Sun-Wed and Fri-Sat, 10am-5pm; Thu, 10am-8pm
4, 5 at Bowling Green; 1 at South Ferry; R at Whitehall St.-South Ferry; J, Z at Broad St.; 2, 3 at Wall St.
| Ongoing |
|"Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian"|
There used to be a major trading area for Native Americans at the southernmost tip of Broadway (formerly known as the Wiechquaekeck Trail) so maybe it's not entirely inappropriate that the National Museum of the American Indian now resides inside a former U.S. Custom House. Architect Cass Gilbert's 1907 Beaux arts masterpiece may be a tribute to Western ideals of beauty with its Maine granite façade, sturdy columns, elaborate ornamentation and a white marble, vaulted foyer that's worthy of a cathedral. But inside, radiating off the glorious central rotunda are three exhibition spaces which showcase Native American art, culture, and artifacts. One gallery is reserved for contemporary artworks—often of a conceptual bent. The others display the comprehensive and insightful exhibits you'd expect from an arm of the Smithsonian. A retrospective of George Catlin presented over 100 paintings of warriors, Western landscapes, and gory tribal initiations; "The Language of Native American Baskets" paid tribute to the oft-maligned craft of basket-weaving. Lectures, screenings, and workshops frequently supplement the exhibitions and help stake a rightful claim for Native American culture in the heart of the financial district.U.S. Custom House
Admire Reginald Marsh's dry fresco murals depicting New York shipping scenes framing the skylight in the rotunda, and Daniel Chester French's four monumental sculptures memorializing the conquest of four continents at the foot of the U.S. Custom House.
A research center provides access to printed material.