The art world is always changing, and having works by old masters hanging next to modern artists just doesn’t work. So the Metropolitan Museum of Art has decided to expand, opening a new offshoot called the Met Breuer that aims to be New York’s most modern art museum.
Named for the architect who designed the landmarked building, the Met Breuer (pronounced broy-er) on Madison Avenue and 75th Street will present 20th century and contemporary art, interspersed with occasional works from The Met to provide context. Add in a wide-ranging and innovative live arts program, and you’ve got the city’s most of-the-moment museum yet.
Figurative sculpture is historically understood in the form of statuary raised on pedestals—unmoving and unchanging in its physical presence. By contrast, artificial figures with movable limbs that simulate the body’s flexibility and dynamism are usually seen in functional terms. Culturally, the utility of such proxy figures has overshadowed their aesthetic appreciation, and they are rarely considered alongside the sculpture seen in galleries and museums. See models, proxy figures, mannequins, and other sculptural representations of the human form in “Like Life” through July 22. #MetLikeLife #MetBreuer
In an opening exhibit that mixes classical and modern art, the Met Breuer is peering inside the creative process with Unfinished: Thoughts Left Invisible, which tackles the question of when a work of art is complete. Using 197 works spanning the Renaissance to the present, it finds cases of abandonment, interruption, or simply finished but not in a traditional sense.
Just as GIFs and videos are displacing traditional photos as a way to depict life, the Met Breuer is filling its halls with dynamic art as much as the works on its walls. Performances, films, music and other contemporary arts will expand the Met’s MetLiveArts program, including making its third opening “exhibit” a residency by Grammy-nominated composer and pianist Vijay Iyer, who will stage “marathon performances” solo and with other artists. Coming up are a film series curated by Thomas Beard of Brooklyn’s electronic art venue Light Industry, and the programming even spills over into Carnegie Hall.
The Met Breuer also aims to give a wider view of the world than classical art tends to allow. The museum is giving India’s Nasreen Mohamedi her first retrospective in the U.S. Though fairly little known outside her country, Mohamedi was one of its most vital artists to emerge post-independence in 1947 for her modernist line drawings that create entire worlds in angles and spaces.