It is entirely correct to say that your rich taste in art brings you here. Yes! you heard it right, like a potter truly lost in his craft molding a pot, similarly, an aesthete like you knows the joy of appreciating art.
Imagine walking along the Museum Mile on a bright sunny day and the trees of the sidewalks with their dazzling golden leaves embracing you. Quite exhilarating, right?
Whether you are a travel enthusiast who is looking for ancient or contemporary art or wants to explore art as much as possible, here I bring you the 10 best art museums in NYC- the bustling and larger-than-life city of the United States which will surely fulfill your quest for art.
1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
It may be the ‘Death of Socrates‘ by Jacques-Louis David, the ‘Vase with Storks‘ by Frederick Hurten Rhead, or ‘Water‘ by Edris Eckhardt which will keep you hooked for hours in this astronomical art hub called The Metropolitan museum of art or more popularly “THE MET.”
Being the largest art museum in NYC and the rest of the US, it is also one of the largest and most famous museums in the world.
The Met encompasses more than 490000 artworks from every corner of the world including alluring art pieces of veteran artists like Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt, and many others preserved in different galleries according to their geographical origin, era, object type, and department. You can find your favorite artwork by simply using the museum map.
The Metropolitan Museum’s collection includes the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and America, Medieval art, Islamic art, ancient Near Eastern art, Greek and Roman art, modern and contemporary art, costumes, photographs, musical instruments, drawings, and prints, European art, and much more.
1.1. Famous Collections
- Temple of Dendur – An Egyptian Temple
- Ugolino and His Sons by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux
- Raphael’s works on Wood such as Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints
- The Yellow Room by James McNeill Whistler
- The Dance Class by Edgar Degas
Apart from showcasing art pieces, the museum also offers various events, online and offline workshops, museum tours, membership programs, and much more.
The museum also has dining located on different floors. Below are all the required details for visiting The Metropolitan Museum.
Location: 1000 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, New York, NY 10028
2. Whitney Museum of American Art
Founded by ‘Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney‘-an American sculptor and eminent socialite whose main aim was to give American art its much-needed recognition, the Whitney Museum located between the High Line and Hudson River, is one of the best art museums in NYC.
And it is the perfect place for viewing an array of contemporary American art from notable artists like Edward Hopper, Stuart Davis, John Sloan, Peggy Bacon, Laura Owens, Georgia O’Keeffe, Gary Simmons, Claes Oldenburg, Nicole Eisenman, and many others.
Home to the permanent collection of over 25000 astonishing artworks including paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, films, books, digital art, costume, jewelry, performance arts, and much more. The museum also showcases art based on sociopolitical and economical events.
2.1. Famous Collections
- Andy Warhol’s artworks such as Absolut Vodka
- Edward Hopper’s Oil Painting named A Woman in The Sun
- Mountain by Albert Bloch
- Sea Change by Agnes Pelton
- Sun by Florine Stettheimer
- Self Portrait by Charles G. Shaw
The Whitney Museum was relocated in 2015 from Manhattan’s Upper East Side to its new and futuristic Meatpacking Headquarters designed by architect Renzo Piano which encompasses around 50,000 sq. ft. area of indoor galleries, an area of approximately 18,000 sq. ft. for special exhibitions, and also 13,000 sq. ft. area of outdoor exhibition and terraces that face the High Line.
Apart from these, the Whitney museum also hosts several exhibitions and events among which “The Whitney Biennial” is the most popular and it also provides courses based on modern and contemporary art, public programs, and other exhibitions by experts.
Location: 99 Gansevoort Street, Manhattan, New York, NY 10014
3. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, The Museum of Modern Art showcases its grandeur since 1929. This art museum is highly regarded as one of the most prevalent contributors to contemporary and modern art all over the world.
The Museum was first designed by Edward Durell Stone and Philip L. Goodwin and has been renovated by several architects over time like the Grace Rainey Rogers Annex designed by Philip Johnson (1951), Cesar Pelli- West Wing expansion (1984), Major expansion of the museum by Japanese architect- Yoshio Taniguchi (2004).
Honored with around150000 modern and contemporary artworks and around 22000 films, The Museum of Modern Art features artworks from notable artists like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Surrealists like René Magritte and Salvador Dalí, Vincent Van Gogh, Basel Abbas, Henri Matisse, and Henri Rousseau to name a few.
3.1. Famous Collections
- Assemblage by Deana Lawson
- The Dream by Henri Rousseau
- Wakeah by Cara Romero
- The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh
- Retrospective Bust of a Woman by Salvador Dalí (sculpture)
- Boy Leading a Horse by Pablo Picasso
- The Portrait by René Magritte
The museum continuously hosts events and conducts performance programs throughout the year both online and offline. MoMA PS1 is a new branch of The Museum of Modern Art located in the borough of Queens New York, NY 11101.
Location: 11 West 53 Street, Manhattan New York
4. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Named after American businessman Solomon Robert Guggenheim who established this museum in New York City, this art museum is itself an example of splendid art and marvelous architecture.
Designed by famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright who instilled a magnificent aura in this museum with its unique spirally designed art galleries. No doubt that it is one of the best art museums in NYC as it is listed among UNESCO’s World Heritage sites.
Not only this, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation possesses other sister museums located in different parts of the world such as:
- Peggy Guggenheim Collection (Venice- Italy)—Showcases outstanding artworks of Cubism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and other styles.
- Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (Bilbao- Spain)—Site of the largest sculpture commission in history.
- Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi- UAE)—Exhibits international collections focusing primarily on West Asia, North Africa, and South Asia (NASA).
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York houses over 1700 diverse artworks of different mediums like painting, sculpture, internet art, installations, works on paper, photography, and films.
4.1. Famous Collections
- Woman with Yellow Hair & The Fourteenth of July by Pablo Picasso
- Blue Mountain & The Women in the Woods by Vasily Kandinsky
- The Football Players by Henri Rousseau
- Woman Ironing by Pablo Picasso
- The Hermitage at Pontoise by Camille Pissarro
- Roadway with Underpass by Vincent Van Gogh
- Dancers in Green and Yellow by Edgar Degas
Sculptures like Watchdog and Oak Base by Constantin Brâncusi and Carrousel Pierrot by Alexander Archipenko. All of these are a few of the many gems of this museum. Visit this wonderful museum and return with a heartwarming experience and solace.
Location: 1071 Fifth Avenue New York, NY-10128 (between 88th and 89th Streets)
5. Brooklyn Museum
We cannot list the 10 best art museums in NYC without mentioning the third largest museum in New York City- The Brooklyn Museum. Although known for collecting some of the best Medieval and Egyptian art pieces, the Brooklyn Museum showcases other diverse collections such as American art, European art, Arts of Asia, Decorative art, Contemporary art, and much more.
The museum is designed in Beaux-Arts architectural style and is spanned around 56000 sq. feet. The Brooklyn Museum is one of the oldest art museums in the United States and counts as one of the largest too. The museum displays around 500000 diverse artworks such as sculptures, reliefs, paintings, pottery, etc.
5.1. Famous Collections
- Cartonnage of Nespanetjerenpare (945-718 B.C.E)
- Greensboro Pottery Jar (Late 19th century)
- Four-Faced Vishnu (4th- 5th century)
- Not at Home by Eastman Johnson
- Winter Scene in Brooklyn by Francis Guy
- Figure (Kareau) (19th Century)
- Wine Jar with Eight Immortals (1271-1368)
You can acknowledge art in the Brooklyn Museum by participating in its various events like tours, talks, performances, dance, film, music, art-making programs, and other special events which are great fun or you can shop appealing books, apparel, prints, posters, artist objects, home decor, toys, and games in the Brooklyn Museum Shop.
Enjoy the best of your day by visiting this aesthetic museum, participating in its events, and also exploring the surrounding like Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Public Library- just like the cherry on the cake.
Location: 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn New York 11238-6052
6. Museum of Arts and Design
From Brian Clarke’s beautiful works in Stained glass to meticulously designed contemporary art jewelry, the Museum of Arts and Design, or more popularly ‘MAD‘ based in Manhattan will surely drive you mad with its vast collection of Jewelry art from the modern and contemporary era, exotic Costume art, Metalworks, Ceramic art, Fabric designs, exotic gems, stones, and digital art, etc. from different cultures (Southeast Asian, Indian, Moroccan, and Egyptian art cultures).
Founded in 1956 by Aileen Osborn Webb– An American Philanthropist, popularly known as the “Great Lady of Crafts”, the museum was moved in 2008 to the Jerome and Simona Chazen Building– a 54,000 sq. ft. structure facing the Columbus Circle.
This building has helped MAD to be the only art museum in New York to have an Open Studio Program which allows visitors to observe and engage with artists at work in their programming spaces. This attribute of the MAD museum makes it very unique and one of the best art museums in NYC.
6.1. Famous Collections
- Nubian Cuff from Egypt (Early 20th century)
- Halter and Skirt by Arline Fisch and Jack Lenor Larsen
- Pendant by Margaret De Patta (Object no. 1976.5.1)
- Glass Form 1966#1 by Marvin Lipofsky
- Cowboy Dreams by Ken Little
- Black Brooch by Lisa Gralnick
- Spiral Hat by Debra Chase
The museum hosts an ample number of events, workshops, performances, ateliers, and talks throughout the year. The best part is you can also buy appealing jewelry, crafts, designs, and other fashion accessories at its store. Believe me, you won’t regret a cent after coming out of this art museum.
Location: Jerome and Simona Chazen Building 2 Columbus Circle, NYC
7. Neue Galerie New York
Founded in 2001, it may be a newer museum as compared to some of the big old art museums listed above but don’t underestimate this versatile museum which shows German Expressionism and Austrian art in its refined form.
I must say that the founder of this museum- Mr. Ronald S. Lauder has achieved his target of showcasing Austrian and German art history (1890- 1940)- the evolution of various artists during this period. The artwork depicts the movements, political situations, and vibrancy of that era.
Neue Galerie New York is considered the outcome of the close friendship between Art dealer and museum organizer Serge Sabarsky and American businessman Ronald S. Lauder whose vision was to showcase the finest artworks of Modern German and Austrian Art. Neue Galerie is the tribute offered to Sabarsky by Ronald S. Lauder after his death. Also, a restaurant named Sabersky Cafe is present in the museum.
7.1. Famous Collections
- Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt (a permanent collection)
- Artworks of Gabriele Münter and Kandinsky and also some art pieces depicting their love
- Artworks of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner like the Tightrope Walk & Seated Female Nude
- Self Portrait with Horn by Max Beckmann
- Aladdin by Alfred Kubin
- Mr. Spindler by Albert Birkle
- Man in a Storm by Alfred Kubin
Highly recommended for art lovers who want to perceive the knowledge of art history.
Location: 1048 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10028
Contact: Visit Site
8. The Frick Collection
Wondering what the ‘Frick’ refers to? Henry Clay Frick was an American Industrialist- a man so obsessed with art that he modified his house into an exuberant art museum, a museum, which is itself a reflection of the personality of its owner.
The Frick Collection honors the famous Fragonard series wall paintings, JP Morgan’s Renaissance bronzes, elegant furniture like armchairs, commodes, ceramics, and cabinets with beautiful marquetry. Some other beautiful artworks include:
- Officer and Laughing Girl by Johannes Vermeer
- Mistress and Maid by Johannes Vermeer
- The Coronation of The Virgin by Paolo Veneziano
- Nicolaes Ruts by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
- Mantel Clock by Ferdinand Berthoud
- Angel by Jean Barbet
The Frick Collection embodies sixteen permanent art galleries, each of which offers the viewers glorious artworks from British, American, Austrian, Chinese, French, German, and many other cultures.
Henry Clay Frick was committed to serving his mansion as an accessible tool for knowledge and research purposes to the public after his death. His highly regarded values have led The Frick Collection to be granted as one of the world’s best art history research centers.
Thanks to his daughter- Helen Clay Frick who added more charm to this museum by founding Frick Art Reference Library in 1920 and keeping alive his Father’s vision.
The Frick Collection is temporarily closed for renovation and its temporary new home is Frick Madison, both of which are easily accessible with the help of its Museum map.
THE FRICK COLLECTION (Currently closed for renovation)
Location: 945 Madison Avenue 75th Street New York, NY 10021
THE FRICK MADISON (New temporary address): 1 East 70th Street New York, NY 10021
9. Rubin Museum of Art
Not a place just for looking at something on a wall, the Rubin Museum of Art is a place for Peace and Meditation where you’ll find artworks from Asian lands such as Himalayan Art (the most prominent Asian art) depicting artworks like Tara- a female deity in Tibetan culture, Nepali Artworks by artists such as Isherin Sherpa & Sheelasha Rajbhandari, and other traditional and contemporary art.
The Rubin Museum of Art was founded in 2004 by Shelley Rubin & Donald Rubin who were mesmerized by a Thangka– a Tibetan painting on cloth, depicting White Tara– a female Buddhist Deity while walking on Madison Avenue. Their love and obsession with Himalayan art led them to create The Rubin Museum in Chelsea, Manhattan.
One of this museum’s masterpieces is its “Mandala Lab” where you’ll learn the Buddhist principles to understand and transform your emotions and connect to your inner self in a much better way. The Mandala lab is contributed by several artists such as Amit Dutta, Laurie Anderson, Wang Yahui, Shivamani, and Billy Cobham to name a few.
Healing programs offered by the museum help many people deal with their illnesses by finding love and happiness and changing their attitude toward life and mortality through art. These distinctive organic qualities of this museum make it one of the best art museums in NYC.
9.1. Famous Collections
- Bhairava (16th Century)
- Mandala of Chandra (late 15th to 16th Century)
- Akshobhyavajra (Early 17th Century)
- Black Jambhala (13th Century)
- Shiva and Parvati (13th Century)
- Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (13th Century)
- Ritual Hammer – Ming Dynasty (15th Century)
The museum’s co-founders -Donald and Shelley Rubin’s idea of engaging people with film nights, concerts, and lectures makes it one of the liveliest museums in new york to share art, culture, happiness, and love.
Location: 150 West 17th Street New York, NY 10011
10. New Museum of Contemporary Art
The New Museum of Contemporary art was founded by Marcia Tucker– one of the former museum curators at The Whitney Museum of American Art in 1977. It is located on the lower East Side of Manhattan spanning an area of 58700 sq. ft and was designed by renowned architects Kazuyo Sezima and Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA) as a seven-story building with cuboidal blocks placed on top of each other.
The New Museum is famous for showcasing contemporary art exhibitions from diverse cultural backgrounds. The museum acts as an efficient medium for exchanging ideas between contemporary artists, productions, and diverse groups of people.
It is actively involved in focusing on critical issues of the present world through its programs and exhibitions. It is also committed to standing with Racial Equity and proposes anti-racist actions to promote equality in the workplace and society.
Being a non-collective institution, it showcases temporary exhibitions and keeps updating newer exhibitions continuously.
10.1. Past Exhibitions
- What Eats Around Itself by Daiga Grantina (2021)
- Crime and Punishment by Peter Saul- known for pop art paintings (2021)
- All Connected by Hans Haacke (2020)
- Au Naturel by Sarah Lucas (2019)
- Harvest Moon by Alex Da Corte (2018)
- Diary of a Madman by Cheng Ran (2017)
- The End is Here by Jim Shaw (2016)
The new museum also provides virtual and on-site guided tours and many engaging public programs. It, the museum also has a gift shop offering books, apparel, and other accessories
Location: 235 Bowery New York, NY 10002
So here I have done my work of presenting to you the 10 best art museums in NYC. But, this does not limit the legacy and eminence of some of the other art museums in NYC, like
- The Jewish Museum– 5th Avenue, 92nd Street New York, NY 10128
- New York Transit Museum – 99 Schermerhorn Street Brooklyn New York, NY 11201
- American Museum of Natural History – 200 Central Park West, Manhattan, New York, NY 10024
- Museum of the City of New York – 5th Avenue, 103rd Street New York, NY 10029
- El Museo del Barrio– 5th Avenue, 104th Street New York, NY 10029
- The Morgan Library & Museum– 225 Madison Avenue New York NY 10016
- The Studio Museum in Harlem– 144 West 125th Street, Manhattan New York, NY 10027
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where in NYC Can I Find Renaissance Art?
Visit Frick Madison, the temporary location of the museum and library. The Frick Collection’s temporary relocation to its new location at 945 Madison Avenue, to see treasures from the Renaissance through the early 20th century.
2. How Many Art Museums Does NYC Have?
As of 2023, the list includes 145 awesome art museums in New York City.
3. Which Art Gallery Is the Biggest in New York City?
With the most significant art collections, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the three major art museums in the world and the largest in the US, was founded in 1870.
In the end, I would like to say that each museum has its unique ambiance and fragrance. And it is very vague to say which among them is the best. I would rather say, all of them are the best in their respective space of art.
It solely depends on the type of artwork you are looking for. Now, it’s your turn to explore them as soon as possible!
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