Essays

Contrary to popular belief, New York’s Museum of Modern Art was not the first institution in the United States exclusively devoted to contemporary art. Between 1927 and 1943, New York University was home to A.E. Gallatin’s Gallery of Living Art—renamed the Museum of Living Art in 1936—which was restricted to “fresh and individual” works by […]

New York City’s Greenwich Village—bordered roughly by Fourteenth Street on the north, by the Hudson River on the west, by Broadway on the east, and by Houston Street on the south—has long been a fertile spawning ground for the arts. New York University and its art galleries have played key roles in this illustrious history. […]

Better known as the inventor of the electric telegraph, Samuel F. B. Morse was also a professor of painting and sculpture at New York University, which was founded in 1832. His appointment that year to the first such professorship in the United States represents a milestone in his mission to promote the fine arts as […]

In 1974 Abby Weed Grey established the Grey Art Gallery at New York University both as a permanent home for her art collection and to promote international artistic exchange in an academic setting. The Abby Weed Grey Collection of Modern Asian and Middle Eastern Art at NYU comprises some 700 works produced by artists from […]

Shiseido Women

Photo Essay In Japan, women’s fashion, like makeup, continues to evolve, reflecting the moods and mores of the times. The following photographs of women provide tantalizing glimpses into some of the radical changes that have marked the past century. At the opening of the Meiji era in 1868, only the few Europeans and Americans living […]

Bridging the Art/Commerce Divide:  Cindy Sherman and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons

In 1994, Cindy Sherman produced a series of photographs for the clothing company Comme des Garçons that break virtually every rule of fashion photography. As philosopher Roland Barthes has observed, fashion photography is generally governed by a “garment-photograph-caption” formulation, an apt description that cannot, however, be applied to Sherman’s interpretation of Comme des Garçons clothes. […]

Maya Deren and Haiti

Maya Deren’s fascination with New World African culture was an enduring leitmotif of her artistic vision. She began her career with Katherine Dunham’s dance troupe, which was famous for exploring the mythological roots of Caribbean ritual movement, and by 1942 she was publishing articles about Haitian religion and dance. She focused on the spiritual implications […]

Claude Cahun as Anti-Nazi Resistance Fighter

In 1937, feeling increasingly trapped by the political climate in Paris, Claude Cahun escaped to the Isle of Jersey. Along with Guernsey and the other British Channel Islands just off the coast of Brittany, Jersey was a popular site for vacation homes belonging to bourgeois citizens from the nearby French city of Nantes. On Jersey, […]

By Shiva Balaghi, December 2008 “People moving along Tehran’s Pahlavi Avenue (now renamed Vali-‘Asr Avenue) in 1960,” recalled Parviz Tanavoli, “would have seen a gigantic sculpture on the balcony of one of the apartments that overlooked the street. Constructed from scrap metal, this assemblage depicted a man embracing a deer. The deer’s antlers were made […]