Sunday, February 19, 2012
A day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
We're in NYC for a couple of days. Today was museum day for us, and after much waffling, we finally chose the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The alternate choice was the Museum of Art and Design, a charmingly funky little museum, and the American Folk Art Museum, where I've never been. I'm sure they would both have been lovely, but still, we made the perfect choice.
First of all, there's the new American Wing, housing an amazing comprehensive collection of iconic works of art beyond my wildest expectations. The collection is extensive but there is nothing frivolous. This new wing is a collection of art worth seeing, and you can spend half a day there without ever exploring any other part of the Met.
Below, paintings by Mary Cassatt, Thomas Hart Benton, and Thomas Eakins
But oh, there's the contemporary galleries, the 20th Century galleries, European galleries, costume galleries, decorative arts, an amazing Egyptian collection including a whole temple plus mummies galore, Greek & Roman art, Islamic art, arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, Asian art, arms and armor, and many, many special exhibitions.
Here's something fun from the contemporary galleries:
Does a trip to the Met sound overwhelming? It can be. This is a HUGE amazing museum. If you go to the Met, go with a plan, and don't expect to see the whole collection. It's impossible to do in one day. Last time we were there, we explored Egypt for 1/2 our visit, so this time we decided to skip it completely. Except we had to go through the Egyptian galleries to get to where we were going, and my husband had to remind me not to stop. So there's no photos here of the mummies or temple or any other Egyptian artifacts.
I explored without photographing rooms full of: Rembrandt paintings, Van Gogh paintings, photographs, caricature art, Renaissance portraiture, and more. And we saw works by Lichtenstein, Oldenburg, Calder, Pollock, and a heap of other of the most well-known artists. We totally skipped most of the antiquities and decorative arts, and I missed seeing the magnificent Tiffany window. But here's a little more of what I did see today:
George Segal's "3 people on a 4 benches" plus a color field piece; above.
Paintings by Stuart Davis and Childe Hassam
I fell in love with this little Picasso, titled Girl Asleep at a Table (above). And below, here's a couple more fun Picasso paintings: Dora Maar in an Armchair, and Man with Lollipop.
Above, a trump l'oeil piece, a painting by Hans Hoffman (who I adored when I was in college), and a beautiful airy Matisse (my hero). And below, a couple of interesting pieces that caught my eye. The one on the left is a wax encaustic with ink.
Each year we visit a different art museum during our NYC visit. Last year it was the (fabulous, wonderful) Brooklyn Museum, which includes a huge Egyptian exhibit, Judy Chicago's "The Dinner Party", and 2 carved heads by my talented grandfather Harry Levine in the Henry Luce Visible Storage Center. The year before was the Guggenheim (not my favorite, but a nice Kandinsky collection), and before that, MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). But I think the Met might outrank them all, not just in sheer volume, but also in the number of iconic pieces, straight out of your art history textbooks. Wow, wow, wow.
I passed this fun purple and red vacuum cleaner, and this funky foam peacock chair, and this "Kongo Power Figure"
If you also have time off this week, I hope you are doing something fun too!