As Senior Curator of European Art at the Brooklyn Museum, Lisa Small is responsible for many of their most memorable exhibitions in recent years (The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier (2013), Killer Heels (2014), Georgia O’Keeffe (2017) and currently on show, Frida Kahlo (2019) to name a few). Lisa is also helping to keep lox popular, Zabar’s thriving and Shane the pitbull a much loved member of the Upper West Side canine community.
1. Where do you call home
The Upper West Side of Manhattan. I love the UWS, every day feels like Sunday there: that casual, easy, brunch-y vibe. It’s also situated between Central Park and Riverside Park, plenty of options for walking my pitbull, Shane. We originally chose to live there almost 18 years ago because we could get more apartment for less money. And it’s fortunate we moved there when we did as we love it but couldn’t afford it now!
2. Favorite place to spend a lunch hour
When I’m at work, during the summer, I love strolling through the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens (it’s right behind the Brooklyn Museum), especially the Fragrance Garden.
3. One piece of unmissable art
Robert Campin’s early 15th century Merode Altarpiece at the Cloisters. It is a visual gift that keeps on giving, especially if you like paintings of people building mousetraps.
4. One place in New York that holds a particularly special memory
There is a non-descript stretch of East 80th Street between First and Second Avenue that I think of fondly. Twenty years ago, when my son had just learned to walk, I would bring him out to toddle along that sidewalk so he could meet his daddy walking home from work.
5. A New York best kept secret
I don’t know how secret it is but you can go on a vertical tour of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine that takes you up into the buttresses and on the roof. Truly behind-the-scenes and also great when you need to feel like you’re in Europe!
6. One specialty store you cant live without
As an Upper West Sider, major lox fan, and person who has a fairly high tolerance for lines, I have to say Zabar’s.
7. Best way to get around the city
8. If you could spend one night in any building in New York
9. A memorable recent travel experience
I recently c0-organized the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum and I had a chance recently to visit her home in Mexico City, The Blue House. It was closed to the public the day I went and I was lucky enough to have a private tour. Standing in her bedroom, by the bed she had repositioned so that she could see out the window into her beautiful garden while she lay…that was a magical experience.
10. First thing you do when you get back to New York after a trip
Kiss and be kissed by Shane.