Spring Arts Guide

  • Walt Kuhn, Clown in His Dressing Room, 1943. Oil on linen. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of an anonymous donor

  • Ariel Rivka Dance performs "Ori." Photo: David Gonsier

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 Collection

Opens April 27

The Whitney Museum of American Art

99 Gansevoort St., between Washington and West Streets

Museum hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; closed Tuesday

Admission $22

For more information, visit 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 Festival

Tuesday, June 14

Fifth Avenue, from 82nd Street to 105th Street

6-9 p.m.

Begins at 5:45 p.m. at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave., at 82nd Street


For more information, visit or call 212-606-2296


BaMakom: The Work of Nino Herman

A one-time media photographer for the Israeli government turned photography editor at the newspaper Maariv, Nino Herman has captured life in Israel for more than 40 years. This exhibition looks at work from his earlier years with a camera, as well as more current images taken on the streets of Tel Aviv.

BaMakom: The Work of Nino Herman

May 11-Aug. 15

Laurie M. Tisch Gallery at JCC Manhattan

334 Amsterdam Ave., at 76th Street

Gallery hours: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily


For more information, visit


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 Bash

Friday, April 22

Bryant Park

Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street

12:30-8:30 p.m.


For more information, visit

"Harper Regan"

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 4

T. Schreiber Theatre

151 W. 26th St., 7th Floor

Assorted show times

Tickets $20-$30

To purchase tickets, visit or call 212-352-3101


Wall to Wall Stephen Schwartz

As part of Symphony Space's spring theater celebration, its Wall to Wall event, an evening length program and a key point of the performance hall's annual calendar, is dedicated this year to the work of composer and writer Stephen Schwartz. Nearly 100 performers, including Patti LuPone and Liz Callaway, put their spins on songs by the New York native responsible for the music from "Godspell," "Pippin" and modern classic "Wicked."

Wall to Wall Stephen Schwartz

Saturday, April 16

Symphony Space

2537 Broadway, at 95th Street

Sets at 3 p.m. 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.


For advanced reservations and a full list of performers, visit


"A.O.K." Art on Kicks

Visitors to the Bernie Wohl Center at Goddard Riverside on May 7 and 8 can customize their own sneakers with the help of one of New York's seminal graffiti artists, George "Sen One" Morillo. Attendees should bring their own sneakers so they can walk out with a newly-tagged pair.

"A.O.K." Art on Kicks

May 7-8

Goddard Riverside Bernie Wohl Center

647 Columbus Ave., at 91st Street

10 a.m.-4 p.m.

$40 (sneakers not included)

To make a reservation, visit or call 212-799-9400


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 Festival

May 19-May 21

New York Live Arts

219 W. 19th St., near Seventh Avenue

Assorted show times

Tickets $30

To purchase, visit or call 212-924-0077

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