New York City's 7 Most Exciting Art Exhibitions Of the Summer

Tourists flock to New York City's most prestigious museums, but many people living in New York overlook the first-class art-scene. Between the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Guggenheim, The Museum of Modern Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the city's top museums offer a host of captivating art exhibits this summer that offer the perfect indoor escape from the scalding summer weather.

Whether you are interested in architecture or sculpture, painting or drawing, fashion or history and everything in between, these summer exhibitions will have something for you. 

1. "Hopper Drawing."

This exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art will be running through October 6, 2013. It features the original drawings of Edward Hooper, 20th century American realist painter. The exhibition shows the sketch process that the artist took to achieve his masterpieces Nighthawks, New York Movie, and Office at Night before they evolved into the color-bursting pieces that we remember. The exhibition includes over 2,500 drawings combined by Hopper's window. The New York Times said that through the exhibit, which is "beautifully designed and installed," we will see "Hopper in motion as never before."

2. 2. Claes Oldenburg: The Street and The Store; Mouse Museum/Ray Gun Wing

Until August 5, the Museum of Modern Art is showcasing an exhibition of works by Swedish-born sculptor Claes Oldenburg. The exhibit offers a glimpse at two of the sculptors early bodies of work, The Street and The Store, which later "earned him a reputation as one of the most important artists of the 20th century." Also on view are two of the sculptor's architectural works titled Mouse Museum and Ray Gun Wing. The New York Times said that the exhibit shows a "smorgasbord menu of Mr. Oldenburg’s early tastes and obsessions." According to the Huffington Post, it reveals how this "pop art king takes melting ice cream sundaes, safety pins and banana peels and transforms them into glossy monumental sculptures."

3. Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes

This exhibition on Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, bettwe known as one of the greatest modern architects of the 20th century, Le Corbusier, recently opened at the MoMA on June 15 and will be open until Sept. 23. Not simply an architect, Le Corbusier made "machines for living in" and this exhibit features his architectural masterpieces “profoundly rooted in nature and landscape.” The exhibit will present all sides of Le Corbusier's artistic talent, including his work as "an architect, interior designer, artist, city planner, writer, and photographer."

4. James Turrell

James Turrell's first exhibition in New York opens Friday at the Guggenheim Museum and will run through September 25. Featuring Turrell's "groundbreaking explorations of perception, light, color, and space," the exhibit intends to explore how, as the artist once said, "seeing is a very sensuous act." It has been dubbed "the architecture of light" and called "an extremely successful show, one that forces viewers to reevaluate their relationship with their sensory perceptions" by Architizer News. According to the Huffington Post, this exhibition will let you see the light.

5. PUNK: Chaos to Couture

This exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has been open for over a month, but if you are interested in fashion it is well worth a visit before it closes on August 14. The spectacle examines the influence of punk on high fashion and features over one hundred designs. Divided between rooms show-casing the garments and the remaining rooms "divided according to do-it-yourself processes or materials," this exhibition shows how "despite attempts to be as unpalatable as possible, punk was absorbed by the culture around it," wrote the New York Times. The one criticism it has received is that the exhibit could have benefited from a broader view and a look at every-day fashion in addition to haute-couture. 

6. The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi

Also at The Met this summer until Nov. 3, you can find an exhibit that is "strikingly different." A prime location for the warm months of summer, walk out upon an "8,000-square-foot terrace ... splattered with paint the color of dried blood." But this "crime-scene" lookalike is actually the impressive work of Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi who has been influenced by war and terrorist activity in the Middle East. His work, the artist explained in the New York Times, is "a dialogue with life, with new beginnings and fresh hope starts."

7. The Civil War & American Art

History buffs and art buffs alike will find something to talk about at this exhibition on display at The Met until Sept. 2. The main angle considers "how American artists responded to the Civil War and its aftermath" through landscape. The New York Times called the exhibit a "gripping show that sheds further light on how the nation experienced its fratricidal conflict," as it conjures intense emotion and distress through genre paintings. The display showcases paintings by artists Frederic Edwin Church, Sanford Robinson Gifford, and Winslow Homer.