Looking for some free art, culture vultures? Thought so. Which is why we found a bunch of gratis art shows at galleries and museums in NYC that won’t cost you a cent. Visit well-known institutions like the Pace Gallery and David Zwirner and still have money in your pocket for lunch at one of the best restaurants in NYC.
RECOMMENDED: See the full guide to free things to do in NYC
Best free art exhibitions in NYC
Nietzsche’s notions about the will to power, the death of God and the Übermensch or Superman provide partial inspiration for Kiefer’s Uraeus, his first-ever public art commission in the United States. Standing 20-feet tall, the work features some of the German artist’s signature materials (lead sheeting) and motifs (books, wings) in a paean to classical mythology.
The sculptures of Syrian-born Brooklyn artist Diana Al-Hadid are known for commenting on history, globalism and the human condition through a haunting mix of fragmentary figuration and abstraction. “Delirious Matter” represents the artist’s first major public art project and comprises six new installations spread out over Madison Square Park.
Larsen, 78, cites El Lissitzky and Early-Renaissance painting as sources for her spatially skewed compositions populated by blocky figures. Here, she’s seated them around tables in configurations meant to recall the many faculty meeting Larsen attended during her long career as a professor of art at Florida State University.
Cleveland, Ohio is known as the “Mistake On The Lake” outside city limits, but among the members of its Hip-Hop community, it’s referred to by the more dignified, “The Land.” Cleveland native Michelangelo Lovelace takes the name as the show title for his scenes of local, inner-city life painted in a vibrant style that recalls folk and outsider art.
Peters’s sculptural busts mix the archaic and the modern, and look like they could have been dug out of the sands of Egypt or Mesopotamia, or fished from some ancient shipwreck site in the Aegean Sea. But they are very contemporary in the way they address the psychology of power—an aspect of human nature that’s as timeless as the art her work recalls.
British-Nigerian artist Shonibare (who appends the MBE to his name in recognition of his receiving the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) is adding some additional color to Central Park with an undulating Fiberglass sculpture covered in bold shapes sporting a palette of bright hues. According to the artist, the scheme is inspired by the beaches near his childhood home in Lagos, Nigeria, but they also recall the batik fabrics (produced in Indonesia by the Dutch to export to Colonial Africa) that have become signature references in his work.
Turning away from his recent focus on female nudes, Dunham has been working over the past year on a new series of wrestling men—also naked and also treated with his signature cartoonish flair. They're seen grappling with each other in stylized landscapes populated by various critters surveying the mayhem, which is charged with a distinctly homoerotic undercurrent.
Giorgio de Chirico’s younger brother, Savinio lived under the shadow of his more famous sibling. Still, he shared De Chirico’s Surreal aesthetic and haunting subject matter, though not his classical precision. Instead, Savinio opted for a combination of softer contours and brushwork that, in something of a supreme irony, became the template for Chirico’s late work.