The city's art and culture scene can be a dizzying one—but our list has you covered.
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler
Zoom out. What’s this place all about?
This is no ordinary art museum. Located in a striking Renaissance Revival former public school building in Long Island City, Queens, its setting is just as interesting as its collection, which is dedicated to cutting-edge contemporary works from the likes of James Turrell and Ai Weiwei. The crowd is usually just as cutting-edge. Because of its location in Long Island City, and the nature of its artwork, visitors usually come here knowing what they'll get and are commonly in the art, fashion, and design worlds. There aren't too many random drop-ins.
What are we talking about in the permanent collection?
All manner of contemporary art is shown here, with a collection over 200,000 pieces strong, ranging from Diane Arbus and Cindy Sherman photographs to paintings from Francis Bacon and Sol LeWitt sculptures.
And what if we're in the mood for a temporary exhibit?
Thought provoking, conceptual rotating exhibits are the norm here, and have included shows like a retrospective of German electronic band Kraftwerk (which featured live performances and 3D visualizations of music) and a vast survey of multimedia artist Mike Kelley's work.
What did you make of the crowd?
The people-watching can be just as good as the art, as creative types from around the city come here to find inspiration—especially during the summer months, when the museum throws its popular experimental music parties called Warm Up.
On the practical tip, how were facilities?
The museum is large, but not the scope of MoMA in Manhattan, so accessibility—including for those with mobility issues—isn't a problem, and a large elevator is available to every floor. You'll always find a place to sit and rest if need be, as well.
Any guided tours worth trying?
Although only group tours are available, there's a free audio app, which gives insight into the collection. There's even a separate recording for kids.
Gift shop: obligatory, inspiring—or skip it?
Some people visit the gift shop here for its amazing selection of independent magazines and publications alone. It's primarily a book store (hence the name, Artbook @ MoMA PS1) and sells titles related to current exhibitions, photography monographs, books on art theory, and a range of style and design magazines and journals.
Is the café worth a stop, or should we just plan on going elsewhere?
After the early 2019 closure of the outstanding M. Wells Dinette, the food and restaurant at PS1 came under the supervision of Mina Stone, best known for her book Cooking for Artists.
Any advice for the time- or attention-challenged?
You could spend an hour just exploring the museum's bookstore, so if that's all you have, pick a few galleries to focus on. But do stop by the ongoing James Turrell exhibit, "Meeting," an installation that encourages viewers to look upwards toward an unobstructed view of the sky.
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