Founded in 1825, The National Academy integrates a museum, art school, and an honorary association of artists and architects “dedicated to creating and preserving a living history of American Art.” The museum is housed in the Beaux Arts townhouse, which was built in 1901 and was the residence of the philanthropist Archer M. Huntington. After over a year of renovations, the museum reopened in late 2011, with a new beautiful space perfect for exhibiting their wonderful works. As you browse the art, make sure you look at the beautifully detailed ceilings, the grand fireplaces, and the lovely rooms that overlook Fifth Avenue.
Their current exhibition is The Annual: 2012: “With 113 participants, the show aims to contextualize trends in contemporary art.” The curator Marshall Price said that the show exhibits particular themes, such as the intergenerationality of the artists, with types of genres and subgenres repeating and evolving from past to present. Also this year the show branches out beyond painting and sculpture to include new film and architecture works.
Price indicated this show has less of a curational aspect than others because participating Academicians choose many of the pieces they would like in the show. But Price’s influence on your experience of the show is very apparent. Some of the works that caught my eye were right next to each other:
Emma Tapley: Inverted Treescape II, 2011
Right next to
Murray Zimiles: Go Forth…, 2011
both capture movement in stills. And the placement of the moving sculpture Kinetic Sculpture: Septet 2010 by artist Lin Emery
is framed perfectly down a hallway.
The National Academy is a wonderful and unique museum going experience. You can wander through the hallways of a townhouse which is both a beautiful exhibiting space and work of art in itself.