Culture Calendar: May 2015

Courtesy Whitney Museum of American Art

What to do, watch, and see this month.

Twenty-seven events to add to your agenda this month, from gallery and museum openings, performances, film and TV premieres, and more.

May 1: The Whitney Museum Re-opens
After closing their Upper East Side location in October 2014, The Whitney Museum of American Art re-opens in their brand-new building in the Meatpacking District, between the High Line and the Hudson River. The space, designed by Renzo Piano, greatly expands the museum's gallery and exhibition areas. On May 2, the museum will host a block party (and offer free admission all day) with art and performance activities and events (like mapmaking, karaoke, and poetry readings) at booths set up by contemporary artists. Upcoming exhibitions at the new Whitney include shows focused on painter Frank Stella and the documentarian Laura Poitras. 99 Gansevoort St.; 212-570-3600.

May 1: Far From The Madding Crowd Comes to Theaters
Carey Mulligan, Juno Temple, and Michael Sheen star in this adaptation of Thomas Hardy's classic novel. The movie, a love story, is set in 19th-century Dorset, England. Mulligan plays Bathsheba Everdene, the story's headstrong heroine.

May 13: Paris Photo Los Angeles
One of the world's top art fairs for photography returns to L.A.'s Paramount Pictures Studios for three days of solo shows, book projects, and contemporary showcases. The fair will host 80 galleries and art book dealers from 17 countries. The works are presented on Paramount Pictures' soundstages and movie set replicas of New York City's streets. Tickets starting at $20; 801 N. Gower St.

May 4–5: Christie's Impressionist & Modern Art Sales
Christie's twice annual sale of modern and impressionist art will take place on May 4 and 5. The auction focuses on paintings and sculptures from the late 19th and early 20th century, from artists like Picasso, Giacometti, Monet, and Matisse. There is a separate sale on May 5 for works on paper.

May 424: SOLUNA: International Music & Arts Festival in Dallas
SOLUNA presents three weeks of music and art events peppered throughout the city, starting May 4. This year's theme, Destination (America), is a nod to the influx of artists, musicians, and creators who have moved to the United States in recent years. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra will perform Leonard Bernstein's Third Symphony, Kaddish. Filmmakers, visual artists, and others who work in multimedia will collaborate and contribute to the festival. 

May 7: New York City Ballet's Spring Gala
The New York City Ballet toasts the season premiere of Peter Martins' staging of the Danish work La Sylphide by August Bournonville. La Sylphide is one of the oldest surviving Romantic ballets. The black tie gala will include cocktails and dinner as well as the performance. 212-870-5585.

May 7–August 16: China: Through the Looking Glass at the Metropolitan Museum
The Met's Costume Institute in collaboration with the museum's Department of Asian Art presents an exhibition exploring the influence of Chinese culture on the West, especially in the vein of fashion. Asian-inspired fashions—including haute couture and avant-garde designs by Paul Poiret, Yves Saint Laurent, and others—will be showcased alongside Chinese art. 1000 Fifth Ave.; 212-535-7710.

May 8: Grace and Frankie on Netflix
Following HBO's LGTB elder showcase Transparent, Netflix launches Grace and Frankie, a new series starring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda as frenemies in their 70s whose law partner husbands (Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen) announce they’re in love. Bonding, broad comedy, and bad puns ensue—but the all-star cast just might be able pull it off.

May 8–12: Spring Masters New York Art & Design Fair
The Park Avenue Armory will be dotted with hexagonal booths designed by architect Rafael Vinoly for the Spring Masters New York Art & Design Fair. Works on view will include sculptures by Henry Moore and Edgar Degas, tapestry by Alexander Calder, 18th-century Chippendale furniture, contemporary Chinese ink art, and jewelry by Louise Nevelson. Tickets from $15; Park Avenue Armory; 643 Park Ave; 212-616-3930.

May 9: Fondazione Prada opens in Milan
Founded by Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli in Venice in 1993, contemporary arts space Fondazione Prada expands to Milan with a second location for its exhibitions. Timed to the Rem Koolhaas–designed space's opening (with a bar designed by Wes Anderson), the foundation hosts Serial Classic, a show exploring the theme of the copy in classical art, curated by archaeologist Salvatore Settis. Largo Isarco, 2; 39-02/5467-0515.

May 9–November 22: La Biennale di Venezia
The 56th iteration of the world-famous Venice Biennial will feature 136 artists, many of them emerging and new talents. The main exhibit is titled All the World's Futures and is curated by Okwui Enwezor. Artworks on view include pieces by Xu Bing, Robert Smithson, Nancy Holt, and Walker Evans. Tickets from $15; 39-041/5218-828.

May 10–July 26: Chuck Close at the Parrish Art Museum
Long Island’s Parrish Art Museum offers a novel approach to examining the full range of Chuck Close’s photographs in a new exhibition showcasing roughly 90 black-and-white portraits, large-scale Polaroid compositions, and intimate daguerreotypes that the artist created between 1964 and today. 279 Montauk Hwy.; 631-283-2118.

May 11June 25: David Wiseman: Wilderness and Ornament
Artist David Wiseman transforms the gallery at R & Company with a full-room installation including chandeliers, motifs, and designs. Wiseman's cast bronze and porcelain works revolve around a celebration of the ornate patterns and designs that were commonplace on furniture, walls, and fashion until the onset of Modernism in the 20th century. Wiseman speaks about his love of geometries, symbols, and detailed structures and patterns. 82 Franklin St.; 212-343-7979.

May 12–15: Maison & Objet Americas in Miami Beach
The Parisian event comes stateside for the first time with 300 home and interior design brands from around the world, showcasing upscale furniture, home goods, and decor from the likes of Jason Mizrahi, Lothantique, and Porada. Tickets from $35; Miami Beach Convention Center; 1901 Convention Center Dr.; 305-673-7311.

May 13–24: Wayne Shorter with Jazz at Lincoln Center
Eighty-one-year-old jazz musician Wayne Shorter's storied career has garnered him nine Grammys, several acclaimed collaborations, and participation in the greatest jazz ensembles. Shorter and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will play a selection of his compositions, which range from bebop to fusion. A free introductory talk will precede the concerts. Tickets from $30; Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th St., fifth floor; 212-721-6500.

May 14-16: Cannes International Film Festival
The film festival and its red carpeted steps return in May for another year of competition, the 68th since its founding in 1946. The film selections for this year include Carol, a drama starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, Macbeth with Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender, and Woody Allen's Irrational Man, starring Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix. The winners will be announced on May 24th at the conclusion of the festival. 3 Rue Amelie33-01/53-59-61-00.

May 14–17: James Turrell's Roden Crater
Artist James Turrell opens his unfinished and rarely seen Roden Crater—a “naked eye observatory” built into a 600-foot-tall volcanic cinder cone in the Arizona desert—to a select group of visitors for an exclusive fundraising event. The proceeds, at 20 visitors a day for $6,500 a pop, will benefit Turrell’s Skystone Foundation.

May 14–17: New Art Dealers Alliance New York
The nonprofit NADA will host its annual art fair with more than 60 exhibitors on Manhattan's Pier 36. The organization works to encourage and support contemporary artists and emerging talent, while the event aims to change and broaden how visitors interact with and experience art at fairs. 299 South St.; 212-594-0883.

May 14–17: Frieze Art Fair
The contemporary art fair returns to Randall's Island in Manhattan with another massive showcase. This year's original works include site-specific pieces by Korakrit Arunanondchai, Pia Camil, Samara Golden, and others, as well as a tribute to the 1976 Berlin installation Flux-Labyrinth. Frieze Sounds, curated by Cecilia Alemani, features audio works by the likes of Alicja Kwade, Sergei Tcherepnin, and Xaviera Simmons. Tickets from $44; Randall's Island Park.

May 15–October 4: Charles Ray at The Art Institute
Picking up where a mid-career retrospective stopped two decades ago, The Art Institute of Chicago explores sculptor Charles Ray’s latest works—including his figurative experiments and two new, never-before-seen pieces. 111 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-443-3600.

May 16–November 29: Outlooks: Luke Stettner at Storm King Art Center
A large-scale site-specific outdoor installation will go on view starting May 16 at the Storm King Art Center as part of their Outlooks series, which showcases work from one emerging or mid-career artist. Stettner's piece is called a,b,moon,d, and was inspired by imagery from archaeological digs and diagrams of ancient architectural complexes. The work is made from a type of charcoal that enhances the soil. 1 Museum Rd.; 845-534-3115.

May 17–September 7: Yoko Ono at MoMA
In 1971, Yoko Ono staged an unauthorized exhibition of work outside New York’s Museum of Modern Art when she discretely released flies on the institution’s grounds and put up fliers advertising an exhibition; forty years later, MoMA hosts its first-ever sanctioned show dedicated entirely to the artist’s work, with a special focus on pieces Ono created in the decade leading up to her unoffical “show.” 11 W. 53rd St.; 212-708-9400.

May 19: War of the Encyclopaedists: A Novel
Christopher Robinson and Gavin Kovite collaborate on this fictional account (Scribner) of two young friends navigating opposite worlds in the post-9/11 era, as one heads to graduate school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the other to the battlefields of Iraq. 

May 20–June 7: San Francisco International Arts Festival
This West Coast festival focuses on theater, music, and dance productions from Bay Area artists as well as works and creators that have not previously been shown in the United States. This year, Armine, Sister will make its American debut at the festival, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. The project is dedicated to Armenian culture and the memory of those who lost their lives in the genocide. Tickets from $12; 870 Market St.; 415-399-9554.

May 22–June 22: Havana Biennial
Since its founding in 1984, the Havana Biennial has sought to highlight artists from Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. It is an exhibition of non-Western art, covering themes and topics related to colonization, tradition, memory, and urban culture. This year the Biennial will have no central location but will instead be interspersed throughout the city. As part of the Biennial, the Bronx Museum is partnering with El Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana in Cuba. Starting on May 21, 90 works from the Bronx Museum's collection will go on view in Havana as an exhibit called Wild Noise: Artwork from the Bronx Museum of the Arts.

May 22–November 1: Jaume Plensa: Human Landscape at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts
In the largest exhibition of Jaume Plensa's work in North America, Nashville's Frist Center, in conjunction with the Cheekwood Botanical Garden, will present works and sculptures by the Catalan artist. Plensa's sculptures explore the intersections between spirituality, humanity, and nature, and highlight tensions between classical idealism and human error. 919 Broadway; 615-244-3340.

May 23–October 4: Northern Lights: Scandinavian Design at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
In the 21st century, Scandinavian design is ubiquitous, largely thanks to Ikea's empire of sleek, simple furniture and home goods. But the tradition of aesthetic excellence that Ikea's products continue began much earlier, with a showing of Scandinavian design at the World's Fair in Paris in 1900. This exhibit will largely focus on pieces from the mid-20th century, showing furniture, ceramics, flatware, and yes, video games (Sweden's Minecraft). 2525 Pennsylvania Ave.; 215-763-8100.

May 28–May 30: New Museum's Ideas City Festival
The New Museum expands beyond its walls and into the Bowery neighborhood on May 28 for a weekend of debates, conferences, workshops, and performances that explore the Ideas City Festival's theme, "The Invisible City." The event aims to discuss and examine how surveillance, transparency, expression, and citizenship collide within New York. The festival begins with a series of panels and talks at Cooper Union. 235 Bowery; 212-219-1222.

May 30: Singapore Pinacotheque de Paris opens
Abu Dhabi will soon have its Louvre, and Helsinki may get a Guggenheim. This month, Singapore opens its Pinacothèque, the stealthiest of recent museum franchises. It’s the first offshoot of the privately run, wildly successful Pinacothèque de Paris. Founder Marc Restellini, a Modigliani expert and art historian, will curate three annual shows—and a permanent collection that includes Monet and Pollock—juxtaposing periods and mediums to unearth hidden connections. To wit: The opening exhibit, The Myth of Cleopatra, will display 2,000-year-old Egyptian artifacts alongside Renaissance paintings and comic strips. It’s a clever East-meets-West combination sure to fuel the debate over cultural colonization. Fort Canning Arts, 5 Cox Terrace.

Image Credits: © Helaine Blumenfeld/ Spring Masters New York, © David Wiseman