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Now at the Met

What's New: Gallery 351

Yaëlle Biro, Assistant Curator, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Posted: Friday, March 28, 2014

At the entrance to the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, in the gallery devoted to Ethiopian art (Gallery 351), an installation combines historical works from the Museum's collection with a series of related creations by a contemporary artist on loan from a private collection.

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Tapestries Report All the News That's Fit to Weave

Sarah Mallory, Research Assistant, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Before the advent of Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, television, or the daily paper, looking at tapestries was one way to learn about the news of the day, observe fashionable trends in clothing and interior design, and perhaps even make a political statement. Since it is #tapestrytuesday, let's examine how the social medium that is a tapestry just might have been an early form of social media.

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A Change of Scenery: New Drawings and Prints in Cleopatra's Needle

Femke Speelberg, Assistant Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Monday, March 24, 2014

Coinciding with the conservation treatment of the obelisk of Thutmose III in Central Park, the current exhibition Cleopatra's Needle focuses on this important Egyptian icon. Through various works of art from the Museum's encyclopedic collection, as well as some important loans from other institutions and private collectors, the show explores the meanings, functions, and manifestations of obelisks, both in their original context in ancient Egypt and later adaptations in western culture.

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Featured Catalogue: Interview with Curator, Author, and World Book Award Recipient Helen C. Evans

Rachel High, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2014

​Helen C. Evans, Mary and Michael Jaharis Curator of Byzantine Art, traveled to Tehran, Iran, on February 8, 2014, to accept the twenty-first annual World Book Award for her catalogue Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition. The award was presented by the World Book Award Committee of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Ministry of Culture and Religious Guidance.

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Tibetan Buddhist Art in the Twenty-First Century

Kurt Behrendt, Assistant Curator, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A rapidly evolving contemporary art movement has emerged both in Tibet and across the world in conjunction with the Tibetan diaspora, offering a wide range of perspectives on Buddhism and modern Buddhist practice. Two contemporary Tibetan artists currently featured in the exhibition Tibet and India: Buddhist Traditions and Transformations, Tenzing Rigdol and Gonkar Gyatso, both address Buddhist themes, but their intended audiences are global in scope, and their works are primarily vehicles of artistic expression and vision rather than objects of devotion. Nonetheless, merely presenting a Buddha or bodhisattva in a work of art charges it with a certain meaning, regardless of artistic intent. Buddhist ideas, traditional texts, and the current monastic tradition ground these images historically in a religious context, even if a contemporary viewer might not necessarily read them as "Buddhist art."

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A New Web Feature: MetCollects

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Monday, March 10, 2014

I am delighted to announce the launch of the Met's latest web series, MetCollects. This multimedia feature gives you an intimate look at some of the hundreds of works of art that the Met acquires each year. These exciting new additions are introduced by the curators who proposed them for the Met's collection.

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Featured Catalogue—Interview with the Curator: Keith Christiansen

Nadja Hansen, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Piero della Francesca: Personal Encounters, a new catalogue by Keith Christiansen—the John Pope-Hennessy Chairman of the Met's Department of European Paintings—is the first publication to explore the private devotional works of one of the Renaissance's great masters. Published in conjunction with the eponymous exhibition (on view through March 30), the appropriately small book matches the intimate exhibition, which focuses on one of the gems of the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice: Piero della Francesca's Saint Jerome and a Supplicant, a work that has long mesmerized Christiansen, and has never before left Italy. I sat down with him to discuss this work and why he felt compelled to put this show and publication together.

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A Tribute to J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere (1930–2014)

Giulia Paoletti, J. Clawson Mills Fellow, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Posted: Wednesday, March 5, 2014

On February 2, J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, one of the greatest African photographers of the twentieth century, passed away. Over a career that spanned more than fifty years, Ojeikere exhibited internationally in major venues such as the Venice Biennial, Tate Modern, Studio Museum in Harlem, Documenta, and Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, among others. He is represented in some of the most prestigious collections, including the Met's, which includes two photographs from his celebrated Hairstyles series.

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A Look at the Life of Bashford Dean

Donald J. La Rocca, Curator, Department of Arms and Armor

Posted: Tuesday, March 4, 2014

In October 2012, the Department of Arms and Armor marked one hundred years as an independent curatorial department, an event celebrated in the current exhibition Bashford Dean and the Creation of the Arms and Armor Department. Through the closing of the exhibition on October 13, 2014, a series of monthly blog posts will look at different aspects of Bashford Dean's unique and multifaceted career as a scientist, soldier, curator, and collector.

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A Reflection from Davos

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2014

I arrived in Davos this year ready to talk about the critical relevance of culture within the World Economic Forum's annual meetings. But one thing was lingering in my mind and became a critical part of my discussions there. Last November Bill Gates did an interview with the Financial Times newspaper. In it, he said that it was morally questionable to give money to an art museum when there are still diseases that cause blindness in the world. While I greatly admire Mr. Gates's work as a significant philanthropic catalyst, this particular perspective seems limited and counter to the very priorities that he champions in his charitable work.

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In the Footsteps of Buddhist Pilgrims: Sites in North India

Kurt Behrendt, Assistant Curator, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Last year, in preparation for the exhibition Tibet and India: Buddhist Traditions and Transformations (on view through June 8), I traveled to India to see about a dozen major museum collections. (In 2010 I conducted a similar survey in Tibet, which will be the subject of my next post.) While I was in India I also had the opportunity to study many of the major tenth- to twelfth-century Buddhist sites in the northern part of the country—sites made sacred by the actions of the Buddha. I spent most of my time in Bihar, but I also visited Buddhist centers in Odisha on the east coast.

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On the Road with Napoleon's Architect

Perrin Stein, Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2014

Before the ease of cameras and social media, there was still the basic human urge to document our journeys, even if that journey was a work assignment from Napoleon. One exquisite example of such a "carnet de voyage," or travel sketchbook, survives intact from 1811 and was presented to the Museum in 2008 as a gift of the Apollo Circle in honor of Philippe de Montebello.

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Dance Heginbotham and Alarm Will Sound Premiere Site-Specific Fly By Wire at the Met

Meryl Cates, Press Officer, Met Museum Presents

Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Three days into a weeklong series of rehearsals, choreographer John Heginbotham had already created seven minutes of choreography for Fly By Wire, a ten-minute, site-specific performance that will premiere at the Metropolitan Museum on February 20. The piece will be a highlight of the evening-length program Twinned, and will be performed in the Museum's Charles Engelhard Court by his young company, Dance Heginbotham, alongside the Met's artists in residence, Alarm Will Sound. The program features an original score by contemporary composer Tyondai Braxton, as well as music by Aphex Twin and Edgard Varèse.

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Making a Tapestry—How Did They Do That?

Sarah Mallory, Research Assistant, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

You are walking through a museum, your mind lost in thought (your feet perhaps aching ever so slightly), when suddenly you look up and see a fascinating object. You immediately begin trying to identify the specimen set before you: it's a fabric . . . no, it's an embroidery . . . wait . . . it's . . . the wall label says it's a tapestry! A tapestry?

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What Beautiful Dreams Are Made Of

Xin Wang, Research Assistant, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Friday, February 14, 2014

Duan Jianyu's Beautiful Dream series (2008), currently displayed in the exhibition Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China, showcases clichéd renderings of tourist attractions and scenic Chinese landscapes on flattened cardboard boxes. The charming naiveté of the silhouetted forms belies her witty treatment of the banal subjects and materials: soda-can rings reinforce the Great Wall's bulk, and an exposed area of corrugation simulates rippling water, animating an otherwise bland Guilin representation where the distinct Karst mountain forms are typically shown with reflections in the Li River. By playing with these surface particularities, the artist seems to celebrate the cardboard's well-worn materiality rather than merely exploiting its symbolism to critique consumer culture.

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Ten Reasons to Visit Silla: Korea's Golden Kingdom

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

Posted: Friday, February 14, 2014

With just ten days remaining until the special exhibition Silla: Korea's Golden Kingdom closes on February 23, here are our top ten reasons to visit (or revisit) these exquisite treasures.

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Circles of Influence: A Recently Acquired Print

John Byck, Research Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Department of Drawings and Prints houses more than 1.2 million prints, dating from the Middle Ages through the present, and the collection is continually expanding. One recent and interesting addition is a rare print by the fifteenth-century German engraver and goldsmith Israhel van Meckenem depicting six religious scenes in roundels.

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In the Footsteps of the Monuments Men: Traces from the Archives at the Metropolitan Museum

Melissa Bowling, Associate Archivist, Museum Archives; and James Moske, Managing Archivist, Museum Archives

Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014

During the last years of World War II, Allied forces made a concerted effort to protect artworks, archives, and monuments of historical and cultural significance as they advanced across Europe. They also worked, during the war and after the German surrender, to secure artworks looted by the Nazis and restitute them to their rightful owners. Approximately 345 men and women from thirteen nations were charged with this task; most were volunteers in the Monuments, Fine Art, and Archives program, or MFAA, established in late 1943 under the Civil Affairs and Military Government Sections of the Allied armies. Popularly known as "Monuments Men," their ranks included museum curators, art historians, and others trained to identify and care for artworks subject to harsh conditions.

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Modern Technology Meets Ancient Art in Silla: Korea's Golden Kingdom

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

Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014

Do you like the digital media in the exhibition Silla: Korea's Golden Kingdom? Ranging from an eye-catching, wide-screen projection of a majestic burial site to a 3D animation of a famous monument, the technology in the exhibition is there to enhance a visitor's experience of the art on display.

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Spectrum Spotlight: Freyda Spira

Lucy Redoglia, Associate Online Community Producer, Digital Media; and Christopher Gorman, Assistant for Administration, Audience Development

Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Brought to you by the Spectrum group, which encourages post-college audiences to experience the Met in new and unexpected ways, this post is the second installment of our new "Spectrum Spotlight" series—bringing you closer to the Met and introducing some of the staff members that make the Museum such a special place. Look for more posts throughout the year, and, of course, please attend Spectrum events!

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About this Blog

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.