While it has a prominent location on 77th Street facing Central Park West, the New-York Historical Society is one of the overlooked gems among New York City Museums. It might be because of that “natural history” museum up the street. Or maybe it’s because history isn’t that popular here in New York City. (Across the park is the “official” history museum of the City of New York, and that’s even more overlooked.)
But that should change this month, as the NYHS offers two exhibitions centered around cartooning and comic books!
First, ending October 12 is “The Hirschfeld Century: The Art of Al Hirschfeld“.
Al Hirschfeld (1903–2003) brought a distinct style to celebrity drawings, making his work instantly recognizable —to be “Hirschfelded” was a sign that a performer had arrived. Now for the first time, nine decades of Hirschfeld’s work will be on display at the New-York Historical Society in The Hirschfeld Century: The Art of Al Hirschfeld, a multimedia exhibition organized in partnership with The Al Hirschfeld Foundation and in conjunction with Alfred A. Knopf’s publication of curator David Leopold’s groundbreaking book on the artist. The exhibition of over 100 original works includes many highlights from Hirschfeld’s prolific career with a special emphasis on the New York Times—where he was a contributor for over seven decades. Come see the art that defined New York popular culture and made the 1900s The Hirschfeld Century.
Opening October 9th and running until February 21, 2016 is “Superheroes in Gotham“.
Comic book superheroes are a part of our daily lives. They engage our imaginations on the pages of comic books, television and movie screens, as well as the Broadway stage and in the virtual world of gaming. Contemporary literature and art reference them; adults and children alike delight in donning superhero t-shirts, caps, and sneakers.
Since their introduction in the late 1930s, superheroes have been powerful role models, inspirational and enviable. Based on mythological archetypes, they reflect, respond to, and offer ways to navigate the twists and turns of modern life. Comic books are a great American art form, a cultural phenomenon born in New York City that now extends around the globe.
Superheroes in Gotham will tell the story of the birth of comic book superheroes in New York City; the leap of comic book superheroes from the page into radio, television, and film; the role of fandom, including the yearly mega event known as New York Comic Con; and the ways in which comic book superheroes, created in the late 1930s through the 1960s, have inspired and influenced the work of contemporary comic book artists, cartoonists, and painters in New York City.
NYHS offers three superhero-themed events this month:
- The opening weekend celebration (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
Calling all superheroes! Answer the call and bring your super powers to our weekend of programs for junior heroes. Kids will design and wear their own wrist cuffs—will yours deflect lasers? Help you fly? Shoot webs? Get ready to defeat a super villain by joining our superhero training sessions, where participants will practice their defending and attacking skills! Then kids can decorate a super plane and fly it through the New York skyline. Make sure to pick up our Superheroes in Gotham family guide and find all six heroes in this amazing exhibition. And don’t forget to get your picture taken with the one and only Batmobile! Kids age 13 and under receive free Museum admission!
[Actually, one of three fiberglass replicas built by George Barris, and there should be a © notice there somewhere…]
- The Big Superheroes Quiz Thing this Friday, October 9! (Part of New York Super Week!)
How well do you know Gotham? To celebrate the opening of our thrilling exhibition Superheroes in Gotham, N-YHS and NYC’s premier live trivia company present a superhero-themed game show spectacular! This Comic Con Super Week event features the world’s greatest multimedia team trivia on all things superheroes. Test your knowledge of comic books, movies, television shows, and more. Win big prizes and big glory! Jump into the Lightning Round, the Buzzertastic Finale, and earn Smart-Ass Points for wrong but funny answers. Come early at 6 pm to view the exhibition that inspired it all: Superheroes in Gotham. And don’t forget—costumes are encouraged! Free with pay-as-you-wish Friday evening admission.
Channel your superpowers at our annual family Halloween party, which celebrates our adventurous exhibition Superheroes in Gotham. Test your super strength, makes silhouette trick-or-treat bags, create a tasty “graveyard goop” dessert, and challenge others with your super-villain knowledge. And, of course, go home with plenty of candy!
All October you can cast your vote our third annual Dress Up Abe and Fred contest! Check back here to vote, starting October 9. Help us choose what our Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass statues will be wearing for Halloween. This year is a superhero-only contest!
Door tickets: $12 per person ($10 for Members). Purchase in advance and save! Online tickets: $10 per person through 11:59 pm on Thursday, 10/29.
There’s also an online poll to decide how to dress up their statues of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass! Here are last year’s winners:
I’ve been writing for The Beat since July of 2010.
I’ve been reading comics since 1974, collecting since 1984, and spreading the graphic novel gospel since 1994.
I’m a bookseller, a librarian, an amateur scholar, a cool uncle, and a comics evangelist.
Ask me anything!