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The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Venue  |  Exhibitions  |  Reviews
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Lucas Samaras' Offerings from a Restless Soul

by Roslyn Bernstein
The path to the Lucas Samaras exhibition, Offerings from a Restless Soul, at the Metropolitan Museum proved to be a fortuitous one. It led me though the Greek and Roman Galleries, filled with remnants of classical art, works that undoubtedly inspired Samaras, a Greek-born artist who came to America in 1948. Two works stayed with me as I made my way to the Samaras show: the marble head of a youth, attributed to the Greek sculptor Polykleitos, with its strong muscular face, aquiline nose, and locks of hair carved carefully in the stone, and a statue of a kouros (youth), ca 590-580 BC, said to be... [more]
Posted by Roslyn Bernstein on 8/26/14
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Luxe, Calme, et Volupté

by Bradley Rubenstein
The prospect of seeing forty-nine of Matisse’s finest works should be enticement enough, however, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has upped the ante by arranging this somewhat thematic exhibition in groupings, which show the painter refining his personal explorations in modernist paintings through endless, subtle variations. Although the pedagogical aspects of this might seem a little staid at first flush, upon close study one becomes entranced by the intricate, reductive logic that lay at the heart of all of Matisse’s works. From the start Matisse was an equal-opportunity gatherer and collector o... [more]
Posted by Bradley Rubenstein on 2/19/13
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Must See Textile Show

The Metropolitan Museum's  Ratti Center Textile Exhibit showcases a dozen or so exquisite lace pieces.  Highlights include a cravat made for the wedding of Louis the XIV's grandson in the finest of French needle lace with a lavish hunting scheme featuring two children beneath a tree and a plethora of dogs hidden within lacy foliage..  One stunning piece is a border that has three dimensional flowers with layers of petals resembling Gros Point, but made during the late 19th century. Most American museum goers have not had the opportunity to see lace of such high quality. This exhibit will change the... [more]
Posted by senwilson on 8/16/12
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Met Roof Goes Tiki Tiki

by Kirsten Bengtson-Lykoudis
Mike and Doug Starn’s organic site-specific installation on the roof of the Met is ambitious in scale and refreshingly interactive. Mobbed on Friday evenings by local art enthusiasts and international tourists who huddle under the bamboo for cocktails, Big Bambú provides a lofty counterpart to the Starns’ South Ferry subway station with its intricate leaf mosaics and glass etchings of trees. Loosely inspired by a 1970s article on the Pentacost Islands in National Geographic about a group of natives who construct and jump off towering bamboo structures, the Starns’ rooftop installation... [more]
Posted by Kirsten Bengtson-Lykoudis on 7/4/10
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And now for something completely different...

by Natalie Hegert
        Raoul Hausmann and Hannah Höch credit the "discovery" of the Dadaist technique of photomontage to a single moment when, in 1917 at an inn on the Baltic seaside, they encountered an oddly assembled portrait--the photographic likeness of the owner of the inn glued to the body of a soldier standing in the company of Kaiser Wilhelm, great German generals, and other nationalistic symbols of glory and splendor.  With one decisive movement, the owner of the inn as a young man was transposed to a different realm, in the midst of patriotic pomp, endowed with a regalness matching the young Ka... [more]
Posted by Natalie Hegert on 2/21/10
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Peering in at Robert Frank

by Kirsten Bengtson-Lykoudis
When Robert Frank’s controversial book of photographs, The Americans, first came out in the late 1950’s, in France and the US, it was the result of two years of Kerouac-style exploration on the back roads of American life. Fueled by a hefty Guggenheim grant, Swiss-born Frank traveled across the country like his literary counterparts, the Beats, training his camera on what might seem like inconsequential moments in his adopted country – a group of men waiting by their cars at a funeral in the South, a solitary woman laughing rapturously in an open field, a black nanny cradling an alien-like whi... [more]
Posted by Kirsten Bengtson-Lykoudis on 11/1/09
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Revisiting the Maid

by Kirsten Bengtson-Lykoudis
Moving downstairs at the Met, from the Robert Frank exhibition to Vermeer one floor below it, was less jarring than one might expect. Frank’s introspective black and white images gave way to luminous 17th century color oil portraits that looked nearly photographic, bathed in translucent beams of Flemish light. Having spent long hours wandering through the dimly lit Dutch painting section at the Louvre, I arrived with enthused anticipation. Vermeer’s signature work, The Milkmaid, on loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, is flanked by a grid of reproductions of his known 36 works, Vermeers from the Met’s permanent... [more]
Posted by Kirsten Bengtson-Lykoudis on 11/1/09
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An Exhibition of Cosmic Proportion

by John Daquino
Japanese Mandalas: Emanations and Avatars showcases roughly sixty textile paintings, sculptures, drawings, metalwork and other media, that illustrate aspects of Esoteric Buddhism, or MikkyōI as it is called in Japan. This form of Buddhism was introduced to Japan by a monk named Kūkai (774-835), who traveled to China and returned in ad 805 with a deeper understanding of Esoteric Buddhism, bringing back with him visual illustrations of this cosmic order and its associated deities. The most notable graphic brought back by Kūkai was the Mandalas of Both Worlds, two separate concentric diagrams... [more]
Posted by John Daquino on 8/30/09
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More than Beginner’s Luck

by John Daquino
          Michelangelo’s First Painting may be the smallest exhibition held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but what is on view is bringing a very large crowd to this beloved institution. It is the first time that the very first painting of the great Italian Renaissance artist, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (or Michelangelo for short) is on view in America. Bought by the Kimbell Art Museum, located in Forth Worth, Texas, for an undisclosed amount earlier this year, the painting has been in the hands of the Met’s restoration staff and is now making its debut. Due to the current fin... [more]
Posted by John Daquino on 8/30/09
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The Optimist of Nothing

by John Daquino
"Gentlemen, let's broaden our minds" exclaimed The Joker in Tim Burton's 1989 original Batman film, as he and his crew swung open the doors of the Gothem City Art Museum and begun to deface a number of famous works of art. That is, all but one - as The Joker danced about to Prince's song Partyman, he stopped Bob The Goon from slicing up Francis Bacon's Figure With Meat (1954), saying, "I kinda like this one Bob, leave it." Does this mean you have to be a cold hearted, pessimist of human society, Joker-type to appreciate the art of Francis Bacon? Well, the artist once did say that he was "an opti... [more]
Posted by John Daquino on 6/28/09
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Steal This Ad

by John Daquino
  The Pictures Generation, 1974–1984 is the first major museum exhibition to focus on a highly influential group of somewhat affiliated artists that were one of the first generations raised with popular television and an abundance of disposable products. This upbringing, coupled with the rising popularity of M.F.A. academic training that often discussed Barthian post-structuralism, produced a generation of artists wanting to deconstruct visual culture by appropriating its photographic and filmic imagery in order to expose deeper meaning and symbolism. This may sound all-too-ac... [more]
Posted by John Daquino on 6/28/09
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Slow Read

by Keith Miller
With electronic books and iPhones, even the simple use-value of a book made of paper with a cover is called into question. Often the form of the book seems so basic as to obviate any defense over, let’s say, a scroll. But in the small, gemlike show Early Buddhist Manuscript Paintings: The Palm Leaf Tradition, alternate possibilities of physical books is made clear. While there is a definite speed and ease to electronically scrolling down a page, and expediency to flipping through real paper pages, these palm leafs clearly encourage a reader to proceed deliberately and slowly. The format its... [more]
Posted by Keith Miller on 9/7/08
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Dog on a Hot Tin Roof

by Keith Miller
Jeff Koons’ work may make people mad, but it seems to make other people happy. This is apparently for the same reasons. His sculptural works are simple, perfectly crafted exploitations or executions of all that Pop promises, at its most fun and banal. Sacred Heart (Red/Gold) (1994-2007), the twelve foot, heart shaped candy wrapper and the Balloon Dog (Yellow) (1994-2000) seem so resistant to meaning that they can be either playful or idiotic, crass market objects or Oldenburg-inspired toys for kids big and small. On the Met’s roof deck the pristine reflective and tinted stainless steel surfa... [more]
Posted by Keith Miller on 9/7/08
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The Fruits of a Diseased Eye and Reckless Hand

by John Daquino
Joseph Mallord William Turner and Hillary Rodham Clinton have one thing - maybe two - in common; an understanding of the expressiveness of color, particularly orange, and the fact that both, in their respective periods, face(d) mixed reception. What influenced Clinton's choice of orange for her pantsuit ensemble during the Democratic National Convention last week was not far removed from the same Goethean color theory that inspired Turner. And like Clinton, who for this choice became the butt of many late-night talk show jokes, so too did Turner face ridicule.Currently on view at The Metrop... [more]
Posted by John Daquino on 8/31/08