Posted: Thursday, February 5, 2015
The Cloisters museum and gardens has many devotees, but I wonder how many of its visitors know about the Glencairn Museum, located in Bryn Athyn, just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Glencairn, like The Cloisters, is home to an excellent collection of medieval art on view in a building inspired by medieval architecture. As a current Met fellow and former Glencairn fellow, I have had ample opportunity to study the histories of these two marvelous collections, both of which took shape during the early twentieth century. Together they constitute an important chapter in the story of collecting medieval art in the United States, and I am continually impressed by the close relationship between them.
Posted: Friday, October 31, 2014
After the exhibition The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925 closed at the Met on April 13, 2014, it traveled to the Denver Art Museum, where it was on view through August 31. While Colorado is located in the heart of the American West, the show's current venue, the Nanjing Museum in China, represents an exciting new frontier for these sculptures. This is certainly not the first exhibition of American art to travel to China, but it is the first focused on bronze statuettes—including forty-four works by twenty-two artists, with the roster of lenders comprising public and private collections in and around New York and Denver. Although fewer objects are included in the Nanjing Museum presentation than in either the New York or Denver venues, the organizing structure remains the same: Old West themes representing American Indians, cowboys and settlers, and animals of the plains and mountains.
Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014
The three-part Gods and Goddesses lecture series, which concluded on September 30, attempted to broadly address the multifaceted deities of the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain religions—faiths that are at the foundation of South Asia's great sculptural tradition. The first lecture began with Buddhism, tracing its image-making tradition that emerged to give manifest form to the Buddha's enlightened relics. Over time it continued to reflect developments within the Buddhist tradition, with the imagery becoming more complex as artists strove to represent subtle aspects of ideology.
Posted: Friday, July 25, 2014
As I travel through the galleries of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, one question always lingers in my mind: If these inanimate objects were able to speak, what would they say? I have taken on the task of "interviewing" three sculptures to break their silence and give us more insight into their lives and stories.
Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014
The mid-nineteenth century was a period of incredible stagnation for French music, especially for those composers working in the vocal arts. Only five new French operas were commissioned by the Opéra Comique in Paris between 1852 and 1870, and France had yet to forge their own style of art song, despite the widespread interest German composers had developed in the musical form earlier in the century. However, the passage of multiple revolutions and failed empires in the mid-nineteenth century gave French artists across all disciplines a spectrum of intense emotions to convey, and the wealth of art song in the country quickly began to accumulate.
Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014
The special exhibition The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925 closed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Sunday, April 13. Nearly one thousand people visited the galleries on the last day, bringing the total number of visitors to over 108,000 people since the exhibition opened on December 18, 2013. For the next few days, we will be working closely with art handlers, registrars, and conservators to see that the sixty-five sculptures and three paintings are safely de-installed and packed for transport, most of them to the exhibition's second venue at the Denver Art Museum, where it will be on view May 11 through August 31, 2014. The post-closing period also involves thanking lenders and sponsors; sorting out research used for the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue; and writing final reports. I look forward to traveling to Nanjing, China, for the September 29 opening of the exhibition at its third venue, the Nanjing Museum, where it will remain on view through January 18, 2015. Meanwhile, back here at the Met, we will be shifting gears from western bronze sculpture to Rediscovering Thomas Hart Benton's America Today Mural, which will open September 30, 2014.
Posted: Wednesday, April 9, 2014
This Sunday, April 13, is the final day to see The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925 at the Met. After the show closes in New York, it will travel to its second venue, opening at the Denver Art Museum on Sunday, May 11. Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountain region, Denver is an opportune setting for an exhibition of western bronzes. The Denver Art Museum is also home to the Petrie Institute of Western American Art, founded in 2001 and dedicated to promoting the significance of the West in American art and culture. Denver thus provides a new geographic and intellectual context for The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925.
Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014
The Cesnola Collection of Cypriot Art: Stone Sculpture (2014) is the first comprehensive publication of 635 stone sculptures in the Met's extensive collection of ancient art from the island of Cyprus. Published online, in a historic first for the Museum, the publication is available to read, download, and search in MetPublications at no cost. A paperbound edition, complete and printed as a 436-page print-on-demand book with 949 full-color illustrations, is also available for purchase and can be ordered on Yale University Press's website.
Posted: Monday, March 31, 2014
On April 22, 1930, Bryant Baker's seventeen-foot bronze statue Pioneer Woman was unveiled in Ponca City, Oklahoma, before a crowd of forty thousand spectators. At the dedication ceremony, patron Ernest W. Marland—oil man, philanthropist, and the tenth governor of Oklahoma—described the commission: "We have erected monuments to our war heroes, to the hearty pioneers who wrested from the wilderness, from the plains and from the desert this nation of ours, but have we preserved the memory of the women…who married their men and set out with them on their conquest of the west, faced with them the months of arduous toil and terrible dangers?…With this monument I hope to preserve for the children of our children the story of our mothers' fight and toil and courage."
Posted: Friday, March 28, 2014
The sculpture Pioneer Woman in the current exhibition The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925 caught my attention because it depicts a woman. Before you roll your eyes and claim that I am stating the obvious, bear with me! The field of American Western art is dominated by renditions of men and animals, so Bryant Baker's sculpture offers a unique approach to capturing the West. The very fact that Pioneer Woman focuses on a pioneer woman makes it noteworthy, but the meaning of the work is more elusive than just its subject matter.