B is for Bronx

Located at 1040 Grand Concourse, The Bronx, NY 10456
Museum Website: https://bronxmuseum.org/

The Bronx Museum of the Arts

The Bronx Museum of the Arts (The Bronx Museum) is a contemporary art museum. Often featuring historically underrepresented artists, the museum was founded on the belief that art is essential for the path to social justice.

Opened on 11 May 1971, the museum aimed to generate interest in the arts in the Bronx borough. The Bronx Museum has more than 800 paintings, photos, sculptures, and other works of art in its permanent collection. 

Though focused on contemporary and 20th century American artists, the museum has hosted special exhibits featuring international artists from Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

The museum’s unique design element on the Grand Concourse side, a ‘pleated aluminum facade’ consists of seven irregularly-shaped vertical aluminum pieces connected by fritted glass, resembling an accordion or paper fan.

In October 2022, the museum adopted a new logo, replacing the old logo with an orange-highlighted ligature of an ‘X’ and an ‘M’. 

The museum described the new logo as ‘bold, distinct, and resilient so as to reflect the ethos of the Museum and its vital work at the intersection of art and social justice’. 

The Bronx Museum is fully accessible through the the museum’s galleries.

The Bronx Museum offers fellowship programs to emerging artists to prepare them for a fulfilling career in the art world. Details here: AIM Fellowship

The museum also holds family days to encourage creativity among children, film screenings and other community activities. A full list of activities is online

In 2013, the museum won a competition to represent the United States at the 2013 Venice Biennale.

When I visited last in September 2022, the ongoing exhibition was Jamel Shabazz: Eyes On The Street, an exhibition of photographs taken on the streets of the five boroughs of New York.

The photographs included in the exhibition were representative of his work over the past 40 years. The exhibition was part of Our Stories, Our Voices – a year-long series of exhibitions and public programs celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Bronx Museum.

Street photography is a unique art form where everyone is both part of the audience and on display at the same time. In these photographs, Shabazz’s focus is clear… the people – men, women, young, old, black, brown, white – going about their daily lives and enjoying or rueing the moments on New York streets. 

You get the feeling you are actually walking along one of the familiar streets of our city and seeing these people. The sense of sheer joy and innocence of the youth displayed in many of the photographs is so endearing. 

According to Shabazz, his goal is to contribute to the preservation of world history and culture. He has held many solo exhibitions and also participated in many group showings.

Shabazz has published six books of photographs and has contributed to numerous others.

The sculpture garden at the rear of the structure on the second floor was closed for installation when I visited. Anyways, one more reason to go back.

Current Exhibitions

  • Abigail DeVille: Bronx Heavens (Oct 12, 2022 – Jun 18, 2023) is a constellation of sculptures and installations by the artist utilizing found materials and objects as a way to unearth forgotten ancestral histories, both real and imagined. 
  • Swagger And Tenderness: The South Bronx Portraits (Oct 26, 2022 – Apr 30, 2023) The show features over 60 portraits alongside archival materials from 1979 to the present, from the Bronx Museum Collection and other public and private collections.

Comments (3)

  1. Kristin

    I’ve never been to this museum either, but it sounds interesting. I like street photographs because I like to look at people going about their days.

    1. Physalia

      It is small but worth a visit. I loved the Swagger and Tenderness exhibition of artists John Ahern and Rigoberto Torres who casted hundred of people in the streets of NYC. The ‘sculptures’ were originally exhibited in public spaces through the city. There are videos of how people were casted (interesting process) and how the sculptures came alive, so to say. This exhibition ends on April 30 2023.

  2. Molly of Molly’s Canopy

    An inviting post: I have never been to this museum, but definitely want to visit now that I have seen your write up!


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