Drinking on rooftops, squealing on the rides of Coney Island, gatherings in the park—few places come alive with the spirit of freedom like New York City does come summer. The options are truly endless once the temperatures warm up. Here are a few local highlights of cultural NYC summer events that should feature on your social calendar this season.
Cultural NYC Summer Events in 2017
Rei Kawakubo at the Met
Rei Kawakubo, the Tokyo-based designer of Comme des Garçons, made a stunning contribution to this year’s annual Costume Institute exhibit with her “Art of the In-Between” show. She is responsible for making black the “it” color of the 80s in New York City, and here she displays her mastery again with 140 garments that push the boundaries of art in fashion and fashion in art. Shape, fabrics, politics and design are combined in extravagant and often unimaginable ways to expand the viewer’s imagination in this must-see event. After seeing the vibrant exhibition, head to the Met Museum’s glorious rooftop for verdant views over Central Park. On view through September 4, 2017.
Robert Rauschenberg at MoMA
For a great artist, Robert Rauschenberg created “remarkably little good art,” says The New Yorker. Still, he became a master of influence in the art world. In “Among Friends,” MoMA’s cooperative retrospective with the Tate Modern, we experience the artist’s miraculous six-decade career, which takes the idea of genius to task by exploring the concepts of culture and inclusiveness, and illuminating the achievements of collaboration. This play on ideas is mapped through hundreds of works of performance art and other mediums, created by Rauschenberg and other artists. On view through September 17, 2017.
Festivals at Lincoln Center
Summertime is electric at Lincoln Center. The plaza comes alive with the energy of dancers, musicians and performers of all kinds. During Midsummer Night Swing—on evenings between June and July—salsa, ballroom, disco and big band swing fill Damrosch Park, the bandshell plaza between Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera House. Each night features a different style of dance, with lessons for beginners and live music. In July, the Lincoln Center Festival features artists and performance companies from around the world. One not to miss? Bolshoi Ballet, New York City Ballet and Paris Opera Ballet performing together for a 50th anniversary rendition of Balanchine’s masterpiece Jewels, for five shows only. The three-part production explores the choreographer’s love for Manhattan, Paris and Imperial Russia. And in the annual summertime Mostly Mozart festival (July 25 – August 20), orchestras, chamber ensembles and opera singers take a deep dive into the composer’s genius.
Shakespeare in the Park
For nearly 60 years the Public Theater has run Shakespeare in the Park, one of New York’s most beloved summertime events with free performances of Shakespeare classics in Central Park. This year, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Julius Ceasar will grace the stage at the Delacorte Theater over a series of nights between June and August. Blockbuster names like Meryl Streep and Al Pacino often headline the summer productions. This year, Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford will play Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while Corey Stoll, who you know as Representative Peter Russo from House of Cards, will play Brutus in Julius Caesar. Come early for tickets, which must be procured in the park, or alternatively you may secure a ticket with a donation of $200 to the cause.