leave. Admission is free from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday nights, thanks to the sponsorship by UNIQLO.

Be sure to check out Disappearing Acts from Oct. 21 through late February 2019 to experience Bruce Nauman’s most thorough art exhibition, where you’ll find the most meaning in empty space. Instead of creating in terms of addition and exposure, Nauman fabricates his art through deletion, fragmentation, and obstruction—a common theme throughout his ever-changing style.

For the future-minded

Guggenheim—Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future

Ever wanted to step into a piece of art yourself? Visit the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the epitome of NYC architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, to see how the artfulness of the actual vessel can influence the pieces inside it.

The Paintings for the Future exhibition displays the most famous works of Hilma af Klint, an early 20th century artist with the most progressive of ideas in the pioneering artwork she kept hidden throughout her life. For a taste of her posthumous fame and her experiences at the forefront of the conversation between religion and science, visit this major exhibition from Oct. 12 through Feb. 3, 2019.

For the classics

The Met—Delacroix

If you haven’t been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you haven’t been to NYC. From now until Jan. 6, 2019, the Met Fifth Avenue will be holding the Delacroix exhibition—the first in all of North America—to display French artist Eugène Delacroix’s reconnection of France’s past and present throughout his career in the early- to mid-19th century. Be sure to check it out to see firsthand the works of the leader of France’s Romantic movement.

For the believers of magic

New-York Historical Society—Harry Potter: A History of Magic

Harry Potter fans, you’re in luck. From now through Jan. 27, 2019, New York’s first museum—the New-York Historical Society—is working in collaboration with the British Library to present a collection of magical books, objects, creatures, and more for the ultimate Harry Potter experience. With original drafts and artwork by renowned author J.K. Rowling and illustrator Jim Kay, this is a can’t-miss opportunity for Harry Potter fanatics and laymen alike.

For the reflective

Brooklyn Museum—Rob Wynne: FLOAT

If you need to step out of Manhattan for a while, visit the Brooklyn Museum, a mere hour away from Morningside Heights. Pro-tip: the Brooklyn Museum offers free admission to all on the first Saturday of each month (except September) from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m..

The FLOAT exhibit is open from now until March 3, 2019 and consists of a collection of “floating” artwork made from molten glass and mirrors arranged in words and aesthetic patterns, allowing for literal and figurative audience reflection.

For the health-conscious

Museum of the City of New York—Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis

From now until April 28, 2019, the Museum of the City of New York is collaborating with the New York Academy of Medicine and Wellcome to present an exhibition on the history of the coexistence between humans and microbes in NYC. For those under 20 years old, admission is free!

Whether you’re a “germaphobe” or “germaphile,” it’s important to learn how our relationship with germs has shaped current public policy and culture in the city through both artistic and historical lenses, so take that half-hour walk down to 5th Avenue and East 103rd with some friends to get as cultured as the microbes of the city!

No matter what your interests are, NYC is the place to be! With scores of museums and exhibitions sprinkled throughout the five boroughs, you’re sure to find at least one to your liking. Keep in mind that the Columbia Arts Initiative offers free admission to the museums found on this list; just make sure you have an updated sticker on your student ID card each semester! Happy exploring!

Barnard Columbia Museums NYC
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