With much anticipation The Met Breuer will open its doors to the public in the former Upper East Side home of the Whitney Museum on March 18th. The landmarked building designed by architect Marcel Breuer in 1966 will provide additional space for the Metropolitan Museum of Art to highlight modern and contemporary art exhibitions that showcase the full-range of the Museum’s collection, as well as new commissions and performances. Yesterday, Untapped Cities got a sneak-peek in the renovated space. Here’s what you will find when you enter The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s expanded space.
The Met Breuer opened for the press on March 1. Above is the new lobby
The newly renovated entry to Met Breuer includes a lobby-studio by resident artist Vijay Iyer. He will be performing live from March 18th to 31st, throughout each day, with solo performances and with other musicians. In between performances, he has created a sound installation titled Fit (The Battle of Jericho) that will activate in between live performances. The lobby level will also include a book bar, with a lower-level restaurant and outdoor garden area.
The work of Naseem Mohamedi on the second floor of the Met Breuer
The second floor features an exhibit showcasing Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990), one of the first Indian artists to embrace abstraction. Her work, along with a display of her diaries, will be on view from March 18th through June 5th, 2016.
Second floor, a maze of rooms separated by movable walls, that guide you through the exhibit
Movable walls, leading in three directions found on the second floor
Diaries of Nasreen Mohamedi, used to record her observations and document her working principles
A second floor open reading room located in a windowed area
The third floor opens to Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible, which examines the question of when a work of art is finished. The exhibition, which examines the term “unfinished,” is composed of over 190 works dating from the Renaissance to present day. Forty percent of the work is drawn from The Met’s own collection. Viewers will see unfinished pieces by Rembrandt, Turner, Cézanne, to name just a few. The works fall into two categories – works of art that were simply unfinished by the artist, and works that were unfinished due to accident or death. Still, the question emerges – when is a work of art finished? Along with that, you may ask, to what extent does an artist have latitude in making this decision?
All eyes on an unfinished Federico Barocci entitled “The Assumption of the Virgin” c.1612
Enter on the third floor, with the exhibit entitled ‘Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible’
El Greco, ‘The Vision of Saint John’ c.1608-14
Alberto Giacometti ‘Annette’ c.1960 on left; Gustav Klimt ‘Posthumous Portrait of Ria Munk III’ c.1917-18 in the back
Continuing with the theme, “unfinished,” the paintings below by Alice Neel reflect the different communities in Manhattan in the 1960s and 1970s, during the Vietnam War. Ms. Neel, who lived and worked in New York at the time, met James Hunter right before he was drafted. She asked him to sit for a portrait, which he did, but he never returned for his second sitting. Ms. Neel declared the work complete – in its unfinished state (shown below).
Alice Neel’s ‘James Hunter Black Draftee’ c. 1965, center
The fourth floor includes unfinished sculpture work in marble, bronze, sand, painted wood,and other materials, again – surrounded by works of art that include Brecht, Lichtenstein, Picasso, Kerry James Marshall, and many others.
Continuing with the theme of ‘unfinished’, a Picasso on view on the third floor
Fourth floor, ‘Definitively Unfinished Sculpture’
Next to one of the few windows, Jean-Michel Basquiat, ‘Piscine Versus the Best Hotels (or Various Loin), 1982. Fourth floor
The artist, Kerry James Marshall, ‘Untitled’ 2009. Mr. Marshall was a speaker at the press conference
Sol LeWitt, ‘Incomplete Open Cubes’ 1974/1982, on the fourth floor
Robert Smithson, ‘Mirrors and Shelly Sand’ 1969-70, Fifty mirrors, back to back along with beach sand, shells, pebbles
George Brecht, ‘Repository’ 1961 at left; Roy Lichtenstein, ‘Bellagio Hotel Mural: Still Life with Reclining Nude (Study), 1997, right
Bruce Nauman, ‘Andrew Head/Andrew Head Reversed, Nose to Nose, 1990
The Swiss artist, Urs Fischer’s cast bronze, oil paint, palladium leaf, clay, chalk gesso, rabbit-skin glue
In a section of its own, on the fourth floor, Cy Twombly’s ‘Untitled 1-v1 (Green Paintings) 1986
The fifth floor will be the home of a Blue Bottle Coffee Bar, and a Phaeton x The Met Bookstore. The inaugural weekend, March 18th to 20th, will be a celebration of the Museum’s three locations. Connecting visitors to the Met Fifth Avenue and Met Breuer is a downloadable, two-part sound walk by composer John Luther Adams, aptly named 9:09, which is the time it will take you to walk the eight-blocks from Met Fifth Avenue to Met Breuer.
Unfinished sculptures, surrounded by paintings by de Kooning, Dumas, Basquiat and many more
Met Breuer has future programming to look forward to this summer and through the fall, including rarely seen early photographs by Diane Arbus, which were taken on the streets of New York City between 1956-62, which is an exhibit scheduled for July. In October, viewers will see a mid-career retrospective of the painter Kerry James Marshall, and newly commissioned architectural photographs of four Marcel Breuer buildings will be on exhibit in November. The Met Breuer will open to the public on March 18, located at 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street.
Read about the secrets of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and discover the wild alternatives designs for the original Whitney Museum. Contact the author at AFineLyne.