Museum of the City of New York opens a special exhibition featuring new collections acquisitions
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Museum of the City of New York opens a special exhibition featuring new collections acquisitions
Don Marshall, [Hats], c. 1990. Museum of the City of New York. Gift of Celia Hartmann.

NEW YORK, NY.- Museum of the City of New York, the city institution with a celebrated collection of some 750,000 objects and images, today shared details about its new exhibition, Collecting New York Stories: Stuyvesant to Sid Vicious. The special presentation features highlights from the hundreds of additions to the Museum’s permanent collection amassed over the past three years, running the gamut from the colonial era to the recent past. The full exhibition opened on January 22nd and includes both a gallery of historic and contemporary photographs as well as a companion gallery featuring drawings, garments, posters, decorative art objects and other artifacts of the city. The range of work illuminates compelling and varied New York stories, and speaks to the Museum’s commitment to building a collection reflective of the city in its multifaceted glory.

Collecting New York’s Stories features a full gallery of newly acquired photographs by both well-known and emerging artists, such as Janette Beckman, Bruce Davidson, Martha Cooper, Helen Levitt, Richard Sandler, Gail Thacker, James Van DerZee, Harvey Wang, among others. Offering a window into diverse lives and experiences of New Yorkers, the works include:

• A dramatic 1948 studio portrait of the Marx Brothers by Yousef Karsh;

• Allan Tannenbaum’s impromptu 1978 street portrait of the Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious leaving the Chelsea Hotel in handcuffs following the suspicious death of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen.

• Ruddy Roye’s contemporary color portraits of residents of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

The exhibition also presents several recently donated original drawings by long-time New Yorker illustrator Saul Steinberg. Those are shown alongside other pieces in a range of media that underscore the power of the collection to shed light on the evolving city, its daily life, its creativity, and the perspectives of its residents. Highlights include:

• A hat designed by the beloved NYC icon, Bill Cunningham (during his pre-photography days).

• A map showing lands owned by Petrus Stuyvesant, the last Dutch Director General of New Netherland, and donated by his descendants.

• Garments that belonged to sculptor Louise Nevelson and beauty entrepreneur Helena Rubenstein, which speak to each woman’s cultivated artistic persona and personal style.

• A costume swatch book and business correspondence documenting the career of mid20th century designer Valentina, which illustrate the change in women’s fashion and entrepreneurship.

• One-of-a-kind posters from the 2017 Women’s March.

• Promotional material from the opening celebration of the Second Avenue subway.

• A collection of advertising posters for local events such as bazaars and galas, which provide insight into New York’s unique neighborhoods and tightly knit communities.

• A group of materials from the civil defense program, which animate the lives of New York citizens during World War II.

“New York City's diversity and dynamism is beautifully reflected in the variety of artists, collectors, and ordinary New Yorkers represented in our collection,” says Whitney Donhauser, President and Ronay Menschel Director of the Museum of the City of New York. "Collecting New York’s Stories includes exciting recent additions to our contemporary photography collection alongside historical artifacts and ephemera, allowing visitors to delve deeper into the many faces, places, and touch points of our beloved city."

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