In the depths of winter, New York comes in high on the list of top cultural destinations.
With its usual magnetic pull, undeniable buzz, and list of exhibitions across leading galleries and museums, New York is irresistible at this time of year. Art historian and broadcaster Flora Vesterberg shares her cultural highlights this season.
A strong start to your cultural itinerary is the breathtaking Alex Katz: Gathering retrospective at the Guggenheim on Fifth Avenue (until February 20, 2023.) It covers eight decades of his career as you move through the building’s iconic rotunda, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. There is a natural progression through Katz’s career and here, his best-known portraits of his wife, Ada, are accompanied by those of friends; from the Japanese printmaker Hiroshi Kawanishi to the poet Frank O’Hara. The exhibition culminates in a series of large-scale immersive landscapes.
From here, take a walk around the Central Park reservoir before sunset for a different perspective on Manhattan’s newly elevated skyline. Stop at Kappo Masa, the chic Japanese restaurant beneath Gagosian which is currently showing Theaster Gates: Vestment, followed by a gelato or aperitif at Sant Ambroeus.
An unmissable photograph exhibition at MoMA in Midtown is by German photographer and Turner Prize winner Wolfgang Tillmans. In Wolfgang Tillmans: To look without fear (until January 1, 2023) the intimacy of his portraiture is juxtaposed with the magnitude of his celestial works. This is a winning day out when combined with ice skating at the nearby seasonal Rink at Rockefeller held in partnership with Coach, as well as with Art Deco aperitivo bar, Lodi, part of a series of restaurants by Ignacio Mattos.
Make sure to take time for the large-scale installations from American artist Torkwase Dyson at the expansive Pace Gallery headquarters, and don’t miss Anselm Kiefer: Exodus at Gagosian, which parallels his current retrospective Essence – Eksistence at Artipelag in Stockholm.
Continue on to Soho for dinner at King, an Italian restaurant from brilliant British female chefs Jess Shadbolt and Clare de Boer who met in their early beginnings at Ruth Rogers’ The River Café, in London.
A final must-stop is Edward Hopper’s New York at The Whitney Museum of American Art (until March 5, 2023) – a particularly memorable exhibition, as the Manhattan scenes depicted reflect those outside of the museum window. New York was Hopper’s home for more than six decades and yet, having seen fast changes in the New York skyline during his career, he eschewed the city’s iconic landmarks, instead turning his attention to its unsung utilitarian structures and out-of-the-way corners.
After an afternoon at The Whitney, Italian restaurant Altro Paradiso – a New York City dining essential – is where you need to head. Visit for straightforward, delicious Italian food made with roughly four ingredients per dish. It’s full of devoted regulars as well as countless visitors, who have made it their second home.
Where To Stay
Only a few steps from The High Line is Pendry Manhattan West. With views across the Hudson and contemporary Japan-inspired interiors by Gachot Studios, this hotel offers an unbeatable sense of calm once you step inside. It’s also a hotel with a wonderful location for art aficionados in New York: a perfect base from which to explore the Chelsea galleries, and just steps away from Frieze New York 2023, which will take place – once again – at The Shed in Hudson Yards.
Hero image: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Restoration Completion. Photograph by David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.