2016-11-22 18:06:18
Art for the Holidays: A New York Visitors’ Guide

More than five million people are expected to travel to New York City in the next 40 days. If you’re one of them, you might want to see some art.

The city’s museums and galleries are jammed full of great things to see. But that abundance can also be overwhelming. Here are tips to make the most of it.

The flood of tourists and the school holidays make this the busiest time for many museums, so plan ahead to avoid crowds.

“The quietest days are always Christmas Eve, December 24th, and the 31st of December,” said Adrian Hardwicke, director of visitor experience at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

If those days don’t work for you, show up early. As soon as the doors open at the four biggest art museums — the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney — there is often a line to get in. But those lines move quickly, and your reward will be a less obstructed view of “The Starry Night.”

Alternatively, show up late. Each of the big museums has extended hours on Friday, Saturday or both. But not necessarily on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, when the Whitney and the Met will close early. Check the museum website to be sure.

Take advantage of special holiday openings: the Whitney, normally closed on Tuesdays, will be open on Dec. 27; the Guggenheim will open on Thursday, Dec. 29; the Met Breuer will open on two Mondays, Dec. 26 and Jan. 2; and the New Museum will open on Tuesdays for the duration of its acclaimed Pipilotti Rist exhibition.

Finally, note that many commercial art galleries will close for extended periods in the final weeks of the year.

Now, what kind of art experience are you looking for?

• Dive in to the Met’s sprawling exhibition “Jerusalem 1000-1400: Every People Under Heaven.” Our critic Holland Cotter called it “exhilarating, devastating.”

• Go see what Mr. Cotter called “one of the great history painters of our time” at the Met Breuer’s Kerry James Marshall retrospective.

• Indulge in the electric and colorful work of Francis Picabia at MoMA. Our critic Roberta Smith called his works “hilariously gorgeous.”

• Meditate on more than 100 of the stark, evocative paintings by Agnes Martin at the Guggenheim.

• Get to know the work of Carmen Herrera, a 101-year-old master of painting, at the Whitney.

• Paul McCarthy’s Disney-inspired sculptures blend whimsy and the grotesque at the Hauser & Wirth gallery on West 18th Street in Chelsea.

• Ai Weiwei has a great deal of work on view in two Mary Boone galleries, on the Upper East Side and in Chelsea, as well as imposing iron sculptures at the Lisson Gallery on West 24th Street.

• Decompress and recharge with a lush and vivid wrap-around installation by Jim Hodges at Gladstone Gallery on West 21st Street in Chelsea.

• Become intimate with the body-focused work of Marilyn Minter at the Brooklyn Museum. Ms. Smith called many of the works “ravishingly, if confusingly, beautiful.” (Note to visitors with small children: Some of Ms. Minter’s works are decidedly adult-oriented.)

• Get down and dirty at the Queens Museum show dedicated to Mierle Laderman Ukeles, an artist who spent almost four decades in residence with the New York City Department of Sanitation.