Bronx Museum of the Arts

  • Melissa Calderon 'Round the way girl...[cultural Osmosis for the Native Gringa]

1 Eurocentric museums make you go blind with boredom? The Bronx Museum is the cure. In the ’70s, four community activists established it to showcase African-, Hispanic- and Asian-American artists. Since then, the BMA has built a unique collection, especially of multicultural portraits.

2 A striking new north wing was completed in 2006, the jagged design incorporatinging architectural elements from the entrance to the high-rise Executive Towers across 165th Street.

3 The Bronx Museum employs 15 local high-school students on a Teen Council; together they produce the quarterly Musezine about Bronx art, available free in the museum gift shop.

4 Don’t miss the small gallery’s Teen Council video interview with local artist--educator Tim Rollins, wherein he poignantly describes the 1993 murder of his student Chris Hernandez by a drug dealer.

5 BMA’s annual Artists in the Marketplace program recruits 36 emerging artists to attend insidery seminars led by lawyers, collectors and various business types. The program culminates with a public exhibition of their work; alums include art-world heavyweights like Whitfield Lovell and Bronx artist Melissa A. Caldern whose Round the way, girl... [Cultural Osmosis for the Native Gringa] caused a stir in the community earlier this year, with neighbors complaining about her monumental sculpture of a gold earring with the word spic in the middle.

6The museum gift shop is packed with original graffiti art: Aaron Lazansky-Olivas has painted a model train car with dynamic lettering (one half $450, full car $800). If that’s too rich for your blood, the shop also sells his graffiti coloring book ($8), as well as a hand-graffitied cosmetic bag ($25) by Toofly.

7 The museum is celebrating the centennial of the Grand Concourse with multiple exhibitions—one highlight is Yankee Stadiums by Jeff Chien-Sing Liao, which captures both stadiums in a moment of transition. While strolling down the Concourse, look for world-renowned graffiti team Tats Cru’s mural opposite the museum at 166th Street.

8 Broke folks, take note: The museum flings its doors open the first Friday of every month for free public programming including films, talks and performances.

Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse at 165th St, Bronx (718-681-6000, Thu, Sat, Sun 11am--6pm; Fri 11am--8pm. $5, seniors and students $3, Fridays free.


AIA Center for Architecture

Museum of American Finance

Asia Society

Bronx Museum of the Arts

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Morgan Library & Museum

Museum of the City of New York

The Paley Center for Media

Queens Museum of Art

Rubin Museum of Art

Museums: The actually cool guide
Highlights of the best venues. Plus: parties, food, gifts and Kate Moss.