The Met is Open and Its Anniversary Show is Stunning
By Hillary Brown
September 29, 2020
You’ve missed the Met. We’ve missed the Met. Don’t miss this exhibit celebrating the museum’s evolution from 1870 to today.
The entrance to “Making the Met, 1870-2020”.
After nearly six months, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is open and ready (with timed-entry tickets and new safety protocols) to receive the art-starved. As ever, there is so much to see at this storied institution and “Making the Met, 1870-2020” is the perfect welcome back.
Textiles, fashion, and prints from across the centuries create a lively contrast in one of the exhibit’s galleries.
Timed to celebrate the Met’s 150th anniversary and originally set to open in March, this show features more than 250 works and objects from the museum’s collection, much of it unseen for decades. But this isn’t just a sampling from the archives. Arranged in chronological order by date of acquisition (which makes for some very unexpected neighbors), it’s also an introspective history of the museum itself. Alongside masterpieces by Degas, Avedon, Noguchi, and Manet, and statuary, objects, textiles, and musical instruments from around the world, big questions are raised. What kind of place is this? How did all of these things get here? Who defines great art? We learn about the role of gilded age tycoons, controversial excavations, efforts to restitute art looted by the Nazis, and how the museum shifted from an entirely Eurocentric institution to a more global one.
Street Story Quilt by Faith Ringgold, 1985. Cotton canvas, acrylic paint, ink marker, dyed and printed cotton, and sequins, sewn to a cotton flannel backing.
The story mapped from the Met’s earliest acquistions to its most recent offers a fascinating look at the creation and inner workings of one of the world’s preeminent cultural institutions. The story of its transformations, triumphs, and missteps feels timely and generous.
If you can go in person, do. For museum-lovers outside of New York City, the Met has done a brilliant job of curating a huge amount of exhibition content online. You can experience galleries from this show (and others!), behind-the-scenes videos and the show’s audio tour (narrated by none other than Steve Martin) HERE.
Making the Met, 1870-2020 is currently open to visitors and will run through January 3, 2021.