New York city spring arts & culture guide 2023

The arts come alive every spring in New York City—at museums, on stages, in gardens, and, in one case, across a rooftop overlooking Central Park. This year courtesy of Los Angeles artist Lauren Halsey; other highlights include a dance festival celebrating the African diaspora, an exhibition focused on paper as fashion material and an exploration of contemporary themes on the grounds of the New York Botanical Garden.

BAM Spring 2023 Season: Brooklyn Academy of Music continues to celebrate 2023 with a multi-genre display of the arts. On the docket are a music series across BAM’s campus curated by Solange Knowles; novelist Zadie Smith’s first play, The Wife of Willesden (April 1–16); the annual DanceAfrica Festival (May 26­–29); and a visit from the dancers of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (June 6–11).

Joyce Theater Spring 2023 Season: The Joyce welcomes a range of companies and dance styles for their new season, which runs from late February to mid-June. Things kick off with Batsheva Dance (February 28–March 12); highlights that follow include Parsons Dance (March 15­–26), Martha Graham Dance Company (April 18­–30), and Ballet Tech Kids Dance (June 8–11). Programming concludes with performances by Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana (June 13–18).

New York City Center Spring 2023 Season: New York City Center’s spring season celebrates dance ranging from flamenco (March 23­–26) to ballet (National Ballet of Canada, March 30–April 1; Ballet Hispanico, June 1–3) to tap (Ayodele Casal, April 13–15), plus Dance Theatre of Harlem’s annual season (April 19­–23). There’s also the traditional performance series of Encores; this edition features Dear World, Oliver!, and The Light in the Piazza.

New York Now: Home–A Photography Triennial: The Museum of the City of New York presents the first in an ongoing series of photography exhibitions exploring contemporary city living themes. This first installment dives into the meaning of “home”—our dwelling spaces, families, and the communities in which we live. Photography and video work from the past six years exploring how the city landscape and the definition of the home have changed with the City’s ongoing struggles with economic and racial inequality and the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

New Directors/New Films: Co-curated by Film at Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art, this yearly festival celebrates the most innovative voices in filmmaking from a broad range of international filmmakers at the start of their careers and helped ignite countless careers, including those of Pedro Almodóvar, Spike Lee, Steven Spielberg, Darren Aronofsky, and Wong Kar-wai. It is starting from March 30th onwards.

NYC Ballet Spring 2023 Repertory Season: The New York City Ballet returns this spring with three Masters at Work programs, which celebrate its founding choreographers, Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine. The season opens with the first of these, featuring music by composers like Bach and Hindemith. As part of the Spring Gala, expect world premieres from former resident choreographer Christopher Wheeldon as well as from Canadian choreographer Alysa Pires, who is making her NYCB debut. Finishing off the season, Balanchine’s Swan Lake takes the stage along with Alexei Ratmansky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

The Roof Garden Commission- Lauren Halsey: Lauren Halsey, the latest artist commissioned for works to fill The Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden displays a full-scale structure representing South Central Los Angeles, where she was born and continues to work. The exhibition, The Eastside of South Central Los Angeles Hieroglyph Prototype Architecture (I), is a fully immersive experience in which Met visitors will “inhabit” the structure and have a vivid comprehension of its connections to sources that range from Egyptian symbolism to modern visual expressions.

Ebony G. Patterson: Ebony Patterson’s immersive residency, the first in the garden’s history, explores themes of race, gender, class, and violence amid the serene settings of the natural world—a  metaphor for darker truths often hidden beneath a beautiful surface. Patterson’s 2018 traveling exhibition, …While the Dew Is Still on the Roses…, helps serve as inspiration for this project, which continues to showcase dichotomies: peacocks and birds of prey, poisonous plants, and those used in medicine. It is on May 28th, 2023.

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