Museum proposes New York as a setting for music, books and movies

The skyline of the skyscrapers, the yellow taxis, Fifth Avenue, the Brooklyn Bridge, the screens of Times Square… Even if you have never set foot in New York, it is almost impossible not to know its images thanks to a multitude of films , paintings, photographs, songs or books set in the big city.

With this idea in mind, an exhibition at the little-known Museum of the City of New York sets out this Friday the daunting task of analyzing the Big Apple as a “source of inspiration and indignation” for the artistic community in the last 100 years and show some of the works that have helped define the cultural identity of the metropolis.

“Art offers a map of what people are going to find when they get here and (makes it) they don’t have big surprises: almost everything they are going to see and experience has been announced to them by art, especially music and movies,” the museum’s community history curator, Monxo López, who is one of the organizers, told EFE.

Cinema inevitably weighs on this “map”, one of the great businesses of New York and its showcase to the world for decades, especially since in 1966 the Mayor’s Office created the foundations of a specific office that made the sector grow and gave way to a new generation of local filmmakers, such as Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Spike Lee.

Following the trend, several immersive experiences are offered, the most spectacular a room with screens that are synchronized with scenes from hundreds of filmed titles or set in New York, such as “Home Alone”, with McCaulay Culkin; “Frances Ha”, with Greta Gerwig, and “Shame”, with Michael Fassbender, without forgetting the essential “Taxi Driver”, with Robert De Niro.

In addition to the cinema, visitors can immerse themselves in literature with an interactive bookstore in which famous actors read passages from dozens of novels, such as “Bodega Dreams” by Ernesto Quinonez, and in music, exploring the neighborhoods through songs where there is no shortage of rapper Jay-Z singing to his native Brooklyn and pop diva Jennifer Lopez to her “block” in the Bronx.

Commissioner López points out that the sample is divided into sections that address the thousand faces of New York according to the artists: it can be a dense and fast-paced environment, or lonely and empty; have a cheerful or threatening character, be a place of work and routine, or of a life or death struggle; and always a “catwalk”, as it was in the series “Sex and the City”.

About 400 objects attest to all this, including paintings by Edward Hopper and George Tooker; a “Sesame Street” pole; a Jimmi Hendrix notebook; a record by Miles Davis; a photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono; a recited poem by Pedro Pietri, the founder of the Nuyorican Poets Café; or a memorial to jazz icon Tito Puente, made by Manny Vega.

And references to the most unpleasant aspects of New York do not escape this selection, such as the rats, which are the subject of a video installation; the cockroaches, protagonists of a satirical cartoon; or dirt, represented by a broom with teeth that was used in local protests in the late 1960s.

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