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Modern Art Lectures in New York City

This section provides a listing of all lectures that are available to the public in New York City. These are all lectures that can be visited without signing up for a multi-session course, or being a member of a particular institution.

 
April
 
24
Jeff Koons on Sculpture
Thursday - 6:00pm - The Frick Collection
Overview
Internationally recognized artist Jeff Koons will share his impressions about the importance of the small-scale bronze tradition, using examples from the special exhibition Renaissance and Baroque Bronzes from the Hill Collection, currently on view at the Frick Collection.
Lecturer: Jeff Koons
Lecture Website
 
24
The Life and Times of Juan Gris's Violin and Playing Cards on a Table (1913)
Thursday - 11:00am - The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Overview
This lecture will explore the Cubist still life painting Violin and Playing Cards on a Table by Juan Gris, created in the foothills of the Pyrénées Mountains on the eve of World War I. Led by Rebecca Rabinow, Curator of Modern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the talk will discuss Gris's life, his work, and the conditions under which he painted this masterpiece.
Lecturer: Rebecca Rabinow
Lecture Website
 
30
Early Work: Richard Serra and Hal Foster
Wednesday - - The New York Public Library
Overview
On the occasion of the publication Richard Serra: Early Work by Steidl and David Zwirner, Richard Serra joins American art critic and historian Hal Foster to discuss the artist's seminal body of work spanning 1966 to 1971. This period of artistic output marks the beginning of Serra’s innovative, process-oriented experiments with nontraditional materials, such as vulcanized rubber, neon, and lead.
Lecturer: Richard Serra and Hal Foster
Artist Discussed: Richard Serra
Lecture Website
 
May
 
01
Who Cares If It's Painting?
Thursday - 6:30pm - The Museum of Modern Art
Overview
Organized in conjunction with the exhibition Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963–2010, this panel discussion explores key aspects of Sigmar Polke’s cross-disciplinary approach and its significance for artists working today. Panelists include artists Frances Stark, Carroll Dunham, Wolfgang Tillmans, Ken Okiishi, and Glenn Ligon. The panel will be moderated by Kathy Halbreich, exhibition curator and Associate Director, MoMA.
Artist Discussed: Sigmar Polke
Lecture Website
 
01
The Life and Times of Henri Matisse's Three O'Clock Sitting (1924)
Thursday - 11:00am - The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Overview
Led by Rebecca Rabinow, Curator of Modern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this lecture will explore Henri Matisse’s Three O’Clock Sitting, which he created on the Riviera while teaching one of his favorite models how to paint. Part of the Life and Times lecture series, this talk will investigate the artist's life and work by focusing on this painting and the specific historical conditions in which it was made.
Lecturer: Rebecca Rabinow
Artist Discussed: Henri Matisse
Lecture Website
 
06
Conversations with Chevaliers: Annie Leibovitz and Adam Gopnik
Tuesday - 8:00pm - The 92nd Street Y
Overview
In this conversation, acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz will discuss her career as a photojournalist and documentarian of the evolving twentieth century social and cultural landscapes.
Lecture Website
 
07
Ivo Pannaggi, Arte Meccanica, and the International Avant-Garde
Wednesday - 6:30pm - The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Overview
In 1922, Ivo Pannaggi and Vinicio Paladini published their “Manifesto of Futurist Mechanical Art,” launching postwar Futurist debates on the role of the machine in modern life and art. This presentation by Christine Poggi, Professor of the History of Art, University of Pennsylvania, considers the Futurist cult of the machine as it developed in the 1920s, expanding to include painting, theater design and costumes, advertising, graphics, and architectural decor. Focusing especially on Pannaggi, Poggi situates his Futurist work in relation to international avant-garde movements, including Purism, De Stijl, Constructivism, and the Bauhaus.
Lecturer: Christine Poggi
Movement Discussed: Futurism
Lecture Website
 
08
Jasper Johns: Around the Motif
Thursday - 1:30pm - The Museum of Modern Art
Overview
This gallery discussion will focus on the inspiration behind Jasper Johns' powerfully evocative body of work, currently on view in the exhibition Jasper Johns: Regrets.
Artist Discussed: Jasper Johns
Lecture Website
 
09
Experimentation and Chance in Jasper Johns's Regrets
Friday - 11:30am - The Museum of Modern Art
Overview
This gallery discussion will focus on the roles of experimentation and chance in Jasper Johns's recently completed series of drawings, prints, and paintings, titled Regrets, exploring the artist’s intention, narrative, and use of each distinct medium in the final result.
Artist Discussed: Jasper Johns
Lecture Website
 
11
Noguchi Talks: How Sculpture Collapses Time
Sunday - 3:00pm -
Overview
Working from the latest installation of highlights from the permanent collection, Noguchi Archaic/Noguchi Modern, Dakin Hart, Senior Curator of The Noguchi Museum, will focus on different ways Isamu Noguchi collapsed the past and the future—often, paradoxically, out of love and fear for the present.
Lecturer: Dakin Hart
Artist Discussed: Isamu Noguchi
Lecture Website
 
20
Kara Walker and Jad Abumrad
Tuesday - 7:00pm - The New York Public Library
Overview
One of today’s most significant and complex contemporary artists, Kara Walker, reflects on themes of race, gender, sexuality, violence, and subjugation in her visually striking work, in conversation with Radiolab's Jad Abumrad.
Lecture Website
 
20
War, Women, and Sexuality in the Futurist Avant-Garde
Tuesday - 6:30pm - The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Overview
ollowing an introduction of some of the most important Futurist women writers and artists who emerged during the First World War and contributed to the journal L’Italia futurista, Lucia Re, Professor of Italian and Gender Studies, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) discusses the debate on women’s roles, sexuality, and gender equality that arose in conjunction with the publication of F.T. Marinetti's wartime seduction “manual” Come si seducono le donne. A viewing of the exhibition "Italian Futurism, 1909–1944: Reconstructing the Universe" will follow the lecture.
Lecturer: Lucia Re
Movement Discussed: Futurism
Lecture Website


OTHER OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN ABOUT MODERN ART:

 

Gallery Talks & Tours:
A number of New York City museums host regular gallery talks and tours that highlight the standing exhibitions and permanent collections. Audiences learn about the historical context and significance of modern and contemporary artworks through the process of looking and exchanging ideas with a lecturer or curator. Read the descriptions below for insights into each offering and visit the provided link for further information. The below are all single-session events. For multi-session courses, please visit our modern art courses guide.
Museum of Modern Art
MoMA Gallery Talks occur twice daily, at 11:30 am and 1:30pm. All are free with museum admission, and meet at the atrium on the second floor.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Daily gallery tours focus on specific aspects of the collection or on special exhibitions; there are multiple tours scheduled daily and all depart from the main lobby. These "talks" do not require tickets or reservations unless otherwise noted.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Public Tours and Gallery Programs are scheduled infrequently at the Guggenheim, but they do occur every so often. Check this link for the latest scheduling info.
Whitney Museum of American Art
Gallery tours through the Whitney's collection and current exhibitions are offered each day. Tours meet in the galleries, and all are free with museum admission; no reservations necessary.
Frick Collection
Docent-led Gallery Talks are scheduled daily, at 11:00am, 12:30pm, and 2:00pm. Topics vary depending on what works from the permanent collection are on display. All are free with museum admission, and online reservations are required.
Jewish Museum
Tickets for public events vary depending on nature of program; all are in addition to regular price of museum admission. Talks, tours and lectures are scheduled infrequently. Check this link for latest scheduling info.
Brooklyn Museum
Gallery Tours are scheduled on most days the museum is open; a museum guide leads tours of special exhibitions. All tours begin in the Rubin Lobby, first floor, and are free with museum admission.
Museum of Art and Design
MAD offers docent-led tours daily at 11:30 am and 3:00 pm. Tours are free with museum admission and meet in the lobby.
Re-Occuring Museum Lectures:
The below museum lectures occur frequently and they are run the same way each time with regards to length and content. As they are too numerous to list in the list of above single-lectures, but useful links below.
Museum of Modern Art
In addition to its extensive schedule of Gallery Talks & Tours, MoMA also offers a number of lecture panels, readings and symposia, covering a variety of topics and themes related to temporary exhibitions and the museum's permanent collection.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Museum lectures are scheduled regularly throughout the week, including Saturdays and Sundays; all are free with museum admission, and are organized around specific themes.
Frick Collection
Museum lectures at the Frick are scheduled for most weeks and begin at 6:oo pm. All are free with entrance after 5:45 pm; no reservations necessary. Lectures take place in the Music Room.


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