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Rarely Seen “Extra Small” Modern and Contemporary Works at Metropolitan Museum featured in XS
Through April 15, 2012

Installation Location: Lila Acheson Wallace Wing, North Mezzanine Gallery

More than 50 works of art of diminutive size by 30 American and European artists working in a variety of media and techniques comprise the installation XS at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. With a title borrowed from the XS size label (for ‘extra small’) found in women’s garments, the installation includes rarely displayed works from the Museum’s collection that are usually kept in storage due to their tiny size. The installation, which challenges the adage “bigger is better,” is on view in the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing through April 15, 2012.

Featured in XS are works that span the years 1890 to 2010. While many of the artists represented usually worked in a larger format, they also created versions of their landscapes, portraits, interiors, nudes and abstractions on a significantly smaller scale. The installation opens with three miniature works in watercolor by Paul Klee (1914-1917), progressing to a river landscape by Piet Mondrian in black chalk, to Marguerite (1916), an oil on wood portrait by Henri Matisse. Additional highlights of the installation include a drawing of Man Walking (1951) by Alberto Giacometti and two portraits by Pablo Picasso—one a self-portrait entitled Yo (1900), and the other a very detailed ink and wax crayon sketch, Seated Figure (1902). The installation moves into illustrated notes, including a hand-drawn dinner invitation by David Hockney, Menu for Dinner in Honor of Henry Geldzahler (1978). The small format challenges the depth of detail an artist can achieve, a challenge met by Amy Bennett with two paintings, Diagnosis (2010) and Hypochondriac (2010). To demonstrate fully the contrast in size, a small-scale version of Mao (1973) by Andy Warhol is hung just a few steps from the artist’s larger-than-life version of the same subject in the adjacent gallery.

This installation was organized by Sabine Rewald, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Curator for Modern and Contemporary Art.

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March 7, 2012

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