Courtesy of Raissa Bretana
The month’s highlights include a history of shoes, two presentations on ballet, a concert by a violin prodigy, and an architectural look at New York City jewels—alongside three visual arts exhibitions
All events and exhibitions are free and open to the public
The National Arts Club (NAC) continues its fall season with a remarkable roster of free public arts and culture programming.
Program highlights for October include a 400 year history of shoes as fashion with author Raissa Bretaña, a presentation and performance by the New York Theatre Ballet, an exploration of the life and work of ballet dancer Bronislava Nijinska, a concert by award-winning violinist Amaryn Olmeda, a lecture on some of New York City’s most famous buildings, and more.
In the NAC galleries, visitors can continue to view Selections from Australia’s Western Desert, an exhibition of works from the private collection of Steve Martin, as well as new exhibitions of works by contemporary artist Samuel Stabler and 20th century photographer George Platt Lynes.
The NAC’s fall season is generously supported by Amazon.
All programs and exhibitions are free and available to the public with registration. In-person programs and exhibitions are hosted at the NAC’s historic landmark clubhouse, the former Samuel Tilden Mansion, located at 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY. Information on registration and the most up-to-date details can be found at nationalartsclub.org.
Past virtual programs can be enjoyed anytime on the NAC’s YouTube channel.
Programs take place in person, unless otherwise noted.
Pelé: Birth of a Legend
Wednesday, October 5, 7:00 PM
Celebrate the internationally-loved sport of soccer and one of its most famous stars, Pelé. This special screening of the independent film Pelé: Birth of a Legend, which premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, features a brilliant musical score from Academy Award-winning composer A.R. Rahman. Following the screening is a Q&A with special guest Ivan Orlic, founder of Seine Pictures, who produced the film alongside Academy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment.
Unthinkable: An Evening with Jamie Raskin (VIRTUAL)
Thursday, October 6, 6:00 PM
In Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy, Congressman Jamie Raskin tells the story of the days at the start of 2021 that permanently changed his life. On December 31, 2020, his son Tommy Raskin, 25, tragically took his own life after a long struggle with depression. Seven days later, on January 6, Congressman Raskin was at the Capitol to help certify the 2020 Presidential election results when a mob stormed the building hoping to hand four more years of power to President Donald Trump. Raskin, a key member of the Jan. 6 Committee investigating the events of that day, discusses the convergence of personal and public trauma and how the power of his son’s convictions have helped fuel his commitment.
FashionSpeak Fridays: Shoes
Friday, October 7, 7:00 PM
From the surprisingly sexy boots hiding under Victorian crinolines to the glittering T-strap heels worn by flappers dancing the Charleston, a woman’s shoe choice has long been far more than a mundane practicality. Shoes author Raissa Bretaña presents an overview of 400 years of fabulous footwear from the 17th century to the present, including many of today’s top designers such as Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Roger Vivier, and Nicholas Kirkwood. Fabulous footwear is highly encouraged.
Seeing Silicon Valley
Tuesday, October 11, 7:00 PM
Mary Beth Meehan has spent the last two decades embedded in diverse communities, using photography to explore our ideas regarding identity in American life. It’s hard to imagine a place more central to American mythology today than Silicon Valley. To outsiders, the region glitters with the promise of extraordinary wealth and innovation. But behind this image lies another Silicon Valley, one segregated by race, class, and nationality in complex and contradictory ways. In our evening together, Meehan shares the making of her recent book Seeing Silicon Valley and how she unites her technical skills with storytelling to undercover human truths.
Neuman Music Award & Concert with Amaryn Olmeda
Wednesday, October 12, 7:00 PM
Violin prodigy Amaryn Olmeda becomes the third recipient of the National Arts Club’s Herman and Mary Neuman Music Award. She is a rising star sought after for her bold and expressive performances as a soloist and collaborator. In the 2021/22 season, Olmeda debuted as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, and Buffalo Philharmonic, among others. She was the winner of first prize and the audience choice award at the 24th Annual Sphinx Competition.
New York Theatre Ballet: A Gem of a Chamber Troupe
Thursday, October 13, 7:00 PM
New York Theatre Ballet has been hailed by the New York Times as “an invaluable company” and one critic wrote “if it did not already exist it would have to be created.” Since 1978, it has been dedicated to and recognized for inspiring a love of dance through performances of both small masterpieces and bold new works by such creators as Jerome Robbins, Antony Tudor, Merce Cunningham, and Richard Alston. Enjoy this performance of the troupe’s repertory works.
The Personal Monologue
Monday, October 17, 6:30 PM
The personal monologue is about one voice telling a story you want to hear. The monologue is among the most complex writerly forms—it requires equal parts content, performance, and on-stage presence. In this event, audiences hear a variety of expertly written, original short monologues, each of which relates a compelling narrative about what it means to be alive right now.
The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man: Paul Newman
Tuesday, October 18, 8:00 PM
In 1986, Paul Newman and his friend, screenwriter Stewart Stern, began an extraordinary project. Stern was to compile an oral history, to have Newman’s family and friends and those who worked closely with him, talk about the actor’s life. And then Newman would work with Stern and give his side of the story. The only stipulation was that anyone who spoke on the record had to be completely honest. The result is The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man, a truthful and vivid memoir, culled from thousands of pages of transcripts. The book’s co-authors, Paul Newman’s daughters Clea and Melissa Newman, appear in conversation.
FashionSpeak Fridays: Filipiniana Dress History
Friday, October 21, 7:00 PM
Costume designer Raven Ong explores the timeline of Filipiniana dress history. Filipiniana clothing refers to the distinctive aspects of the national costumes in the Philippines. Colonized for hundreds of years, the Philippines have thrived and triumphed, and stood the test of time to tell its own unique tale in its fabrics and silhouettes. Filipiniana style is highly encouraged.
The Tilden Mansion & the Aesthetic Movement
Monday, October 24, 7:30 PM
The Tilden Mansion, home of the National Arts Club, occupies 14 and 15 Gramercy Park South. Both houses were built in the 1840s and the original flat-front, iron-grilled brownstones matched the style of the homes still maintained on the west side of Gramercy Park. Samuel Tilden, the 25th Governor of New York, acquired 15 Gramercy Park South in 1863, purchased the adjacent house a few years later and gave the conjoined mansions a complete redesign. Tilden hired Calvert Vaux, a famed architect and one of the designers of Central Park, to modernize the façade with sandstone, bay windows, and ornamentation in the Aesthetic Movement style. Architect and NAC Member David Scott Parker unveils the hidden and not so hidden gems of the Tilden Mansion. Parker is an award-winning architect specializing in historic preservation.
La Nijinska: Choreographer of the Modern
Tuesday, October 25, 6:00 PM
Overshadowed in life and legend by her brother Vaslav Nijinsky, Bronislava Nijinska had a far longer and more productive career. An architect of 20th century neoclassicism, she experienced the transformative power of the Russian Revolution and created her greatest works under the influence of its avant-garde. Many of her ballets rested on the probing of gender boundaries, a mistrust of conventional gender roles, and a heightening of female virtuosity. Author Lynn Garafola and Professor Elizabeth Kendall unveil the bold singularity of Nijinska’s artistry, the forces marshaled against her, and the turbulent times surrounding her.
From the Gilded Age to Art Deco: Architectural Jewels of New York City
Friday, October 28, 6:00 PM
Jewelry and decorative arts historian Levi Higgs and New York City historian and tour guide Keith Taillon share jewelry stories behind famous buildings around New York City. Together, they share some of the city’s most storied Gilded Age mansions and Art Deco wonders, as well as jewels that have reflected similar architectural elements.
Gallery is open daily from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Selections from Australia’s Western Desert: From the Collection of Steve Martin & Anne Stringfield
On view through October 27
The National Arts Club is honored to host a dynamic exhibition of contemporary Indigenous Australian painting from the remote regions of Central and Western Australia, from the private collection of Steve Martin and Anne Stringfield. The six large works that make up this exhibition all spring from thousands of years of tradition, disconnected and uninfluenced from the outside world. Distinct from outsider art and not defined by chance affinities with western contemporary abstract art, these paintings stand as stories and narratives infused with an intense connection to the local landscape. On view are significant works by Bill Whiskey Tjapaltjarri, Timo Hogan, Carlene West, Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri, and Doreen Reid Nakamarra.
Samuel Stabler, Curated by Emann Odufu
On view October 10 through November 4
For his first solo exhibition at the National Arts Club, Samuel Stabler examines the concept of money and wealth in modern society. Similar to an archeologist, Stabler juxtaposes zeitgeist moments that span music, sports, cinema, history, and art, showcasing the interconnection between these cultural elements and the markets they feed. However, he does this in a way that neither fetishizes the idea of wealth nor condemns it. This exhibition expands on Stabler’s Combineseries, merging his meticulous cut-out process with his highly detailed and delicate works on paper. Formal elements of color, albeit softer and more subdued, and line remain as the constant foundation of Stabler’s creative output. In these new works, Stabler sources imagery that references everything from everyday objects to cultural scenes.
George Platt Lynes: Selections from the Frederick R. Koch Collection
On view October 11 through November 4
George Platt Lynes (1907-1955) was a self-taught American photographer active from the 1920s to the 1950s. He began his career photographing cultural luminaries such as Gertrude Stein, Yul Brenner, Katherine Hepburn, and members of the New York City Ballet, newly formed by his close friend George Balanchine. It is for those portraits, along with extravagant fashion work for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar that he is best remembered today. However, Lynes’ true passion and most ground-breaking work lay in more intimate, often nude portraits of his friends, many of whom were artists and celebrities including Jean Cocteau, Paul Cadmus, and Lynes himself. At the time of their creation, these works were too controversial to exhibit, let alone publish or sell. Thus, what Lynes considered his most important work remained largely unseen. Works in this exhibition are provided by the Frederick R. Koch Collection and have not been exhibited since Mr. Koch purchased the Lynes residual estate from Bernard Perlin, the American painter who was executor of the estate.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL ARTS CLUB
Founded in 1898, The National Arts Club is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to stimulate, foster, and promote public interest in the arts and to educate the American people in the fine arts. Annually, the Club offers more than 150 free programs—both in-person and virtually—to the public, including exhibitions, theatrical and musical performances, lectures and readings, attracting an audience of over 30,000 in-person visitors and thousands more online. Feature programs focus on all disciplines of the arts.
Since 2019, the Club has been undergoing a renaissance. New initiatives—such as an artist fellowship, an outdoor concert series, and online programming—have attracted new audiences. At the NAC’s landmark clubhouse, the former Samuel Tilden Mansion, efforts have been made to reimagine, renovate, and preserve the building’s galleries and historic spaces.
The NAC is also a proud community partner, providing therapeutic art instruction to children in the care of the Administration of Children’s Services, regularly convening New York City art leaders to share ideas and collaborate, presenting a popular series of concerts in collaboration with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, and more.
For a full list of events or to learn more, please visit nationalartsclub.org.