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Modern and Contemporary Art


The Metropolitan Museum has collected and exhibited work by living artists since its founding in 1870. Today, the department's holdings comprise more than twelve thousand works of art across a broad range of media from 1900 to the present.

In Circulation

Art Everywhere: The Met's Little-Known Collection of Advertising Art

Katharine J. Wright, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Research and Collections Specialist Fellow

Posted: Wednesday, November 25, 2015

As a postdoctoral fellow, I have been tasked with researching our Modern and Contemporary Art collection, enhancing our object files, and preparing a wealth of information for publication online. And while this remains an exciting time to be involved in this department—which will soon expand into The Met Breuer and, later, a new wing in the Met's Main Building—I must admit that I believe the Museum's most fascinating and impressive holdings in contemporary art remain hidden in the library stacks.

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Now at the Met

Harley Quinn: A Modern Harlequina

Jane A. Dini, Associate Curator of Paintings and Sculpture, The American Wing

Posted: Friday, October 30, 2015

If you stop by the Met this Halloween, you might happen to see one of our many representations of the character Harlequin (or the female version, Harlequina), a comedic actor in a diamond-patterned costume who derives from the sixteenth-century Italian commedia dell'arte. But if your Halloween plans involve welcoming trick-or-treaters, you're more likely to see Harley Quinn, a modern version of the classic character and a Batman villain in the DC Comics universe—who also happens to be this year's most popular Halloween costume.

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Teen Blog

The Most Polarizing Kind of Art

Peter W., Former High School Intern

Posted: Tuesday, October 27, 2015

This is my first post for the Teen Blog, so I felt that I should write about something iconic, like maybe a Van Gogh, Rembrandt, or Picasso painting. Something that people would read about and think, "Wow! Not only do I want to go to the Met now, but I also want to read more by this Peter W." While I was wandering around looking for an artwork that would inspire debate and comments, I ended up in gallery 915, where I heard a couple arguing about a painting.

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Digital Underground

Experiencing the Met in Social Media

Carlos Kong, Former Social Media Intern, Digital Media Department

Posted: Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Throughout my summer internship in social media as a part of the Met's MuSe Internship Program, I have been fascinated by the interaction between our everyday digital practices and the museum experience. In what ways can social media supplement the Met's physical setting and present the experience of its collection to a global audience? This question guided my journey into the Met's digital world, where I spent the summer experimenting with the inventive potential of technology and how it can recreate a museum visit online. Now a month past the end of my internship—still thinking of social media's unknowable possibilities and still challenged by 140-character limits—here are my reflections on the experience.

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Teen Blog

Becoming Art through Photography

Gwen W., Former High School Intern

Posted: Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Experiencing art in a gallery is like coming out of a subway station in a new neighborhood and trying to navigate the vast unfamiliarity of the cityscape ahead of you. Crisscrossing lines, variegated colors, and the overlapping patterns of light, architecture, and people draw your eye in every direction, creating an overwhelming visual experience. Though neighborhoods each have their own culture and atmosphere, their boundaries melt into each other, asking you to reorient yourself as you meander through them.

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Met Museum Presents Blog

Daring Performances in Iconic Spaces: A 2015 Met Museum Presents Itinerary

Meryl Cates, Press Officer, Met Museum Presents

Posted: Friday, June 12, 2015

Over the course of this past season, live arts at the Met have offered audiences daring and intriguing performances. By staging events right in the galleries and commissioning new works specifically for these powerful and iconic spaces, Met Museum Presents invites audiences to connect and engage with their surroundings and to be active in the performance experience.

While reflecting on this past season, as well as looking ahead to our 2015–16 season, we've assembled this special itinerary to give visitors the opportunity to view the galleries that have inspired memorable performances and have sparked the creativity of some of today's most fearless artists.

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Now at the Met

Spectrum Spotlight: Fatal Attraction

Christopher Gorman, Assistant Administrator, Marketing and External Relations; Chair, Spectrum

Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Douglas Eklund, curator in the Met's Department of Photographs, recently spoke with me about the special exhibition Fatal Attraction: Piotr Uklański Photographs, on view through August 16.​

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Teen Blog

The Rebels in the Met

Brooke, TAG Member

Posted: Friday, January 23, 2015

Every age, and every culture, has its rebels. Often, these rebels are inspired by a societal trauma. The Great War, later known as World War I, polluted the world by fostering a "lost generation." In reflection of this evolution, Sigmund Freud advanced his science of psychoanalysis, challenging the logic of man. Albert Einstein augmented his theory of relativity, questioning the prudence of physics. In art, the rebellion manifested as Cubism.

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In Circulation

Cube Your Enthusiasm: Early Cubist Source Material

Katherine Borkowski, Digital Resources and Instructional Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Have you ever looked at a work of art and thought to yourself, "What was the artist thinking?" How about an entire style or movement? Whether you are looking for theoretical enlightenment, practical guidance, or just a little context, the writings of artists, their supporters, and critics are valuable reference materials in the study of art. As the exhibition Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection nears the end of its run, it seems only fitting to take a moment to look to the Museum's libraries to explore our own collection of source materials regarding early Modern art.

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Now at the Met

Reimagining Modernism—Expanding the Dialogue of Modern Art

Randall Griffey, Associate Curator, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art

Posted: Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Over the course of summer 2014, the Met reinstalled and reopened the enfilade of galleries that showcases modern art from 1900 to 1950. Encompassing approximately 14,500 square feet of gallery space and roughly 250 objects, this project, Reimagining Modernism: 1900–1950, reinterprets and presents afresh the Metropolitan's holdings of modernist paintings, sculpture, design, photography, and works on paper. Organized at the direction of Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, the project integrates European and American modernist collections for the first time in the Museum's history, along with loans in collaboration with the Departments of Photographs, Drawings and Prints, European Paintings, and The American Wing, in addition to loans from private collections.

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