Within each museum that we tour together, your private guide with Art Smart can focus on anything you want—specific periods, just the highlights, off-the-beaten-path pieces, an overview of the museum, or a balance of the interests of your unique group. Just tell us what you feel passionate about, and we will design an exclusive tour just for you and your companions. And whether you are a confirmed art lover or just getting interested, our art historian guides will keep the conversation flowing at the right level.
We can explore a single collection in depth, or we can arrange thematic tours (or a series of tours) that take us to stellar works and shows spanning New York City’s wealth of cultural institutions. Art Smart leads guided museum tours in most of the premier art venues of New York City, including:
At The MET
Night at the (Met) Museum with Wine Tour
Escape the daytime crowds and experience the mood lighting throughout the museum during your Met Museum tour. Afterwards, your guide will accompany you for a delightful wine tasting. You can choose between the Met’s more public Balcony Bar which has music and the exclusive Balcony Lounge. Your guide will be on hand to available to answer lingering questions about what you’ve seen or to provide information and recommendations for your stay in New York. With world-class art, a charming bar, delicious wines and foods, we think you’ll agree that this special Met tour and wine tasting is the perfect New York experience. Pricing includes the tour and guide. The treats are a-la-carte.
Hidden Treasures of the Met
Our Hidden Treasures tour is tailored for visitors who are interested in exploring the unusual, the hidden and off the beaten path. We focus on objects and spaces that tell incredible stories or have a unique history. What’s in the secret compartment behind the emerald set in the jewel-encrusted saber of an Ottoman Emperor? Why did Antonio Canova tell a Polish countess to use his famous head of Medusa as a marble jack-o-lantern?
A History of Western Art at the Met
Part art historical lecture, part museum visit, this tour will be an engaging introduction to the history of art in Europe and America, from its foundational moment in classical Greece to the challenges of traditional artistic techniques in the twentieth century. We guide you through the world-class collection of the Met in order to tell the story of the artists and styles that shaped how the modern world thinks of painting and sculpture. This tour can be arranged for a single session, or a series of scheduled guided tours. This tour is perfect for those who always wished they had taken an art history course in college, or for those who want a more exciting and dynamic way to gain a fundamental understanding of the development of art in the West throughout the last twenty-five hundred years.
How to Look at Art
Rather than telling the history of art, this tour gives visitors the tools and skills they need to engage with art on both a visceral and theoretical level. What should we look for when seeing a new work of art for the first time? How do artists fool our eyes and control our reactions? You will walk away with a greater capacity for visual analysis and aesthetic appreciation. This tour is ideal for visitors who enjoy exploring art on their own but are hoping to cultivate their ability to look at, appreciate, and think about images and objects.
Themes explored in this tour will include:
- The relationship between the viewer and the object
- The advantages and limits of materials
- The translation of a three-dimensional world into two dimensions
A Romantic Tour of the Met
Looking for a romantic spot in New York City to enjoy with a loved one? This guided tour explores themes of love and romance and brings you through the most captivating, romantic rooms in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Couples will encounter secluded galleries brimming with tender evocations of both mythological and historical lovers, from Mars and Venus to King Louis XIV of France and the Marquise de Montespan. The tour also gives couples a chance to see the gorgeous objects that served as symbols and gifts of affection such as a medieval French ivory jewelry box with scenes of chivalric romance or the silver “loving cup” given to the founder of Tiffany’s & Co. and his wife.
Blushing Bride: Wedding Celebrations and Courtship Rituals from around the World
Wedding celebrations and courtship rituals surround some of the most gorgeous objects in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Take a tour of the collection that focuses on all things bridal from around the world and throughout the ages. Great for an engagement present or as a refined activity for the elevated bachelorette weekend in New York. Include an optional champagne toast for an additional fee.
Top 10 Things You Should Know About Art
This mini art history tour in ten crucial steps will include discussion on key topics that reflect on how we view art today. How did the Impressionists permanently change the art market by striking out on their own? How have Greek Classical ideas influenced art through the ages and how do they continue to frame our understanding of art in general today? This tour will provide those “aha” moments when it comes to understanding art history.
Art for the Soul
Allow your wandering mind to settle in during this guided tour that encourages gallery-goers to take a pause for meditation in the midst of the urban museum setting.
Metropolitan Museum of Art Highlights
ART SMART’s Met Highlights guided tour includes a wide-ranging look at the most famous and prized objects in the museum. This itinerary is ideal for out-of-town or first time visitors that are hoping to understand just what it is that makes the Metropolitan Museum of Art so special. From the renowned Temple of Dendur to the incredible collection of European and Impressionist masterpieces, we will see the works of art that are revered by art historians – yet also the works that are iconic for the general public.
Metropolitan Foodie Tour
Feast Your Eyes blends the love of food and art on a guided, private tour through The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Feast Your Eyes looks at food in paintings and sculpture throughout history and across cultures. Our personalized and curated art experiences seek out what really gets people engaged with art. This time around, it's the inspiration and love of food that pulls us in a little closer.
At The Guggenheim
A Modern Icon: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim
The Guggenheim is one of the most famous monuments of the modern age, designed to engage visitors with art and space in new ways. This architecturally focused tour will explore every aspect of Frank Lloyd Wright’s gem of a museum, from the building’s philosophical motivations to its innovative construction and quirky decorative details.
Connecting Multiple Venues
Photography Art Advisory Tour
We’ll focus on training your eye at the main photography art galleries around NYC. This tour stops in Midtown and Chelsea and can include a visit to the International Center of Photography, The Met, MoMA and more.
Get the Full Picture of Modern and Contemporary Art (Met, Met Breuer, or at NYC Galleries)
We know that understanding modern and contemporary art can be challenging. Our modern art tours start by explaining the underlying ideas of color, form, and line that artists are often playing with. Along the way, we’ll explore paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Pollock, Rothko, Warhol, and more.
Interior Design Inspiration
This multiple-museum tour is perfect for anyone hoping for interior design inspiration. Explore Japanese or Moroccan furniture and learn how they influenced the history of décor as you immerse yourself in rooms decorated by Frank Lloyd Wright or the finest Art Nouveau designers of Paris.
All That Glitters: Jewelry In NYC Museums
Adore gazing at priceless glittering gemstones? Can’t get enough of intricately crafted jewelry design? The Met holds an astonishing array of gold and jewels from around the world, but the collection is scattered. We know just where to seamlessly guide you through some of the least-known spots in the museum to hunt out the most precious items. The breadth and variety of design will astound you as you pore over pieces of personal ornament that you never knew existed in jaw-dropping materials. Along the way we’ll discover ruby encrusted braid ornaments fashioned in nineteenth century India, solid gold flip-flops for the wives of the Pharaoh Thutmose III, and gorgeous Art Nouveau brooches.
Tour the Old Masters Rembrandt and Vermeer: A Two-Museum Tour
New York City is the perfect place for an in-depth guided tour of Rembrandts and Vermeers. We usually start at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, then drop into the Frick Museum on our focus on these revered masters. The Met Museum alone has five Vermeers (more than any other museum has) and the Frick has another three. And the Met’s collection of Rembrandt’s is world renowned.
Glories of the Past: Ancient Civilizations
History comes to life in this tour of ancient objects and artifacts of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Allow our expert art to guide you through the visual cultures and legacies of Ancient Egypt, Assyria, China, Greece and Rome. This guided tour can include a visit to multiple museum venues.
Prep for your European Trip
We can help prepare you for a trip abroad and give you a foundation for understanding the art that you’ll be exploring abroad. Our art experts have travelled extensively for art historical research and are delighted give you tips on what to see and how to see it, as well as create a movie or reading list focusing on your destination. The location for this tour depends on your destination. Our exploration can focus mainly at the Met, or can be across multiple museums.
How it Works
Upon booking, you’ll have the opportunity to tell us how we can customize the tour for you and yours. Tell us which museum and when you’d like to tour and a bit about yourself or your group. With that, we’ll start creating the perfect New York City guided art tour for you.
You’ll skip the lines as we’ll get your tickets for you ahead of time. The museum admission ticket fee will be added during the booking. Your museum meeting location is included with your email confirmation. If you prefer to meet us elsewhere, just let us know.
All tours are $175 per hour and have a two-hour minimum. For most people a 2-3 hour tour is best, but you may choose to continue for the whole day.
During the booking process:
Tell us what to focus our conversations on
- Stories about the artists
- How the museum developed
- Transitions and developments in art history
- A mix of the above
If you want to focus just on the main highlights, do you want to include:
- Other Mediums
- Architecture of the building