May is a very busy month in New York City. There are so many new exhibits to see both in the museums and at the galleries. I have gotten around to seeing some of them and others are just about to open. One of the best art exhibits at the New York galleries is a show of the latest works of Tim Hawkinson, a California artist and inventor at Pace Wildenstein (at 32 East 57th Street). He is one of my favorite contemporary artists because he makes the world out to be a wonderous place filled with all kinds of possibilities and his ideas just burst out of materials as common as eggshells and feathers. The gallery features about 10 new works by Hawkinson.

As you enter you will first notice the motorcycle made entirely out of feathers. Kids will get a kick out of these materials and could speculate on the type of feathers and how many are included in the work. Then ask them to move to the right and find other objects that the artist made out of bird materials. These will be his small sculptures made entirely out of eggshells. See if they can find the “fist” and the “figure of a woman” and the arrow head like sculpture.

The next piece they will be awed by is a bronze sculpture that at first glance looks like a dinosaur but upon closer inspection actually turns out to be many figures in a row sitting and rowing. The mouth of the beast is actually a croching figure as well. Could all this represent the journey of life? There are other fun sculptures to examine: the skinned knee or the “ghost bat” made of bread bags and ties. Definitely worth the trip.

Another awesome exhibit that has just opened is an installation called Anthropodino by the Brazillian artist Ernesto Neto at the 67th street Regiment Armory (67th street and Park Avenue). This is the first such installation commissioned by the armory from a living artist and Ernesto Neto has taken advantage of the enormous, cavernous space to fill it with diaphanous fabric forms through which kids can run and jump. There are other soft structures to interact with. My kids loved diving into the soft plastic bubble pool or jumping on the gigantic cushion filled with some seeds or rice or lying quietly (if they can manage) in a lavender room where the pillows are filled with lavender and camomille for that soothing effect that everyone surely needs after all the jumping and running around. An hour and a half later and I still couldn’t convince my kids to leave!! Visit the Armory until June 14th. Admission: $10 adults, free for children under 18 years.

With the weather warming up, I would recommend to visit the roof of the Metropolitan Museum to view the installation by Roxy Paine called Maelstrom. Roxy Paine’s silver trees have been spotted around the parks before. This time around Roxy Paine has taken over the whole roof of the museum spreading out the silvered dandrite sculpture across the entire space. Kids will be able to run through them and explore where the branches actually meet the museum walls, floor and even enter the pipes. Have the kids find three places where the sculpture actually “enters” the museum (hint, two will look like faucets). On a sunny summer day, this is a fantastic place to combine art and the outdoors.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, until October 25th.

Natasha Schlesinger is the founder of Artkids and Artmuse.

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