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“I went to music school for piano, and one of the most important things I learned in school was: it's not really about what you play; it's more about what you don't play.”
Online marketing coordinator Alex Hills considers purpose behind the object to be the most important element to art.
“I'm not afraid to tell you that I had a science chemistry box and made all kinds of stinking and staining and corrosive mixtures.”
Scientist Marco Leona revels in the role of magic in the creation of art.
“Not every work that gives you pleasure is necessarily major or important.”
“My father hated talking in the museum. He liked people to just shut up and look at the art. And we would stand there, silently.”
Textiles conservator Cristina Carr observes the minute details that fill works of art with a whole new life.
“If somebody hands me something that I need to sign and hands me a ballpoint pen, I will reject it.”
Researcher of Medieval manuscripts Wendy Stein discusses her fascination with writing and its history.
“I was raised Catholic, so my line comes with your seven deadly sins.”
“She makes it look so easy and she's never punishing the Christ child, or giving him a time-out.”
Lecturer Jean Sorabella finds inspiration in the idealized depictions of mothers.
“I can't imagine that there is anything made in the east that I would dislike as much as I dislike Courbet, whom I know and have detested for decades.”
Intern Diana Greenwald and curator of drawings and prints George Goldner discuss where taste comes into play with Museum acquisitions.
“Everyone I know is somewhat obsessed with their hair.”
“We live in a world of half-completed things or damaged objects, but I had never articulated to myself that in fact there were times quite often that I preferred the objects that way.”
Islamic art curator Navina Haidar extols the implications and aesthetics of the broken or incomplete.
“I recited the names and there was this intake of air. They were totally riveted by this.”
“There's something at stake when you are contemplating or wondering or worrying. You're trying to figure out just what it is that's important to you.”
“Diminutive, tiny things have always been much more appealing to me than large-scale things that everyone is meant to see.”
Associate director Carrie Rebora Barratt looks for tiny works of art in the Museum's collection.
“There's always this storytelling that goes on in my family that creates this eternal life for my ancestors. They were a force in my mind that was equally as important as any god.”
Photographer and imaging specialist Jackie Neale Chadwick reflects upon the impact of her family's history on her relationship with art.
“...another world, far more elemental...”
Islamic art curator Navina Haidar contemplates the power of objects that are darkly energetic.
“One of the questions that doesn't seem to let me go is whether war is some kind of human condition.”
Curator of arms and armor Dirk Breiding contemplates the duality of war and the role of art which represents conflict.
“I always think about the scribe, and I wonder, as they drew each note, if they were singing along.”
“You have to get as close as you can. I get quite close and actually have to take my glasses off to see the incredible detail.”
Security officer Jack Laughner on lessons learned from great artists in the Met’s galleries.
“I like that moment in the movies when the screen goes black and you’re suspended between the world of film and the reality that’s going to return when the lights go up.”
Senior advisor to the Director Chris Coulson looks for poetic endings in the Museum’s collection.
“I look at works and I wonder, 'What was your day like? Who are you?'”
Art preparator Theresa King-Dickinson ruminates on the universal privilege of art appreciation.
“I think every birder has a secret fantasy of finding some lost or extinct species in his or her backyard. I'm certainly no different.”
Publications editor Dale Tucker attempts to identify the many species of birds depicted throughout the Met's collection.
“My children would say, 'Oh, look, Dad, it's God!'”
“It's wonderful where the door isn't just something that leads you between places, but is something unto itself.”
Exhibition designer Dan Kershaw talks about doors and the unexpected juxtapositions they create in the Museum.
“I don't know who the mosquito deity was, but I would make offerings to him or her to protect me from bites.”
Educator Edie Watts highlights the subtle and surprising instances where bugs are depicted throughout works in the Met's collection.
“Sometimes it's easier to come to an object from the outside in.”
Director Thomas P. Campbell muses on the edges of works of art.
“It was obvious that this was going to be the last out, the game would be over, the World Series would be over, the Red Sox would win the championship.”
Librarian Dan Lipcan shows that even at the Met, a sports fan has his place.
“As we live today we constantly throw things away, so it is even more astonishing that things survive.”
Curator of Egyptian art Dorothea Arnold marvels at the survival and preservation of cultural artifacts in today's culture of obsolesence.
“All of a sudden it all came together. There was no acting. There was no theatre. There was frighteningly real, raw emotion.”
Human resources manager Irina Shifrin on some of her favorite moments in opera.
“I may get in trouble someday for using these images, but as of now, I just kind of go for it. It's caution to the wind.”
Stage manager Mikel Frank on the transcending and transformative nature of collage.
“I feel strongly rooted to my region. I know the land and I know the people.”
“Right now I have a crush on a sixteenth-century Italian painting that has a gigantic laurel tree.”
Curator of nineteenth-century painting Rebecca Rabinow finds a way to get a taste of the outdoors inside the galleries.
“He could be a movie star. He could be a statesman. He could be your father.”
Curator of prints Nadine Orenstein looks for the ideal man in art, from ancient Rome to Hollywood.
“Sometimes it just takes a little bit of a sparkle of gold or a little bit of silver to kind of reveal that once this was golden.”
Armorer Hermes Knauer reminisces about some of the beautiful objects he has rescued and on the spirituality of craftsmanship.
“I'm a little obsessed with smoke at the moment, being an ex-smoker who has tried many times to quit.”
“Because it's so difficult to approach any kind of godhead directly, you need somebody to help you.”
Curator of Egyptian art Marsha Hill on art as a gatekeeper to the world of belief.
“When I came to New York, for the first year it was pretty rough. I felt like the city was beating me up on a daily basis.”
Curator of drawings and prints Cora Michael on the many avenues of escape to be found within the Met.
“I was born in Cuba, so I was bombarded by propaganda posters and photographs. Everywhere you'd go there would be posters of heroic people.”
Security manager Jose Rivero contemplates the different types of hero archetypes, from comic book super heroes to religious figures.
“The concept that black is the absence of color is an idea that I've struggled with, because when I think of black, I think of power and warmth and strength.”
Educator Aimee Dixon on the depth of meaning found in the color black.
“My family wore western clothes, but we didn't actually quite fit in.”
“I think it's going to be many years before there's a formal portrait where the sitter is clutching his or her Kindle or iPad.”
“I wrote a blog called 'The Met Everyday,' and it was based on the premise that I could come to the Museum every day and learn something new.”
Imaging coordinator Lucy Redoglia focuses on the celebrations of everyday life throughout history.
“But at the same time I'm fascinated and really kind of turned on by rugged, dirty hands that show this is a person that works.”
Educator Alice Schwarz ruminates about how one's hands give away information about a person.
“I had a highly unconventional upbringing.”
Curator of Africa art Alisa LaGamma reflects upon her personal connection to Africa.
“I think that even within certain guidelines there are little moments of personal freedom.”
“The parenting skills of the gods sound like they were pretty nonexistent.”
Associate publisher Gwen Roginsky and her teenage daughter Ana Sofia Meneses relish the drama of the dysfunctional family that is the Olympians.
“Not only do I feel bad about having deserted my parents, but how am I going to feel when that happens to me?”
Ancient Near Eastern Art departmental administrator and gallery supervisor Tim Healing looks at art filtered through the lens of fatherhood.
“The eye has an importance in my culture. The evil eye.”
Islamic art curator Deniz Beyazit on eyes and how they can talk without words.
“Some of the sculptures and some of the reliefs, they just jump when they get that early morning light.”
Photographer Bruce Schwarz talks about light and the heavenly effect it can have on works of art.
“It would swallow me up, but I have this vision of myself putting it on like a cloak, and being draped in it. It has that textural association.”
Departmental administrator Nykia Omphroy talks about her favorite textures from the Met's collection.
“There's something very zen about looking at trees, even though when I was younger I probably didn't know what that meant.”
Curator of European sculpture and decorative arts Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide muses on the relationship she has with trees.
“I like to think that they're looking at me. They're actually looking at themselves.”
Associate director Carrie Rebora Barratt on the unique aspects of self-portraiture.
“It was endlessly exciting to see what would happen when the kiln door was finally opened.”
“It is our job to present works of art with fidelity to the purpose and historical context and aesthetic context in which they were made.”
Curator of medieval art Melanie Holcomb and curator of drawings and prints George Goldner discuss the Museum's responsibilities when showing religious art.
“And I've realized, as a tooth-smiler, I'm violating every rule of decorum, at least through the nineteenth century.”
Art historian Kathy Galitz on the meaning behind the smile.
“It's like a facedown. Take a fifty-six-foot column, put me in front of it, and ask me to move it.”
“It's about reaching beyond where you are.”
“I approach Madame X and I say, 'Sister, I know that nose.'”
Creative producer Masha Turchinsky on prominent noses in the Met's collection.
“It was a completely inner experience for me, as if I had been enclosed in one of those great hoods, completely wrapped in my own grief.”
“We don't let people touch for good reason, but it fascinates me what that means.”
Curator of European sculpture and decorative arts Ian Wardropper on the profound relationship between touch and sculpture.
“Paintings conservator George Bisacca contemplates the little details that create a feeling of familiarity in a work of art.”
Paintings conservator George Bisacca contemplates the little details that create a feeling of familiarity in a work of art.
“I was five or six when I was first on stage. The nerves outweighed the applause.”
Audio and multimedia producer Sofie Andersen on motion's expressive and narrative nature.
“It's risky to judge a medieval or early Renaissance family by modern psychotherapeutic standards, but they seem to me to have been extremely dysfunctional.”
Publications production manager Peter Anthony revels in the drama running throughout the history of the Tudors.
“I can't explain why unicorns aren't chic, but they're just not.”
Curator of modern art Jared Goss helps find the chic and non-chic in art history.
“Very early on, I had a teacher who told me that if you are ever bored in a city, you are boring.”
Departmental administrator Ryan Wong talks about the ties he perceives between city-life and artistic practice.
“I'm a little bit of a mutt snob.”
Associate director Jennifer Russell loves mutts, but is a little tentative to embrace purebred dogs.
“Images draw us in, in a way that sort of shuts everything else out.”
Researcher Jennifer Meagher speaks about finding moments of quiet throughout the Museum.
“It's what I see first and how I begin to understand almost everything I see.”
Curator of Asian art Denise Leidy uses gesture as the key to unlocking narratives in works of art.
“There is a kind of secrecy about letter writing. You're writing a story to a certain person, and you don't necessarily want to share it with someone else.”
Associate administrator for the director Ashley Williams on the lost art of letter writing.
“I'm in a moment in my life where things are rather unstable.”
“I can scan the subway car and know who is thinking about their emotional present tense, and who is distracted.”
Photographs curator Jeff Rosenheim contemplates interiority in art.
“It's like a virtuoso musical performance where the ability to throw in that extra at the right moment turns the painting into poetry.”
Paintings conservator Michael Gallagher talks about the appeal of technical virtuosity.
“I always smile because she's everything that I probably think is wrong about myself and there she is being worshipped.”
American decorative arts curator Amelia Peck relates to depictions of anonymous everyday women throughout history.
“If the horse is sick, you do something. If the horse is hungry, you do something. There is this matter-of-factness to daily life.”
“I feel these two art forms have been inextricably linked for as long as they've both been in existence. They inspire one another.”
Website editor Jennette Mullaney reflects upon the intermingling of poetry and art.
“I first became interested in Abraham Lincoln by accident.”
Senior vice president Harold Holzer reflects upon works dating from the tumultuous period in American history of Abraham Lincoln.
“I believe that I open the eyes of the people I teach, but I believe they open my eyes, as well.”
Lecturer Rika Burnham talks about surprising insights that pop up when she has a conversation about a work of art.
“You're wrapped up with tons of people, pushing and shoving, excited, exuberant, everyone going together for this experience.”
“I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee which is on one side of the Mississippi. Johnny Cash was on the other side of the Mississippi.”
“Ever since I was young, manners have been beaten into me. I listened for years and years to my grandmother telling me to hold the door open.”
Curator of American sculpture Thayer Tolles contemplates art created out of gratitude.
“People in Holland will do a double take when I speak to them: 'Hmm, you're not from around here, are you?'”
Managing editor Merantine Hens talks about being Dutch and quintessentially Dutch qualities and quirks.
“Whenever I look at The Harvesters, it grabs me. And it's that emotion that my grandfather was talking about.”
Curator of Greek and Roman art Seán Hemingway speaks about his grandfather Ernest Hemingway's favorite works of art.
“There's that sense of ambiguity which is so appealing to some people and perhaps what's frustrating about abstract art to others.”
Curator of Korean art Soyoung Lee reflects on the appeal of abstraction, found everywhere from her childrens' artwork to that of modern masters.
“I remember the first time that I walked my very first adopted greyhound, Elliot, on Fifth Avenue. A woman in a very extravagant fur coat came up and said, 'What a beautiful dog. So thin, so elegant.'”
Nineteenth-century, modern, and contemporary art curator Gary Tinterow describes the joys of being a long-term greyhound owner.
“Most people think of Rome, think of Florence, think of Venice, but as far as I'm concerned they are amusement parks for tourists. Genoa has remained the real thing.”
European paintings curator Xavier Salomon on the impact of Genoa on the world.
“I can spend hours looking at the ocean and watching it as it changes, but I don't like being on it or in it.”
Volunteer Lyn Younes reflects on how water makes her feel at home wherever she happens to be.
“The antidote after a challenging day is to go through empty galleries.”
“Was I a quiltmaker and then I loved the grids? Or did I love the grids and become a quiltmaker? And I think the answer is yes.”
Archivist and media tech Robin Schwalb finds, as a quiltmaker, the rigorous limitations of grids liberating.
“It's like the Byzantine bling of the present day.”
Department administrator Debbie Kuo, jewelry designer, talks about her favorite pieces of jewelry from the Met's collection.
“It's about the beauty of the flesh and the potential for life. ”
“You get to learn a lot about how people think without the regular formulaic, ‘What do you do and how big is your family?’”
Editorial assistant Nadja Hansen expounds on why the Met is a great place for a date.
“Within an hour of my life as a dance student, I found myself in this very intimate embrace with a room full of strangers.”
“You let your guard or your mask down depending on the company you're in. It allows a freedom.”
African art curator Yaëlle Biro and arms and armor curator Dirk Breiding discuss the ways in which masks empower their wearers.
“New York has its own crocodilian mythology. They were supposed to lose all the pigmentation in their skin and become essentially albino crocodiles, ten feet long, surviving on rats, garbage, and the occasional sewer worker.”
Oceanic art curator Eric Kjellgren dissects the myths and urban legends associated with the crocodile throughout the ages.
“Sometimes my ideal woman is the woman you don't actually see.”
Educator Joseph Loh looks for the ideal woman throughout the Museum's collection, from Queen Victoria to Madame X.
“Anytime that I feel a little bit nostalgic about Spain, all I have to do is walk around the galleries.”
Educator Inés Powell finds a taste of her homeland, Spain, in the Met.
“In a way, columns serve for me like the DNA of a person. They are clues for me.”
Educator Nancy Wu has a personal connection with columns after spending years studying a Gothic cathedral.
“I think even when it comes to pure abstraction I look at art and I see fashion. It's just a way into art.”
Fashion and costume curator Andrew Bolton talks about the many meanings of the color white.
“There are a lot of reminders of my childhood state as I go through the Museum.”
Video producer Christopher Noey talks about his childhood state of Tennessee and the unusual places it pops up in the Museum.
“I wonder why it is that we love maps so much. I think in part it has to do with the fact that it allows us to be God for a minute.”
Medieval art curator Melanie Holcomb talks about how maps help her make sense of the world.
“We started finding out more about the United States and the song 'Georgia on My Mind' by Ray Charles. We loved it. I thought he was singing about us.”
Volunteer Mariam Otkhmezuri ruminates on the legacy of her homeland, Georgia.