Visiting the Bronx Museum

New York City has its well-known museums: The Met, MoMa, Guggenheim. They all happen to be in Manhattan, but sticking to just Manhattan can leave behind a collection of other great museums across the city. One of those museums happens to be the Bronx Museum; and unlike the others where you’d have to pay twenty or thirty dollars for a ticket, this one happens to be free of charge. 

The Bronx Museum of the Arts is located on 165th Street and Grand Concourse, only a ten minute walk from Yankee Stadium or a three minute walk from the 167th Street Station on the B and D trains. It was founded in 1971 with a focus on contemporary art that can represent and engage the diverse communities within the Bronx. Its collections and exhibitions show artists from Asian, African, and Latin American backgrounds that are not typically seen in traditional museums. It also provides educational programs that serve the community, and directly supports Bronx-based artists as they develop and pursue their art. The museum is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary with plans to grow bigger in upcoming renovations.

To enter requires only to go on their website ( to reserve a free ticket due to Covid. The space is small with only enough room for two exhibitions. When I visited, those two exhibitions were Born in Flames: Feminist Futures and Wardell Milan: Amerika. God Bless You If It’s Good To You.

Wangechi Mutu, Heeler VI, 2016.

Firelei Baez, On rest and resistance, Because we love you (to all those stolen from among us), 2020.

Born in Flames: Feminist Futures is an exhibition that invites fourteen contemporary artists to bring in artwork that reflects on past and current attitudes toward women and generates new and hopeful imaginings of the future. The range of work varies from Wangechi Mutu’s heels made of clay and wood to resemble termite mounds to Chitra Ganesh’s mix of ancient Indian epics in the style of pop art with feminist commentary to Huma Bhabha’s deconstruction of a woman’s body parts into bits of styrofoam and clay and plastic to Clarissa Tossin’s Where the River Meets the Sea, a long piece of fabric full of running water, lush greenery, and the pollution and industry that interrupt both. Each woman brings their distinct cultural background and experiences to their art, creating clever and thought-provoking deconstructions and reconstructions of womanhood, generating futures that adhere to or completely flip our expectations of what women can be. 

Wardell Milan, My knees getting weak, and my anger my anger might explode, but if God got us then we gonna be alright, 2021. 

Wardell Milan: Amerika. God Bless You If It’s Good To You is an exhibition dedicated to exploring white supremacy in modern America. Eyes drawn roughly in charcoal and pencil follow you wherever you go, leading toward paintings of beautifully rendered flowers with painted vomit over them and mangled bodies that are stretched and warped and caricatured in different mediums. A big sculpture of a Klan hood dominates the center, and even in passing there are small paintings with Klansmen whose hoods can only be seen by looking past their white backgrounds. The grotesque renderings seek to express the active and passive ways with which racial violence is maintained on Black communities. Paired with the exhibition are performances that occur every two or so weeks that explore marginalized identities affected by said violence, the closest one being on August 18th at 6 pm. 

I was in and out of both exhibitions in less than an hour, yet was left in more awe than at any visit in the Met. The museum featured art that was much more daring and innovative than bigger collections like the Whitney. The cultural diversity of the artists provided new ways of seeing that illuminated issues and ideas that I haven’t seen in any other museum. There should be more museums like the Bronx Museum, and for that reason it is a museum I will definitely go back to and revisit. Who knew that such a gem could be found so far from Manhattan and for free?

By: Jared Skoro

Jared Skoro is a junior at NYU Gallatin studying a mix of English, Political Science, and Psychology. In his free time, he enjoys reading, hiking, and exploring a new neighborhood of the city every weekend.

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