Wildfire smoke in New York shuts down art world events


Museums, galleries and other cultural institutions across New York announced closures and postponements out of caution over smoke blowing into the city from wildfires raging across Canada. Early Thursday morning, New York and other North American cities had the worst air quality levels in the world, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index (AQI).

City officials have warned residents to stay indoors, wear masks and avoid long-term exposure to the air outside.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art closed its well-known seasonal roof garden on Thursday (8 June), as well as its Met Cloisters gardens, though the museums’ indoor spaces remained open as usual. The Noguchi Museum closed altogether “due to the poor air quality” in the city on Thursday. The museum, dedicated to Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, features a large sculpture garden. Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens had a delayed opening before admitting the public on Thursday afternoon. Charles Gaines’ public artwork on Governors Island, Moving Chains, was closed on both Wednesday (7 June) and Thursday, and may stay closed into the weekend if conditions don’t improve.

Upper East Side gallery LGDR postponed an opening reception scheduled for Wednesday for its new show, Gego: Lines in Space due to “poor air quality in the city and out of concern for the safety of our visitors and staff”. The exhibition  was opened to the public 8 June. Crossing Art Gallery also postponed a panel with artist Moyosore Martins until Thursday.

The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum closed early on Wednesday, and the outdoor 9/11 Memorial closed on Thursday, though the nearby museum remains open. The Chelsea High Line, a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above some of the city’s most prominent art galleries, delayed its opening on Thursday.

One art event that took place as scheduled this week was the Museum of Modern Art New York’s annual Party In The Garden benefit gala on Tuesday (6 June). Around 15 protestors picketed the event as the city filled with smog to demand that MoMA distance itself from board chair Marie-Josée Kravis over her and her husband Henry Kravis’s fossil fuel investments.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here