Religious and seasonal art

Check out pieces that evoke the spirit of the season.

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  • Photograph: Bruce White

    BGC_Christmas_Cards

    "American Christmas Cards 1900--1960"
    Sending paper Christmas cards may be an antiquated tradition, but the cheerful salutations have always signified more than an annual hello. "Christmas cards are great, unrecognized democratic art," says exhibit curator Kenneth L. Ames. The show is the first to explore the broader cultural meaning of the seasonal greetings, and includes more than 200 cards that depict a variety of festive scenes (including carolers and people sledding). Bard Graduate Center, 18 W 86th St between Central Park West and Columbus Ave (212-501-3023, bgc.bard.edu). Tue, Wed, Fri--Sun 11am--5pm; Thu 11am--8pm. $7, seniors and students $5. Through Dec 31.

  • Photograph: Courtesy the Jewish Museum

    "An Artist Remembers: Hanukkah Lamps Selected by Maurice Sendak"
    Author and illustrator Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are) picked 33 different menorahs from the Jewish Museum's vast collection for this exhibit, choosing pieces that conjured memories or otherwise moved him. The lamps on view span centuries, and no two are alike---you'll see a chiseled limestone piece from Palestine alongside an ornate copper one found in Vienna. The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Ave at 92nd St (212-423-3200, thejewishmuseum.org). Mon, Tue, Sat, Sun 11am--5:45pm; Thu 11am--8pm; Fri 11am--4pm. $12, seniors $10, students $7.50, children under 12 free. Saturdays free. Through Jan 29.

  • Photograph: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia
    Fifteen of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's galleries were recently renovated and reopened as a suite, featuring more than 1,200 objects culled from the institution's extensive holdings. Pieces include a 16th-century Persian carpet owned by a Habsburg emperor, and there's a room that replicates the 18th-century chambers of a Syrian merchant, with original tile and stained-glass windows. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St (212-535-7710, metmuseum.org). Tue--Thu, Sun 9:30am--5:30pm; Fri, Sat 9:30am--9pm. Suggested donation $25, seniors $17, students $12, members and children under 12 free. Ongoing.

  • Photograph: Graham S. Haber; 2011

    "Robert Burns and 'Auld Lang Syne'"
    Using letters and manuscripts, the Morgan Library & Museum investigates the evolution of this ubiquitous ballad---the title of which roughly translates as "time gone by"---especially through the work of its author, Scottish poet Robert Burns. "Despite the linguistic hurdle, we all understand that the song is about friendship and nostalgia," says curator Christine Nelson. Look for Burns's 20-page letter, written in 1793, in which he penned the words for the first time; it comes at the very end, almost as a postscript. The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Ave at 36th St (212-685-0008, themorgan.org). Tue--Thu 10:30am--5pm, Fri 10:30am--9pm, Sat 10am--6pm, Sun 11am--6pm; $15, seniors and students $10. Through Feb 5.

  • "Wreath Interpretations"
    Don't expect to see gilded berries and ribbons at this show: The 32 wreaths on view are made from unexpected materials like paintbrushes, origami dollar bills and coffee-cup holders. A blacksmith even welded one, transforming a piece of steel into tree branches. "We let artists loose," says Jennifer Lantzas, the public-art coordinator for NYC's Parks Department, which mounted the exhibit. "It's like a puzzle to figure out how the wreaths are made." Arsenal Gallery in Central Park, enter at Fifth Ave and 64th St, third floor (212-360-8163, nyc.gov/parks/art). Mon--Fri 9am--5pm; free. Through Jan 12.

  • Photograph: Courtesy the Merchant's House Museum

    "From Candlelight to Bubble Light"
    The Merchant's House Museum goes for 1950s kitsch with this year's holiday decorations. "American Christmas traditions began in the mid-19th century, when this house was new, and hit their peak in the 1950s," says exhibit coordinator Eva Ulz. Peep vintage items such as midcentury ornaments, plastic Santas and china shaped like holly leaves. The items are culled from the collection of '80s downtown artist Deb O'Nair, who also styled the show. The Merchant's House Museum, 29 E 4th St between Bowery and Lafayette St (212-777-1089, merchantshouse.org). Mon, Thu--Sun noon--5pm; $10, seniors and students $5. Through Jan 9.

  • Photograph: Courtesy the New-York Historical Society

    "It Happened Here: The Invention of Santa Claus" and "A New York Hanukkah"
    St. Nick wasn't always portrayed as a jolly man in red; earlier incarnations of the big dude were far more stern. This exhibit traces the shift in Santa's character through 19th-century depictions, including Thomas Nast's iconic drawings in Harper's Weekly, and Clement Clarke Moore's famous poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" (better known by its opening line: "'Twas the Night Before Christmas"). Also on view is a Hanukkah lamp by Bronx silversmith Bernard Bernstein. New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West between 76th and 77th Sts (212-873-3400, nyhistory.org). Tue--Thu, Sat 10am--6pm; Fri 10am--8pm; Sun 11am--5pm. $15, seniors and educators $12, students $10. Through Jan 8.

Photograph: Bruce White

BGC_Christmas_Cards

"American Christmas Cards 1900--1960"
Sending paper Christmas cards may be an antiquated tradition, but the cheerful salutations have always signified more than an annual hello. "Christmas cards are great, unrecognized democratic art," says exhibit curator Kenneth L. Ames. The show is the first to explore the broader cultural meaning of the seasonal greetings, and includes more than 200 cards that depict a variety of festive scenes (including carolers and people sledding). Bard Graduate Center, 18 W 86th St between Central Park West and Columbus Ave (212-501-3023, bgc.bard.edu). Tue, Wed, Fri--Sun 11am--5pm; Thu 11am--8pm. $7, seniors and students $5. Through Dec 31.

RECOMMENDED: Christmas in New York guide 2012

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