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The Very Best of NY Art

Edward Steichen, New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show, Fashions of the 1930s and much more

If you love photography, check out Edward Steichen—one of the most gifted yet perhaps overlooked artists of the 20th century—at the Whitney Museum of American Art. On display through Feb 23 is a rare collection of his photographs from the '20s and '30s, including celebrity portraits and fashion shots taken while he was chief photographer at Condé Nast.

Elaborate and kaleidoscopic displays will once again decorate the New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show on exhibit Mar 1-Apr 21. The galleries of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory will explode with orchids in an amazing array of colors, shapes, sizes and textures. Tens of thousands of blooms—blue and purple Vandas, green and yellow cymbidiums, delicate pink and white moth orchids and more—stand out amid stately palms and exotic tropical leaves. The largest exhibition of its kind in the United States also offers insight into caring for orchids, music from around the world and a gorgeous setting for evening cocktails.

In Body & Soul: New International Ceramics, the human figure has returned to center stage. The exhibit now showing at the Museum of Arts & Design through Mar 2 underscores the power of the figure to convey strong emotions, as well as the accessibility of the ceramic medium. The exhibition highlights approximately 25 international artists who came to clay as painters, designers or sculptors. Each work, inspired by a personal incident or symbolic tale, expresses a deep emotional identity, contrasting societal, political and personal views on themes such as anxiety, bias, mortality and memory.

The Museum at FIT presents Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s showing Feb 7–Apr 9. Despite a dire financial and political environment, the decade of the '30s was a period of great stylistic achievement and technical innovation in design. In contrast to the preceding Edwardian era—in which stiff, structured clothes dominated high fashion—'30s garments were softer, minimally ornamented, elegantly proportioned and reflected the streamlined modern art aesthetic. The exhibition celebrates some of the most innovative and beautifully designed clothing for both men and women made in the 20th century.

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