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Bergdorf Goodman’s Holiday Windows Celebrate NYC Cultural Institutions

The 2017 Bergdorf Goodman holiday windows celebrate the American Museum of Natural History, New-York Historical Society, New York Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and other local cultural institutions.

Installation view of Bergdorf Goodman's
The American Museum of Natural History window at Bergdorf Goodman (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

Rhinestone-adorned dinosaur skeletons, a neon symphony, and a fiber art herbarium are among the decadent holiday window displays at Bergdorf Goodman. The Manhattan shopping hub is always a visual bacchanal this time of year, and for 2017, it’s celebrating seven New York cultural institutions in a series of exuberant installations. Titled “To New York with Love,” the windows include tributes to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Museum of the Moving Image (MoMI), the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), New York Philharmonic (NYPO), New-York Historical Society (N-YHS), and UrbanGlass.

The windows, unveiled on November 14 and overseen by David Hoey, Bergdorf Goodman’s senior director for visual presentation, have flashy fashion at their center, whether the Zac Posen-gowned conductor of the layered neon instruments in the NYPO window, or the glitzy Halpern dress surrounded by gleaming AMNH dinosaurs. Yet it’s fun to see some of the city’s influential cultural institutions being given such a glamorous treatment, especially as several are perhaps lesser known to the holiday tourists. UrbanGlass has sculptures in a smaller window made in their Brooklyn glass art studio by Keith Sonnier, Lynda Benglis, Rob Wynne, and Rob Pruitt, and MoMI’s window has a midcentury cinematic feel, with selections from black-and-white films cycling beneath faux icicles.

The N-YHS window has a huge assembly of papier-mâché takes on objects from their collections, all crafted by artist Mark Gagnon, and presided over by a sharply dressed anthropomorphic bull and bear. There’s a small label in one corner, so you can connect the colorful interpretations to the real objects at N-YHS, whether the 1899 “Diana of the Tower” by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, or the 1900-06 dragonfly table lamp by Tiffany. The NYBG window is similarly dynamic, with soft sculptures, embroidery, felting, and other fiber art by Burke & Pryde, all representing different flora specimens. All the flowers, trees, and other plants are identified by their Latin names, and some are lodged in fiber books, a reference to the NYBG’s incredible herbarium.

Across the street, at Bergdorf’s men’s store, the windows by visual director Shane Ruth are all BAM-themed, featuring mannequin dancers warming up at a barre, and two mannequin actors engaged in a performance. A few take viewers into dressing rooms and backstage with mannequin stage hands. In conjunction with all these displays, Bergdorf is selling experiences and objects related to all the institutions, with a percentage of the proceeds going to these organizations.

The New York Philharmonic window
The New York Philharmonic window
The New-York Historical Society window, with art by Mark Gagnon
The New-York Historical Society window, with art by Mark Gagnon
The New-York Historical Society window, with art by Mark Gagnon
Detail of the New-York Historical Society window, with art by Mark Gagnon, representing the New York State state mammal (beaver), flower (rose), insect (ladybug), and bird (bluebird)
The New-York Historical Society window, with art by Mark Gagnon
Detail of the New-York Historical Society window, with art by Mark Gagnon
The New-York Historical Society window, with art by Mark Gagnon
The New-York Historical Society window, with art by Mark Gagnon
The New York Botanical Garden window, with art by Burke & Pryde studio
The New York Botanical Garden window, with art by Burke & Pryde studio
The Museum of the Moving Image window
The Museum of the Moving Image window
A Brooklyn Academy of Music window
A Brooklyn Academy of Music window
A Brooklyn Academy of Music window
A Brooklyn Academy of Music window
American Museum of Natural History-inspired jewelry window
American Museum of Natural History-inspired jewelry window
The UrbanGlass window
The UrbanGlass window
American Museum of Natural History-inspired jewelry window
American Museum of Natural History-inspired jewelry window
American Museum of Natural History-inspired jewelry window
American Museum of Natural History-inspired jewelry window
The American Museum of Natural History window
The American Museum of Natural History window
Installation view of Bergdorf Goodman's
View of the windows at Bergdorf Goodman

Bergdorf Goodman’s holiday windows are on view through January 1 at 754 Fifth Avenue, Midtown, Manhattan.

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