7 Best Places in Long Island City for Art Lovers

You've done Museum Mile, hit up the Chelsea galleries on a Thursday, and perused the sidewalk art in SoHo. So, for your next art fix, head to Queens’ Long Island City for a less touristy roster of artsy offerings. See the 7 best places in Long Island City for art lovers.

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We are huge fans of Queens and we love exploring this beautiful Borough. It's the largest Borough in size, but loses to Brooklyn regarding the total population. Yes, Brooklyn wins! Almost 50% of the neighborhood are foreigners which is an astounding number right?

We just love this diversity and everything that comes with it! Different cultures, styles, fashion, accents, languages, points of view, music, art. It's all so inspiring!

Diane Pham and Dana Schutz, from 6sqft have put together the 7 best places in Long Island City for art lovers. The neighborhood is also know as LIC - short and intimate.

And, just because you’re crossing into Queens, don’t think you’ll be sacrificing any creativity or imprimatur.

From world-famous contemporary art collections to smaller spots like a workspace dedicated to figurative drawing.


Noguchi Museum

It’s not uncommon for a museum to be dedicated to a specific artist, but it is rare for it to be designed and established by the artist himself, in this case Japanese American artist and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi.

In 1985, his Noguchi Museum opened, displaying what he considered the most representative examples of his life’s work and becoming the catalyst for change in the neighborhood.

In addition, a decade earlier, the artist had purchased a small photogravure plant and gas station across from his studio and filled it with his sculptures, architectural models, stage designs, drawings, and furniture designs.

After a major 2004 renovation, the museum now features two floors of indoor exhibition space, indoor-outdoor galleries, and an outdoor sculpture garden. So, temporary exhibits are now part of the programming, and these explore Noguchi’s influence on contemporary culture.

Hours:
Wednesday - Friday: 10am - 5pm
Saturday & Sunday: 11am - 6pm
Closed Mondays & Tuesday

Location: 9-01 33rd Road

http://www.noguchi.org 


Socrates Sculpture Park

A block away from the Noguchi Museum is the Socrates Sculpture Park, a waterfront park and public art museum.

The location was previously an abandoned landfill and illegal dumpsite, but in 1986 a group of local artists and residents, headed up by artist Mark di Suvero, transformed the four-acre site into a public sculpture museum.

Guests have the option of a self-guided tour or a guided tour, and the organization also offers a farmers market, seasonal outdoor film screenings, and activities such as yoga, capoeira, tai chi, and kayaking and canoeing.

And, throughout the year there are plenty of performances, ranging from dance to theater to opera. Plus, it’s free and open every day of the year.

Hours: 365 days a year from 9am to sunset

Location: 32-01 Vernon Blvd

http://socratessculpturepark.org


Sculpture Center

NYC has plenty places to see contemporary art, but this is the only such museum dedicated to contemporary sculpture.

The Sculpture Center moved to its current location in a former trolley repair shop in 2002, and today this building serves as a sculptural piece in itself.

Artist and designer Maya Lin handled the initial redesign and just a few years ago, Andrew Berman Architects expanded and renovated the building, adding an enclosed courtyard for outdoor exhibitions and events.

Furthermore, unlike many institutions, the Sculpture Center is a non-collecting museum, meaning every year you’ll get to see a fresh batch of experimental, innovative exhibits.

They commission new work, as well as present exhibits by emerging and established artists and also have a series of free public programs and events such as artist talks, open studio days, and film screenings.

Hours:
Thursday – Monday: 11am - 6pm
Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays

Location: 44-19 Purves Street

www.sculpture-center.org


Fisher Landau Center for Art

Adaptive reuse is a theme when it comes to the locations of LIC arts institutions and the Fisher Landau Center for Art is no exception, housed in a former parachute harness factory.

Designed by the late English architect Max Gordon, the modern museum (which offers free admission) houses the 1,500-work contemporary art collection of Emily Fisher Landau.

Moreover, these includes the work of some of the past 50 years’ most influential artists, like Andy Warhol, Kiki Smith, Glenn Ligon, Cy Twombly, Jasper Johns, Jenny Holzer, and Robert Mapplethorpe, many of whom she supported early in their careers.

Also, on display is Ms. Landau’s 150-piece collection of mid-century furniture designer Warren McArthur, as well as a rotating exhibit series.

Hours:
Thursday - Monday, 12pm – 5pm
Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays

Location: 38-27 30th Street

www.flcart.org


Eleventh Street Arts

Eleventh Street Arts veers from the modern to the traditional, presenting new works of drawings, paintings, and sculptures that invoke, challenge, and celebrate classical tradition.

Also unique is the fact that its exhibitions are curated by artists who lend their own interpretation to a specific style or theme such as still life, nudes, or architecture.

In addition, Eleventh Street Arts offers a chamber music series, from Chiaroscuro to Bach, and sponsors a resident chamber music artist.

Hours:
Monday – Saturday: By appointment only.

Location: 46-06 11th Street

www.eleventhstreetarts.com 


Grand Central Atelier

Adjacent to Eleventh Street Arts is the Grand Central Atelier, a collaborative workspace dedicated to figurative drawing, painting, and sculpture.

In addition to exhibitions, concerts, lectures, concerts related to this study, the organization provides rigorous training and open sketch nights, as well as artistic competitions and fellowships.

So, those interested in more formal study of the traditional art form can enroll in a full-time program that lasts up to four years.

In addition, the shorter, one-day workshops and classes, ranges in topic from self-portrait and foundations of figure drawing, to still life to the classical architecture methods of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

Hours:
By appointment only.
Wednesday evenings - 5:30pm
Friday afternoons - 12:30pm

Location: 46-06 11th Street

http://grandcentralatelier.org


MoMA PS1

MoMA PS1 became an affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art in 2000. But, it’s actually one of the oldest and largest nonprofit contemporary art institutions in the nation.

They’re located in an abandoned 19th-century public school building, which they often transform into site-specific works. The most well-known of which, may be their annual summer Warm Up. There, a winning entrant turns the open-air courtyard into a temporary, environmentally focused installation that accompanies a music series.

Satisfying their commitment to displaying the world’s most experimental art, past retrospectives have included Mike Kelley, Franz West, and Gordon Matta-Clark.

So, be sure to see light artist James Turrell’s permanent installation “Meeting,” one of his famed skyspaces. Plus, other long-term installations by Sol LeWitt, Cecily Brown, Alan Saret, and Richard Serra.

Hours:
Thursday – Monday: 12pm – 6pm
Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays

Location: 22-25 Jackson Avenue

http://momaps1.org

 

Photo Credits: Courtesy of Scott Hoffmann for MoMa PS1; Nicholas Knight/©The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, NY/ARS; Kyle Knodell for Sculpture Center, Kelly Akashi for Sculpture Center; Mariana Hernandez-Rivera for Grande Central Atelier; and all museums & galleries.

5 Offbeat Museums in NYC You Should Visit

You could visit the MoMA and take in the museum’s world-class modern art; or you could enjoy the medieval armor and Egyptian artifacts of The Met.

But, how about skipping those rudimentary Lonely Planet recommendations altogether and really jumping off the beaten path?

If you’re looking for a more unconventional approach to museum-hopping - or are simply fed up with long lines and $25-plus admission fees - Diane Pham, from @6sqft, has rounded up five unexpected experiences that only New York City insiders are keen to.

Harry Houdini Museum

This tiny treasure hidden on the third floor of a Midtown building celebrates the world’s most important and influential magician, Harry Houdini.

In addition to housing a collection of several hundred of Houdini’s most important implements, including his straightjacket, a collection of handcuffs, and his escape coffin, the museum also hosts magic lectures and shows for the public.

When visiting, don’t be surprised if you run into your favorite magician or celeb, according to the museum’s site, “famous magicians hang out here every day.”

Admission: Free

Hours:

  • Monday - Saturday: 10am - 6pm
  • Sunday: 10am - 5pm 

Location: 421 7th Ave, 3rd floor, Midtown

www.houdinimuseumny.com/visit  

New York Transit Museum

Most don’t think of the NYC subway as much more that a means to get from point A to point B, but the city’s mass transit history is both rich and fascinating.

Housed in an authentic 1936 subway station beneath Downtown Brooklyn, this underground treasure covers every bit of NYC transit history - from the men who dug the subway tunnels more than 100 years ago to the technology that keeps trains running today.

Here, you can also jump behind the wheel of a city bus, sit in a vintage subway car, or take in the turnstiles of yore. 

Admission:

  • Adults - $10
  • Children (2-17) - $5
  • Seniors 62+ - $5, Seniors are free on Wednesdays (excludes senior group visits)
  • Museum Members free

Hours:

  • Tuesday - Friday: 10am - 4pm
  • Saturday & Sunday: 11am - 5pm
  • Closed Mondays and major holidays

Location: Boerum Place & Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn

www.nytransitmuseum.org

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Mmuseumm

Located in a freight elevator just a few blocks south of Canal Street is a museum specializing in the "overlooked, dismissed, or ignored."

Open every Saturday and Sunday, Mmuseumm introduces curious onlookers to everyday, unexpected, and unusual objects from around the world; recent exhibitions have included “ISIS Currency,” “Embalming Accessories,” and “The Fake U.S Fast Food Franchises of Iran.”

Permanent pieces meanwhile include a shoe thrown at George W. Bush at the Minister’s Palace in Baghdad.

Just note: only three can squeeze into the museum at once.

Admission:

Pay as you wish with a $5 suggested donation for regular admission.

Hours:

  • Saturdays & Sundays: 12pm - 6pm
  • Mmuseumm is visible 24/7 through the viewing windows and by calling into the audio guide 1(888) 763 8839 from your mobile phone.

Location: 4 Cortlandt Alley

www.mmuseumm.com

Museum of the American Gangster

This diminutive, two-room museum dedicated to the history of the American gangster is very appropriately situated upstairs from a former speakeasy found along the St. Mark’s Place, in the East Village.

Beyond “newspapers, photographs and other original documents from the Prohibition Era," the museum also keeps some incredible mob relics including John Dillinger's death masks and bullets from the Saint Valentine's Day massacre investigation. And still, one of the bullets that brought down bank robber Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd.

This museum is not for the faint of heart!

Admission:

  • *Includes guided tour.*
  • Adult - $20
  • Students & Seniors - $12
  • Groups of 10 and over should contact museum. 

Hours:

Monday – Sunday: 1pm - 6pm

Location:

www.museumoftheamericangangster.org

Explorer’s Club

In theme with this list, we’d be remiss not to mention the Explorer’s Club Headquarters of New York.

Founded in 1904, the Explorers Club was created as a gathering place and a means to promote the work of those involved in the scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space. The club is today housed in an 1910 Jacobean revival mansion on the Upper East Side.

It features a spectacular collection of 13,000 books, 1,000 museum objects, 5,000 maps, and 500 films. You’ll also find a trove of taxidermied animals on the top floor of the storied structure, most of which date back to the early days of the Club when taxidermy was used to preserve animals for study and education.

Back then, travelling anywhere required incredible effort, and the use of photography had not yet spread.

Admission: Free

Hours:

  • September through June: The Club is open to members and their guests from 9am-9pm Monday - Friday. Certain designated rooms of the Club are open to the general public from 9am-6pm.
  • Summer Hours (July and August): Monday – Friday: 9am - 6pm
  • The Club is closed on Saturdays & Sundays.

Location: 46 E. 70th Street

https://explorers.org

 

 

Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Museums and Black Paw Photo