Free arts and culture this week in New York City

Think you have to be a swell to soak up cultural life in the big city? Our weekly rundown of free arts events in NYC proves otherwise.

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1

Barneys New York holiday windows

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Walk by Barneys New York for a holiday view of fluffy woodland creatures and fantastical snow owls from the creative mind of writer and director Baz Luhrmann and his wife, costume designer Catherine Martin.

  1. Barneys New York 660 Madison Ave, at 61st St
  2. Thu Dec 4 - Wed Dec 31
More info
2

“Willem van Genk: Mind Traffic”

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Critics choice
  • Free

By now, it’s hardly surprising that the work of a freshly discovered outsider artist is usually astonishing. While Willem van Genk isn’t unknown, exactly—he’s been celebrated in Europe for years—he’s new to these shores, and so his work arrives here as if it had just been uncovered. And

  1. American Folk Art Museum 2 Lincoln Sq, Columbus Ave, at 66th St
  2. Thu Nov 27 - Mon Dec 1
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3

"Picasso & Jacqueline: The Evolution of Style"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The work of Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) represents the art-historical gift that keeps on giving, offering exhibition organizers a seemingly inexhaustible supply of periods and styles to draw upon. This show takes up the last two decades of his career, when he obsessed over the image of his second

  1. Pace Gallery 32 E 57th St, between Madison and Park Aves
  2. Thu Nov 27 - Sat Jan 10
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4

Sam Falls, "Light Over Time"

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  • Free

A process-oriented Los Angeles artist who works in a variety of media, Sam Falls has transformed Downtown Brooklyn’s MetroTech Commons into a playground for his interactive art. Exploring the passage of time through light and color, Falls displays several sculptural works that are activated by

  1. Public Art Fund at MetroTech Center Commons MetroTech Center Commons, Myrtle Ave, between Flatbush Ave and Jay St
  2. Thu Nov 27 - Fri May 29
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5

Danh Vo, We the People

  • Critics choice
  • Free

In this remarkable project, Vo—a Danish artist living in Berlin whose family fled his native Vietnam for Denmark after the fall of Saigon—has created a full-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty, in 250 unassembled pieces. Each segment has been constructed using the original material and

  1. Brooklyn Bridge Park Main St, at Fulton Ferry Landing, 11201
  2. Thu Nov 27 - Fri Dec 5
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6

"Classical Nudes and the Making of Queer History"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

In an ambitious exhibit that's as sexy as it is educational, Leslie-Lohman traces queer art from antiquity and the Renaissance (think sculptures of Sappho and muscleman drawings by Michelangelo) to the modern era (including work by boundary-pushing artists like Del LaGrace Volcano and Robert

  1. Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art 26 Wooster St, between Canal and Grand Sts
  2. Fri Nov 28 - Sun Jan 4
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7

Gary Simmons, "Fight Night"

  • Free

This African-American artist is best known for chalkboard paintings featuring semi-erased images that include racist caricatures among other things more tangentially related to identity. He's had an ongoing interest in boxing, a sport dominated by black athletes, and for this show, he's created a

  1. Metro Pictures 519 W 24th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
  2. Thu Nov 27 - Sat Dec 20
More info
8

Kara Walker, "Afterword"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This is the artist's first solo show since her blockbuster public-art project at the old Dominos Sugar refinery in Williamsburg. On view are studies for the centerpiece, a massive sphinx, as well as the actual retinue of boys made of molasses that accompanied it. The creature's gigantic front paw

  1. Sikkema Jenkins & Co. 530 W 22nd St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
  2. Thu Nov 27 - Sat Jan 17
More info
9

Thomas Scheibitz, "Studio Imaginaire"

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  • Free

Thomas Scheibitz has been a dependable presence in New York galleries since the ’90s, and his neomodernist approach has been just as reliable. His latest paintings and sculptures are business as usual, offering schematic lines and forms binding a deft puree of references to early-20th-century

  1. Tanya Bonakdar Gallery 521 W 21st St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
  2. Thu Nov 27 - Sat Dec 20
More info
10

Sigmar Polke, "Photocopierarbeiten"

  • Free

In the early 1990s, when Sigmar Polke began using a copier, Photoshop was only a few years old and confined to commercial-design firms. Yet in these black-and-white images dating from that period, Polke managed to create exaggerated, Photoshop-filter-like effects by dragging halftone images and old

  1. Fergus McCaffrey 514 W 26th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, 1011
  2. Thu Nov 27 - Sat Dec 20
More info
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