Posted: Thursday, May 15, 2014
As mentioned in a previous post, I conducted two survey trips in preparation for the exhibition Tibet and India: Buddhist Traditions and Transformations (on view through June 8), which focuses on eleventh- and twelfth-century connections and interactions between the Buddhist communities of Tibet and India. My trip to central Tibet in September 2010 allowed me to visit and study many of the extant Buddhist monasteries there, and to survey the wall painting preserved in monastic sacred structures.
Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014
The Costume Institute's 2014 exhibition, Charles James: Beyond Fashion, opens May 8 and offers a comprehensive study of the life and work of legendary Anglo-American couturier Charles James (1906−1978). In the accompanying exhibition catalogue, co-author Jan Glier Reeder—consulting curator in The Costume Institute for the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art—highlights James's virtuosity and inventiveness, as well as his influence on future generations of fashion designers. This publication also includes early photographs and rarely seen archival items, such as muslin study pieces, dress forms, and sketches.
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: 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.
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.
Posted: Monday, December 23, 2013
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.
Posted: Monday, November 18, 2013
Though we tend to associate globalization with the modern, Western-dominated world of capital goods, in reality it began long ago with textiles. The current exhibition Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500–1800 is the first major exhibition to explore this international exchange of design ideas through the medium of textiles.
Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013
The panels on view in the exhibition Feathered Walls: Hangings from Ancient Peru were created by the Wari peoples of southern Peru. Their makers hand-knotted blue and yellow macaw feathers one by one onto cotton and camelid hair using slipped overhand knots. The strings of feathers were then sewn in horizontal rows onto large cotton panels.
Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013
Many questions surround the beautiful feather panels, created between about 600 and 1000 by the Wari peoples of Peru, that are currently on view in the exhibition Feathered Walls: Hangings from Ancient Peru. The simplistic juxtapositions of color and painstaking care put into them tantalize the mind and make one wonder what purpose the panels served.
Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2013
As a preface, I would just like to ask that you not take my excitement about the work above to be some kind of authoritative perspective on it—in other words, that you'll visit the Museum, see this piece and have a great, transcendent epiphany with the swelling baritone of a hallelujah chorus behind you. Perhaps it's just me being overzealous and getting unnecessarily pumped up about something as usual. But, for a second, let's be indulgent and allow me to express how this piece requires you to reconfigure your mind, and just how weird and interesting it is. Let's break it down for a second, shall we?