Stories in Features

Precious Punctuation?

Soyoung Lee, Associate Curator, Department of Asian Art; and Denise Patry Leidy, Curator, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Friday, December 27, 2013

Silla: Korea's Golden Kingdom

Dragons? Cashews? Crescent moons? What are those comma-shaped ornaments seen in the exhibition Silla: Korea's Golden Kingdom?

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Installing Ink Art

Mike Hearn, Douglas Dillon Chairman of the Department of Asian Art

Posted: Thursday, December 26, 2013

Installing Ink Art

What does it take to install an exhibition of contemporary Chinese art?

The diversity in scale, media, and format of the seventy-some pieces in Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China have tested the talents and ingenuity of the Museum's incredibly resourceful staff. After a number of advance planning meetings, our installation began in earnest on October 30 in the Early Chinese Buddhist Sculpture Gallery (206)—just off the Great Hall Balcony. There, we planned to display three 16 1/2-foot-tall hanging scrolls from Qiu Zhijie's 30 Letters to Qiu Jiawa, (2009) and the five triptychs of Yang Jiechang's Crying Landscapes (2002). Together, these works would announce to visitors to the Asian Wing that they were entering the world of contemporary China, where old and new often come together.

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Balthus: Cats and Girls—Interview with Curator Sabine Rewald

Nadja Hansen, Former Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Monday, December 23, 2013

Balthus: Cats and Girls Cover

With less than a month left to see the exhibition Balthus: Cats and Girls—Paintings and Provocations at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I sat down with Sabine Rewald—Jacques and Natasha Gelman Curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art,  and author of the accompanying exhibition catalogue—to discuss her many years of fascination with Balthus, as well as her latest research that has brought such a renewed richness to the artist's subjects.

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A Very Burdick Christmas

Freyda Spira, Associate Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints; and Liz Zanis, Collections Management Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2013

Best Wishes for a happy Christmas, early 20th century

Since the establishment of the Print Department in 1916 there has been a clear mission to gather all types of printed material ranging from Rembrandt's magnificent and widely collected etchings to the more ephemeral, which includes, among many others things, American and European trade and calling cards, bookplates, illustrated catalogues, and even greeting cards.

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Spectrum Spotlight: Ian Alteveer

Lucy Redoglia, Former Associate Online Community Producer, Digital Media; and Christopher Gorman, Assistant Administrator, Marketing and External Relations; Chair, Spectrum

Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Refusal of Time, MMA Installation

Perhaps you have attended one of Spectrum's many concerts, panel discussions, trivia nights, or the annual Oktoberfest at The Cloisters museum and gardens. Now the group would like to bring you closer to the Met and introduce some of the staff members that make the Museum such a special place. This post is the first in our "Spectrum Spotlight" series, which will introduce some of the Met's rising stars on the curatorial staff. Look for more installments throughout the year, and, of course, please attend Spectrum events!

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Comparing Pairs

Perrin Stein, Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013

Artists and Amateurs: Etching in Eighteenth-Century France

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a comparison is worth at least two thousand.

The exhibition Artists and Amateurs, Etching in Eighteenth-Century France (on view through January 5) offers many thought-provoking pairings illuminating aspects of artistic process and individual style. An etching, which is printed from ink held in sunken lines on a copper plate, can be reworked between printings, resulting in distinct states. Such is the case with a print depicting soldiers trudging through a bleak landscape, off to join their regiment. An extremely rare first state is etched by the hand of Antoine Watteau, renowned painter of fêtes galantes. His delicate sinuous line imbues his figures with a grace more balletic than warlike.

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A Pensive Treasure

Denise Patry Leidy, Curator, Department of Asian Art; and Soyoung Lee, Associate Curator, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Monday, December 2, 2013

Bodhisattva in pensive pose, National Museum of Korea, National Treasure 83

Last shown in the U.S. in 1981—and now on view in Silla: Korea's Golden Kingdom—this breathtaking gilt-bronze sculpture of a bodhisattva may never be seen in New York again.

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A Neighborhood of Castles in the Sky:
Washington Heights before The Cloisters

Danielle Oteri, Lecturer, The Cloisters museum and gardens; Program Director, International Center of Medieval Art; Curator, Feast on History

Posted: Friday, November 15, 2013

The Cloisters museum and gardens, 1938

Washington Heights—the neighborhood in northern Manhattan that houses The Cloisters museum and gardens—is built upon a series of bluffs and cliffs. Concrete staircases and creaky subway elevators connect different sections of the neighborhood, and buildings stand tall on stilts driven deep into Manhattan schist. From a distance, blocks of apartment buildings appear like castellated European villages. However, despite its once-impenetrable terrain, or maybe because of it, Washington Heights is a place where some of the wildest and most romantic medieval-architecture fantasies in New York City have been realized for over 150 years.

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Featured Catalogue—Interview with the Curator: Mike Hearn

Nadja Hansen, Former Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ink Art Catalogue Cover

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mike Hearn—the Met's Douglas Dillon Curator in Charge of the Department of Asian Art—about his work in authoring the catalogue accompanying the upcoming exhibition Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China, his inspiration for incorporating modern works into his department, and the role of the Chinese artist in today's art world.

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This Weekend in Met History: October 20

Aleksandr Gelfand, Former Intern, Museum Archives

Posted: Friday, October 18, 2013

John Christen Johansen (American, 1876–1964) | Robert W. de Forest | 31.36

One hundred years ago this weekend, on October 20, 1913, Robert W. de Forest was unanimously elected the fifth president of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. De Forest had been involved with the Museum since its inception in 1870 and had served on its Board of Trustees since 1889, first as a Trustee and later as its secretary and vice president.

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Experiencing The Forty Part Motet

Andrew Winslow, Senior Departmental Technician, The Cloisters museum and gardens

Posted: Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Janet Cardiff: The Forty Part Motet

Janet Cardiff's The Forty Part Motet, currently on view through December 8, boasts the distinction of being the first exhibition of contemporary art in the seventy-five-year history of The Cloisters museum and gardens. A sound installation consisting of forty speakers mounted on tall stands and arranged in a large oval, Cardiff's work seems to have found its ideal home in the Fuentidueña Chapel—dominated by the monumental twelfth-century apse brought to The Cloisters from the church of San Martín in Fuentidueña, Spain.

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Introducing Alarm Will Sound

Meryl Cates, Press Officer, Met Museum Presents

Posted: Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Alarm Will Sound

This year's Artist in Residence program brings Alarm Will Sound, one of the most creative ensembles working today, to the Met. Just beyond the cutting edge of music, dance, and theater, this hugely respected and highly accomplished group of performer-composers turns its collective imagination for one year to the Met's permanent collection and galleries.

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Fifty Years of the Met's Bulletin Now Available at MetPublications

Gwen Roginsky, Associate Publisher and General Manager, Editorial Department

Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013

MetPublications Banner

MetPublications is a portal to the Museum's comprehensive book and online publishing program from 1964 to the present, offering free content and information from an encyclopedic collection of publications—including exhibition catalogues, collection catalogues, Museum guides, and educational materials. And now, with the addition of two hundred thirty-five issues of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin spanning the past fifty years, MetPublications currently boasts close to nine hundred titles.

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#AskaCurator Day on Twitter

Taylor Newby, Social Media Manager

Posted: Monday, September 16, 2013

Ian Alteveer

On Wednesday, September 18, join us on Twitter for Ask a Curator Day with Department of Modern and Contemporary Art Associate Curator Ian Alteveer. Ian will answer your questions about his job, the collection, and exhibitions during this live Twitter Q&A.

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Looking to Connect with European Paintings: Visual Approaches for Teaching

Elizabeth Perkins, 2012–2013 Samuel H. Kress Interpretive Fellow

Posted: Friday, September 6, 2013

Looking to Connect with European Paintings

As an art historian, my goal is to offer information and insight. As a teacher, I hope to encourage people to discuss, discover, and explore. Where is the balance between these things in museum teaching and interpretation? When and how is information meaningful? How do we help visitors look closely and relate to what they see? These are some of the questions that guided me during my Kress Interpretive Fellowship at the Met this past year. My main project was a thematic, digital publication focusing on teaching adults in the European Paintings collection. The exciting final result is Looking to Connect with European Paintings: Visual Approaches for Teaching in the Galleries—it has just been released and is available as a free download (PDF) within MetPublications.

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Medieval Drama at The Cloisters

Nancy Wu, Museum Educator, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Play of Herod

Although theatrical plays had been presented at the original Cloisters museum at 699 Fort Washington Avenue until its closing in February 1936, it was not until the performance of The Miracle of Theophilus at The Cloisters' current home in January 1942 that a medieval drama was produced for the first time. Envisioned and organized by the curatorial staff, with a text translated from the original French into English by Curator James Rorimer—later director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art—and costumes designed by Associate Curator Margaret Freeman, the thirteenth-century play was enjoyed by a group of Museum members on the Feast of the Epiphany. Thus began a tradition of medieval theatrical performances at The Cloisters.

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"Round Table Capers": Medieval Festivals in the 1950s

Emma Wegner, Assistant Museum Educator, The Cloisters

Posted: Friday, August 2, 2013

Medieval Festival for Children, 1955

From 1951 to 1957, The Cloisters hosted annual festivals for children of Members. Each of the seven festivals—held in the courtyard and given vibrantly titled themes such as "Round Table Capers" (1954) and "When Knights were Bold" (1955)—was an extravagant affair organized by the staff of the Met's Junior Museum, the precursor to what is now the Education Department. Children enjoyed puppet shows, games, donkey rides, and even trained bears.

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Ideas of Empire: The "Royal Garden" at Pasargadae

Fiona Kidd, Assistant Curator, Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art

Posted: Monday, July 29, 2013

View of the Palace of Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae

I am Cyrus, king of the universe, the great king, the powerful king, king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four quarters of the world.

—The Cyrus Cylinder (Line 20)

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Fun Facts: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide

Nadja Hansen, Former Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide 2013

The Museum's new Guide highlights special works from each of our seventeen curatorial departments. Coming in at four hundred fifty-six pages and featuring almost six hundred works of art, it is the first new Guide to be published about the Museum in twenty-nine years. While reviewing the new publication, I discovered a few fun facts about the works of art from around the globe and across the centuries featured in its pages.

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The Cloisters in Popular Culture:
"Time in This Place Does Not Obey an Order"

Michael Carter, Librarian, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Posted: Monday, July 22, 2013

Joseph Cotton and Lillian Gish pose in the Cloister from Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa (25.120.398–.954) during the filming of Portrait of Jennie in 1947.

For the past seventy-five years, The Cloisters has provided visitors with more than just a chance to view an exceptional collection of medieval art and architecture. In tourist guides and travel reviews, a trip to The Cloisters is commonly described as a way to be transported to the Middle Ages or—for locals seeking a "staycation"—a chance to get out of New York without leaving the city. The powerful effect of the place has clearly been noticed by screenwriters, novelists, and even comicbook authors, who have set a fair number of fictional works here over the years.

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Now at the Met offers in-depth articles and multimedia features about the Museum's current exhibitions, events, research, announcements, behind-the-scenes activities, and more.