Director’s Programs

Gallery Guided Tour with
Charles A. Riley II, PhD 

Sunday, April 7, June 2
3:00 pm
Free with Museum admission

Panel Discussion:
What Did the ‘80s Really Mean?

Featuring Eric Fischl, April Gornik and Bryan Hunt with Charles A. Riley II, PhD
Date to be announced
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3:00 pm
Free with Museum admission

Join some of the stars of the ‘80s for a look back at the friendships, highlights (and lowlights) and momentous events of the dynamic decade as they look back from today’s perspective.

The ‘80s: Age of Excess
Director’s Seminar Series

Charles A. Riley II, PhD
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm, dates below
$30 for Members, $40 for Non-Members, per session
Limited to 25 per session

A four-part seminar exploring the art, film, music and literature of a crazy but complex era that poses one huge question: How great was the art and will it endure?

April 9
Art After Midnight

The intimate secrets and complicated relationships (Fischl, Gornik, Salle, Bleckner, Haring Salle, Basquiat) that made the East Village so different from SoHo or uptown, and the ways in which the dance clubs (Mudd Club, Club 57, Area, Danceteria) became an alternative to the gallery scene. Inevitably, we will talk about the skyrocketing market and the role of dealers and auction houses.

April 30
Burning Down the House

Pulling the music and art together means understanding the role of David Bowie, Madonna (girlfriend of Basquiat and muse to many), David Byrne (RISD graduate and participant in many shows as a photographer), Patti Smith, the B-52s and others. This was also the era of MTV, which altered the perception of music by making it both visual and narrative.

May 14
Bright Lights, Big City

A literary seminar focusing on the novels and stories of Jay McInerney, Brett Easton Ellis, Tom Wolfe, Tama Janowitz and others whose fiction and poetry, like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work in the Jazz Age, captured the antics of the era.

May 28
The Search for Meaning

By 1989, the Berlin Wall had come down, the stock market had “corrected” and many of the art stars were either dead or slipping into obscurity. This is our chance to re-evaluate the legacy of the era in terms of the arts and social change.

Director’s NYC Tours

Charles A. Riley II, Ph D
1:30 pm - 3:30 pm, dates below
$30 for Members, $40 for Non-Members, per session

May 2
Lower East Side

Trace the steps of the ‘80s art stars and visit the sites of their greatest triumphs (and parties), from Club 57 on St. Mark’s Place to the studios and off-beat spaces where they had shows, where movies such as Slaves of New York were filmed or scenes in the novels of Jay McInerney and Brett Easton Ellis were set. We’ll view the existing murals of Keith Haring, visit the new Brant Foundation gallery (with its Basquiat blockbuster) as well as trendy galleries. Meet at Brant Foundation, 421 East 6th Street.

June 13

The not-to-be-missed shows of the spring art season in the world’s most vibrant art neighborhood, with special attention to works by artists in our exciting ‘80s show. Highlights include Joan Mitchell at Zwirner, Gagosian, Pace, Matthew Marks, Gladstone, MetroPictures and many more. Meet at Gagosian Gallery,
555 West 24th Street

About Charles A. Riley, II PhD


Before becoming Director, Dr. Riley has had a long association with the Museum as both a curator-at-large and a presenter of lectures in conjunction with the Museum's exhibitions. As a curator, he contributed to the museum’s Picasso, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionists exhibitions, Dr. Riley has also curated exhibitions in Taiwan, Berlin, Amsterdam, Lausanne, New York and on Long Island.

Recently, Dr. Riley published his latest book, "Free as Gods: How the Jazz Age Reinvented Modernism," bringing the number of books he's authored to 32. Other books include "The Jazz Age in France," "The Art of Peter Max," "Art at Lincoln Center," "The Arts and the World Economy," "Color Codes" and "The Saints of Modern Art." His next book, a study of Rodin in Chinese and English, will be published by the Chimei Museum. Dr. Riley's monographs include those on Ben Schonzeit, Fritz Bultman and Peter Max, with most published by Abrams.

As a sought after guest commentator on the art market as well as other topics, Dr. Riley has appeared on CNN, NBC, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and Fox News.

Born and raised in Manhasset, Dr. Riley is a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University and received his Ph.D. from The Graduate Center of CCNY. He and his wife, Dr. Keming Liu, a noted translator of Chinese poetry and a professor at CUNY, live in New York and Cutchogue on the North Fork.


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