The art of the matter

by Brian Lipton

As art lovers know, May is a very special month, with numerous art fairs and special exhibits popping up all over town. While it’s virtually impossible to catch them all, MR recommends making time in your busy schedule to check out these four very different offerings.

While there may be more fashion on the guests than on the walls, one should still head to Art New York, presented by Art Miami, which has returned to Pier 94 (711 12th Avenue) through May 6. The fourth edition of this much-talked-about show offers a wide variety of paintings, photography, prints, drawings, design and sculpture from more than 1,200 artists. Among the highlights: Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody unveils his new immersive art installation, “Metamorphosis: Transformations of the Soul,” which represents a lifetime of his artistic and personal influences, experiences and labors of love; and nine artists (as well as the legendary photographer Harry Benson) have created and donated works of art inspired by NFL legend Joe Namath. (As a bonus, 100 percent of the proceeds from the sales of these works will be donated to the Namath’s namesake foundation.)

Just like the rebirth of annual flowers, May always brings the unveiling of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute’s spring 2018 exhibition. This year offering, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” which will be on view from May 10 through October 8 at both the Met’s Fifth Avenue branch (at 81st Street) and uptown at The Met Cloisters (99 Margaret Corbin Drive). This landmark show is meant to examine fashion’s ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism. A group of papal robes and accessories from the Vatican will travel to the United States to serve as the cornerstone of the exhibition, highlighting the enduring influence of liturgical vestments. Additionally, more than 150 ensembles from designers as varied as Thom Browne, Karl Lagerfeld and Rick Owens will provide an interpretative context for fashion’s continuing engagement with Catholicism.

For something completely different, Todd Snyder, the celebrated menswear designer who is known for his keen eye for contemporary art, is partnering with absolutart.com to personally curate a collection from photographer Ruvan Wijesooriya at his Flatiron district store (25 East 26th Street) beginning on May 7. These striking pieces, which include two brand new and exclusive commissions, focus on everything from a stunning purple dress to a bouquet of flowers to a group of local dogs, each showing off the artist’s unique point of view.

Lastly, with the Tony Awards just weeks away, the Sofitel New York Hotel (45 West 44th Street) has temporarily transformed its lobby into the Fraver Art Gallery, where visitors can view works by theater poster legend Frank “Fraver” Verlizzo through June 30. On view are 36 of Fraver’s most iconic posters for Broadway shows that were nominated or took home awards in such categories as Best Costume Design, as well as Best Musical, Best Choreography and Best Lighting Design, including “Sunday in the Park with George,” “Sweeney Todd,” and “The Lion King.”