Formgiving – Jan 4

January highlights include an exploration of the architectural practices of formgiving, a look at the history of western wear fashion, a presentation by renowned dance photographer Costas—and the opening of three new visual arts exhibitions

All events and exhibitions are free and open to the public

The National Arts Club (NAC) is beginning its 125th anniversary year with a dozen free public arts and culture programs in January, in addition to three new visual arts exhibitions.

“All of 2023 will be an unforgettable year at the National Arts Club,” said David Doty, President of the National Arts Club. “As we celebrate our 125-year history and recent progress, we also set our eyes on the horizon and plan out our future. And as we always have, we look forward once again to welcoming the tens of thousands of guests who visit us without charge each year.”

Program highlights for the month include an exploration of formgiving with architect Kai-Uwe Bergmann, a look at history of western wear fashion with author Sonya Abrego, a talk from the artistic directors of the Bronx Music Heritage Center, a presentation of photographs by renowned dance photographer Costas, the NAC’s fourth annual One-Act Play Festival, and more.

In the NAC galleries are a collaborative exhibition of works on paper by Joaquín Sorolla, from the collection of the Hispanic Society Museum & Library—and solo exhibitions by mixed media and performance artist Melvin (GRAVE) Guzman and painter Greg Colson.

Official celebrations of the Club’s 125th anniversary are scheduled for the fall. Details forthcoming.

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

Past virtual programs can be enjoyed anytime on the NAC’s YouTube channel


Programs take place in person, unless otherwise noted.

Formgiving: Giving Form to the Future

Wednesday, January 4, 7:30 PM

Formgiving, the Danish word for design, means to give form to that which has not yet been given form: create a world to the world we would like to find ourselves. This concept is now more important than ever, as humans are the greatest force shaping the planet today. Formgiving takes you on a journey across scales from the smallest to the largest projects to sense how the world around us has been shaped, from the past to the present, and beyond. Kai-Uwe Bergmann, an architect at the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), presents a close look at some of the company’s projects which have been built in over 40 different countries.

FashionSpeak Fridays: Westernwear

Friday, January 6, 7:00 PM

Sonya Abrego, author of Westernwear: Postwar American Fashion and Culture, explores westernwear’s place in midcentury America. In the years that followed World War II, the United States experienced a booming economy and confidence in technologies for the future. So why, at this forward-thinking time, were so many Americans wearing fashions that evoked the Old West? Westernwear fashion is highly encouraged!

A Look at the Bronx Music Heritage Center

Wednesday, January 11, 6:30 PM

Bronx Music Heritage Center (BMHC) celebrates the Bronx’s rich musical and cultural heritage. Its artistic directors, folklorist Elena Martinez and jazz musician and educator Bobby Sanabria, introduce the vision of the venue during this audio and visual presentation. In brief, BMHC’s goal is to bring together artists to present programs and performances that reflect the Bronx’s living landscape and soundscape.

The Spirit Vodka

Thursday, January 12, 6:00 PM

20-year veteran of adult beverages and partner in Idaho’s 44North Vodka, Harold Joyce shares the over 600-year evolution of the world’s most widely consumed spirit, vodka. Learn about the distillation process and various types of vodka currently being made. Sharing from Harold’s personal collection of bottles, guests will experience a variety of versions of the spirit.

Costas, Dance Photographer: Dancing Women

Thursday, January 12, 6:00 PM

Internationally renowned dance photographer Costas shares photos and talks about his new book, Dancing Women. A dance lover’s dream, the book reflects Costas’ commitment to taking photos of dancers in action, rather than posed-for studio settings. His subjects range from the Ailey Company to the Bolshoi to New York City Ballet.

Lang Lang’s Piano Scholars: Celebrating Global Diversity in Music

Wednesday, January 18, 7:00 PM

Every two years, the world-renowned concert pianist Lang Lang personally selects a limited number of exceptionally talented young pianists from around the world, offering them mentorship, tutelage, and unique opportunities for performance as “scholars” of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation. Two of these amazing young pianists–Ryan Lu and Yidi Ding–present a program including traditional Chinese music in contemporary arrangements, works by African-American piano legend Florence Price, and virtuoso showpieces by Tchaikovsky, Chopin, and Liszt.

The Oleg Vidov Story

Thursday, January 19, 7:00 PM

The film The Oleg Vidov Story builds on the fascinating biography of one of Russia’s most notable film stars, as it takes viewers inside his contributions to the preservation of film. Vidov’s sweeping journey, from humble beginnings in Mongolia with his loving single mother, extends to his iconic status in the zenith of Soviet filmmaking during the Brezhnev era. His harrowing defection is a lens into artistic repression and shows further constraints of artistic diffusion in the Cold War. Join a screening of the film, followed by a discussion with members of the cast and crew.

Black and Female: An Evening with Tsitsi Dangarembga (VIRTUAL)

Thursday, January 19, 7:00 PM 

Zimbabwean novelist, playwright, filmmaker, and political activist Tsitsi Dangarembga shares her newest work, Black and Female, a collection of essays, examines the legacy of imperialism in her own life and in every aspect of African life. This paradigm shifting essay collection weaves the personal and political in an illuminating exploration of Dangarembga’s complex relationship with race and gender. At once philosophical, intimate and urgent, the writer’s landmark essays address the profound cultural and political questions that underpin her novels for the first time.

One-Act Play Festival

Monday, January 23, 6:30 PM 

Life, it seems, often feels like a series of one-acts. Everyone has experiences that play out like short dramas. And that is, perhaps, why the one-act dramatic form is so popular. For the National Arts Club’s fourth annual One-Act Play Festival, a series of short, compelling, meaningful works reveal heightened interactions among people—not only for the characters involved in the story, but also for all of us out there in the audience.

Lucy by the Sea: An Evening with Elizabeth Strout

Tuesday, January 24, 6:30 PM

With her trademark spare, crystalline prose, Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout follows the indomitable heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton through the early days of the pandemic in her new novel, Lucy by the Sea. Uprooted from her life in Manhattan, Lucy is bundled away to a small town in Maine by her ex-husband and on-again, off-again friend, William. The novel traces Lucy, William, and their complex past together in a house nestled near the moody, swirling sea, and captures the fear and struggles that come with isolation, as well as the hope, peace, and possibilities those long, quiet days can inspire. 

The Ideal–or Not So Ideal–Greek Woman

Wednesday, January 25, 6:30 PM

Classical Greek artists had no trouble depicting the ideal male, but the 5th-century painter Zeuxis needed five female models to synthesize details in his portrait of the beautiful Helen of Troy. Unlike men who merited sculpted likenesses in public venues, women were mostly portrayed on their grave stelai. Jenifer Neils, Elsie B. Smith Professor emerita of Liberal Studies at Case Western Reserve University and former Director of American School of Classical Studies in Athens, discusses how by viewing the imagery of ideal and less than ideal women, Greek artists portrayed females within a misogynist society. This program is presented in collaboration with the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.

Skirts: Fashioning Modern Femininity in the Twentieth Century (VIRTUAL)

Friday, January 27, 3:00 PM 

Dr. Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, author of Skirts: Fashioning Modern Femininity in the Twentieth Century, traces the shifting roles of women over the 20th century through the era’s most iconic and influential dresses. Look at the history of 20th-century womenswear through the lens of game-changing styles like the little black dress and the Bar Suit, as well as more obscure innovations like the Taxi dress or the Pop-Over dress.


Gallery is open daily from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

A Masterpiece in the Making: Joaquín Sorolla’s Gouaches for the Vision of Spain

On view January 17 through April 26

The National Arts Club is proud to partner with the Hispanic Society Museum and Library (HSM&L) in presenting this landmark exhibition commemorating the Valencian master Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. A Masterpiece in the Making features the work of the Valencian master Sorolla—the preeminent artist in Spain at the turn of the 20th century—on the occasion of the centennial year of his death. On view are Sorolla’s rarely seen preparatory sketches for the paintings in the HSM&L’s Sorolla Gallery, Vision of Spain. This is the first time the works are being exhibited in the U.S.

Psycho!Geo!Graphic: Melvin (GRAVE) Guzman

On view January 7 through 28

Melvin (GRAVE) Guzman is a mixed media and performance artist. Balancing abstraction and mysticism, he transforms the mundane, constantly experimenting with fragments of what is close at hand and of the city to transcend both his and our collective states of being. Psycho!Geo!Graphic examines a two year acclimation to a new type of existence in New York during which the artist assembled a collection of compartmental cartographies—fragments of places—part of the whole he endeavors to convey employing a sort of nomadology of techniques, gestures, and tools. Objects infused with the entropy of the city modulate this contained reality, much like they do the topography and existential possibility of the city, in a holistic, and hopefully graphic, expression of a metaphysics of subsistence.

Snap Shot: Greg Colson

On view January 7 through 28

In Snap Shot, Los Angeles-based artist Greg Colson explores the tension between different kinds of gestures, conflicting notions of intention and accident, the big picture and small details. Colson’s “Pie Chart” paintings draw out the humor and rhythm in our social patterns, reflecting our obsession with efficiency, data, and analysis—which are typically seen in the sleek nonmaterial setting of the computer screen. These woks convey a sense of distraction that is, in the artist’s words, “the condition of our lives in the information age, where the trivial and significant are put on an equal footing.” 


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