Let These Immersive Art Experiences Transform You

A cloud of kites. Bill Cunningham's notebooks. An empty Met. Go hang with these summertime works of wonder and beauty.

Coney Island Art Walls. / Photo by Martha Cooper

Our Secret Culinary Insider has the scoop on more than just food. This undercover art expert (food is simply very tasty art, after all) picks the interactive, immersive, and just-plain-incredible exhibitions, happenings, and experiences that will be all over your social media feed this summer. Get in on the arty action!

1. Float in a Cloud of Kites

One of the season’s most exciting installations is on Governors Island. Jacob Hashimoto’s first major public art exhibition in the city features two pieces: The Eclipse envelops viewers in a fog of thousands of rice-paper kites in St. Cornelius Chapel, while Never Comes Tomorrow is a scattering of more than 100 wood cubes and steel funnels in the Liggett Hall archway. Other things to do while you’re on Governors Island: ice-skating, mini golf, a movie in the park, and slurping waterfront oysters. Through October 31

2. Instagram the Heck Out of Coney Island

Coney Island Art Walls returns for another season of delivering curated, cool street art to the sunburned masses. The annual exhibition started as a lemons-into-lemonade situation: After the successful “Art in the Streets” show at Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art in 2011, Jeffrey Deitch, the museum’s former director, was looking to bring the idea to the Brooklyn Museum. After the museum sunsetted the project, Deitch turned to Coney Island as his plan B. Each year has featured a new crew of artists, selected by Deitch, and 2018 is no different. Walk through the maze of walls, snapping selfies and playing hide-and-seek (at least that’s what we do). Bonus: There are food trucks! Through September

New York Culture
Photo by Martha Cooper

3. Explore the Wild Femininity of “Girl Pictures”

Photographer Justine Kurland was 27 years old and an M.F.A. candidate at Yale when she learned to drive. The same year, she set out on a cross-country road trip that would result in her renowned photo series, “Girl Pictures, 1997-2002.” The staged portraits present girls as wandering, runaway, and woodsy in milieus revered (an Arcadian meadow) to desolate (a landfill). To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the project, the exhibition—featuring 60 (!) large-format, saturated prints—is on display at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, bringing the wilds of the West indoors. Through June 29

4. Listen to the Philharmonic Under the Stars

Each summer since 1965, New Yorkers have been dazzled by the New York Philharmonic taking to the parks and gracing the masses with its music. This summer’s (free) shows take place in four boroughs, so bring your picnic and a blanket and settle in for a night of classical music under the stars. For that picture-perfect ending, each concert will conclude with fireworks. Through June 17

New York Culture
Philharmonic Under the Stars at Central Park

5. Flip Through the Diaries of Bill Cunningham

Venerable New York icon and style fortune-teller Bill Cunningham is the star of his own show at the New-York Historical Society for three months. “Celebrating Bill Cunningham” features not just a large collection of the late photographer’s incredible pictures—he shot New York high society and street life for more than half a century—but also his personal scrapbooks, thick with hat ideas (he was also a milliner), newspaper clippings, and style inspiration, which visitors can actually thumb through and feel. It’s like discovering your older brother’s diary under the bed. Thrilling! Through September 9

New York Culture
Suzette Cimino, 1974. / Photo by Bill Cunningham

6. Hear Your Fortune and Learn Parlor Tricks

The New-York Historical Society hosts another see-feel-do exhibition, “Summer of Magic.” This three-month-long wonderland for kids of all ages will feature shows with David Copperfield, escape artists, fortune-tellers, and mind readers, as well as items from Copperfield’s personal collection of magic memorabilia, including Houdini’s famed “metamorphosis trunk.” Prepare to be shocked and awed. June 15–September 16

New York Culture
Photo by John Huntington

7. Bask in Near Solitude at the Empty Met Tour

This is as close as you’ll get to having the Metropolitan Museum of Art all to yourself, without school groups and selfies. On Monday, Friday, and weekend mornings before the museum opens, you and just 25 others can meander from gallery to gallery and take in each piece without some guy in headphones blocking your view. If you’re going on Friday, have breakfast at Flora Bar in the Met Breuer afterward, take a stroll through Central Park, and wish every weekday morning could start like this. $175 per person; tours are booked through Viatour

New York Culture
Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

8. See and Taste the Art of Oaxaca

Get inspired by the women artists and entrepreneurs of Oaxaca, Mexico, who have put the city on the map as an epicenter of art, design, and dining. Pocoapoco, a research-based residency in Oaxaca, and the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York are bringing six Oaxacans to NYC for a four-day dinner-and-conversation series, Las Mujeres Oaxaquenas, focused on creative land use, female identity, and community involvement. Then try not to book a flight to Oaxaca. June 26–29

Want even more immersive experiences? Try our mobile app. New York, curated just for you.