Making the MET 1870-2020 AUGUST 29, 2020–JANUARY 3, 2021, a monumental exhibition celebrating the Museum’s 150 year anniversary, came and went in the haze of a global pandemic. At the time, I couldn’t get myself organized enough to post my take on the landmark exhibition and now, nine months later, my photographs of masked museum-goers nearly feels to be in our rear-view window. The MET continues to have a mask policy in place for visitors, vaccinated or not. But, things are turning around in the city with secured vaccinations. The Museum recently reported its first 10,000 visitor day since the pandemic! And this Memorial Day weekend the Museum is launching two new initiatives on the Museum’s plaza, The Plaza Café, The Museum’s first foray to providing food and beverages on the Fifth Avenue plaza and Free Bicycle Valet, a complimentary bicycle valet service for all weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day (though I wish they would offer the bicycle valet for all of its opening hours, weekdays as well).
We are experiencing an unusually cold and rainy holiday weekend here in New York City. With the cooler temperatures, I am looking forward to binge watching PBS’ three-part TV series Inside the Met. Available online (the first episode expires June 18th), the series explores the legacy and future of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Go behind the scenes as the largest art museum in the Americas plans its 150th anniversary and responds to the coronavirus pandemic and calls for social justice.
I hope you enjoy my picks (roughly 19 out of over 250 works) from the Making the MET exhibition and that you are savoring some vaccinated freedoms. Don’t forget to take some time this weekend to honor the fallen who died while serving in the military.
Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, Zundert 1853–1890 Auvers-sur-Oise)
Richard Avedon (American, New York 1923–2004 San Antonio, Texas)
Credit Line: Gift of the artist, 2002
Accession Number: 2002.379.11
Rights and Reproduction: © Richard Avedon
Auguste Rodin (French, Paris 1840–1917 Meudon)
Anthony van Dyck (Flemish, Antwerp 1599–1641 London)
Saint Rosalie Interceding for the Plague-stricken of Palermo stopped me in my tracks. Painted while quarantined in Palermo, Sicily, due to an outbreak of the plague in 1624, it resonated with the intensity of the pandemic I was living through.
Margaret Neilson Armstrong (American, New York 1867–1944 New York)
Dimensions: sheet: 13 11/16 x 9 15/16 in. (34.8 x 25.2 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Helena Bienstock, Cynthia MacKay Keegan and Frank E. Johnson, 2010
Medici Porcelain Manufactory (Italian, Florence, ca. 1575–ca. 1587)
Hatshepsut was brilliantly placed in the viewing path of the Obelisk, Cleopatra’s Needle, behind the Museum in Central Park, which were both created around the same time BCE in Egypt.
Master Potter A
New Bremen Glass Manufactory (1784–1795)
Caleb Gardner (died 1761)
Paul Poiret (French, Paris 1879–1944 Paris)
Georgia O’Keeffe (American, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin 1887–1986 Santa Fe, New Mexico)
El Anatsui (Ghanaian, born Anyako, 1944)
Dimensions: 236 x 288 x 2 in. (599.4 x 731.5 x 5.1 cm)
Credit Line: Purchase, The Raymond and Beverly Sackler 21st Century Art Fund; Stephen and Nan Swid and Roy R. and Marie S. Neuberger Foundation Inc. Gifts; and Arthur Lejwa Fund, in honor of Jean Arp, 2008
Accession Number: 2008.121
Rights and Reproduction: Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY
Faith Ringgold (American, born New York, 1930)
Dimensions: Overall: 90 x 144 in. (228.6 x 365.8 cm)
Classifications: Textiles, Paintings
Credit Line: Arthur Hoppock Hearn Fund and funds from various donors, 1990
Accession Number: 1990.237a-c
Rights and Reproduction: © Faith Ringgold
Isamu Noguchi (American, Los Angeles, California 1904–1988 New York)
Visitors viewing Emanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851)
Roderick Aichinger (right). Composite image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Forgive the multiple images, but I really admired the use of projections and the morphing images that unfolded as well as the recurring arch theme throughout the exhibition.
John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London)
I was taken with these last two photos that were on the exhibition walls.
Edgar Degas (French, Paris 1834–1917 Paris)
Photography Beth Horta for Sweet Sabelle.