NEW EXHIBITIONS AT THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART

Janet Cardiff:  The Forty Part Motet

September 10–December 8, 2013

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of The Cloisters Museum and Gardens, The Forty Part Motet (2001)—a sound installation by Janet Cardiff (Canadian, born 1957)—will be presented at The Cloisters. Consisting of 40 high-fidelity speakers positioned on stands throughout the Fuentidueña Chapel, the 14-minute work, with a three-minute spoken prologue, will continuously play an 11-minute reworking of the 40-part motet Spem in alium numquam habui (ca. 1556?/1573?) by Tudor composer Thomas Tallis (ca. 1505-1585). Visitors are encouraged to walk among the loudspeakers and hear the individual unaccompanied voices – bass, baritone, alto, tenor, and child soprano—one part per speaker—as well as engage in the polyphonic choral effect of the combined singers in an immersive experience. Dominated by a 12th-century Spanish apse, the Fuentidueña Chapel is used regularly for live concerts of early music and is known for outstanding acoustics. The installation represents the first presentation of contemporary art at The Cloisters. The installation is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art from the collection of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Support for the project is provided in part by Sarah Peter and Rosamond Ivey.

Interwoven Globe:  The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800

September 16, 2013–January 5, 2014

Beginning in the 16th century, the golden age of European maritime navigation in search of spice routes to the East brought about the flowering of an abundant textile trade. Textiles often acted as direct currency for spices, as well as other luxury goods. Textiles and textile designs made their way around the globe, from India and Asia to Europe, between India and Asia and Southeast Asia from Europe to the east, and eventually west to the American colonies. Blending the traditional designs, skills, and tastes of all the cultures that produced or purchased them, these beautiful and historically fascinating fabrics also served as conduits of information, sparking ideas of imagined exotic lands and peoples in both East and West. The exhibition will include works from across the Museum’s collection—augmented by a few key domestic and international loans—in order to make worldwide visual connections, and to highlight an important design story that has never been told from a truly global perspective.

The exhibition is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Diane W. and James E. Burke Fund, The Coby Foundation, Ltd., The Favrot Fund, the Gail and Parker Gilbert Fund, and the Quinque Foundation. Accompanied by a catalogue.

Feathered Walls: Hangings from Ancient Peru

September 16, 2013–March 2, 2014

Ten spectacular feather panels—probably hangings— made by the Wari peoples of southern Peru between about 700 and 1000 comprise this installation. Made of finely woven cotton cloth and measuring about seven by two feet on average, the panels are completely covered with the small iridescent body feathers of the blue and yellow macaw in an arresting design of large rectangles. They rank among the most luxurious and unusual works created by textile artists in Peru prior to the Spanish conquest in 1532.

The exhibition is made possible by the Friends of the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.

Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim

September 17, 2013–January 5, 2014

Hildesheim Cathedral has one of the most complete surviving ensembles of church furnishings and treasures in Europe, with many masterpieces made between 1000 and 1250. As a result, it was designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1985. A major renovation of the cathedral provides an opportunity for this extraordinary exhibition of medieval church treasures to take place at the Metropolitan Museum. The exhibition, consisting of about 50 works, will focus primarily on Bishop Bernward of Hildesheim (960-1022), one of the greatest patrons of the arts in the Middle Ages. In addition to the famous monumental bronze doors and the column in Hildesheim Cathedral that cannot travel, Bernward commissioned many smaller precious works of art, mostly for his monastic foundation St. Michael’s. A silver crucifix and candlesticks and numerous illuminated manuscripts (that he is known to have commissioned), and the Golden Madonna (that he is believed to have commissioned), will be part of the exhibition.

The exhibition will also examine the artistic production of Hildesheim in the high Middle Ages, including the monumental bronze baptismal font that is a masterpiece of 13th-century metalwork. The exhibition is made possible by the Michel David-Weill Fund. It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Accompanied by a publication.

Balthus: Cats and Girls—Paintings and Provocations

September 25, 2013–January 12, 2014

Balthus is best known for his series of pensive adolescents who dream or read in rooms that are closed to the outside world. Focusing on his finest works, the exhibition will be limited to approximately 35 paintings dating from the mid-1930s to the 1950s. Between 1936 and 1939, Balthus painted his celebrated series of portraits of Thérèse Blanchard, his young neighbor in Paris. Thérèse posed alone, with her cat, or with her two brothers. When Balthus lived in Switzerland during WWII, he replaced the forbidding austerity of his Paris studio with more colorful interiors in which different nymphets daydream, read, or nap. The exhibition concludes with images that he created of Frédérique Tison, his favorite model, at the Château de Chassy in the Morvan during the 1950s.  Never before shown in public will be the series of 40 small ink drawings for Mitsou, in which the 11-year-old Balthus evoked his adventures with a stray tomcat and which were published by the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke in 1921. This is the first exhibition in 30 years of the artist’s works in this country. Four works belong to the Museum’s collection and—with the exception of several loans from France, England, Switzerland, and Australia—the rest will be from museums and private collections in the United States.

The exhibition is made possible by the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust, the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, and Diane Carol Brandt. Accompanied by a publication.

Artists and Amateurs: Etching in Eighteenth-Century France 

October 1, 2013–January 5, 2014

Over the course of the 18th century, a large number of artists—painters, sculptors, draftsmen, and amateurs—experimented with etching, a highly accessible printmaking technique akin to drawing. Some, like Antoine Watteau and François Boucher, encountered the process within the thriving commerce of the Paris print market. Others, like Jean-Honoré Fragonard and Hubert Robert, were introduced to the technique during their student years in Rome. Over the course of the century, the free and improvisational aesthetic of the etching process increasingly was embraced, and French artists looked to 17th-century masters, such as Rembrandt in the north, and Salvator Rosa and Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione to the south, for inspiration. The expressive potential of the technique was also explored in a more experimental manner by artists like Gabriel de Saint-Aubin and Louis Jean Desprez, who harnessed the inky tonalities of the medium to their personal and idiosyncratic vision. The exhibition will include loans from North American museums and private collections.

The exhibition is made possible by The Schiff Foundation. Accompanied by a catalogue.

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Vision: In Pursuit of the Best in the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

October 8, 2013–October 5, 2014

The Museum’s Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and  the Americas (AAOA) celebrates the genesis of its permanent collection with this exhibition. It is organized to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of The Museum of Primitive Art, the direct precursor to AAOA. The Museum of Primitive Art was a pioneering cultural institution that featured Nelson Rockefeller’s non-Western art collection. The announcement by Rockefeller of an agreement to transfer his collection to the Metropolitan was made in 1969 and in January 1982 the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing opened to the public. The exhibition highlights some 50 masterpieces and many unpublished documents selected from the more than 3,000 Rockefeller gifts encompassing three areas—Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; it will reveal Mr. Rockefeller’s vision for The Museum of Primitive Art, the first institution dedicated entirely to the artistic excellence of the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.

The exhibition is made possible by the Friends of the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.

Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom

November 4, 2013–February 23, 2014

Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom will be dedicated to the magnificent art created between 400 and 800 A.D., the seminal era of the Silla Kingdom.  Co-organized with the National Museum of Korea, Seoul, and Gyeongju National Museum, and drawn primarily from the holdings of these institutions, this exhibition will introduce audiences to the remarkable artistic achievements of a small kingdom that rose to prominence, embraced cosmopolitanism, and gained control of the entire Korean peninsula.  Many of the works on display are designated “National Treasures” or “Treasures” with few parallel examples in Western museums. Highlights include spectacular gold crowns and regalia, rare objects from Central and West Asia, and Buddhist sculptures and reliquaries.

The exhibition is made possible by Samsung.

Additional support is provided by the Korea Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

It was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of Korea, and Gyeongju National Museum, Korea. Accompanied by a catalogue.

Venetian Glass by Carlo Scarpa: The Venini Company, 1932-1947

November 5, 2013–March 2, 2014

The exhibition is devoted to the work in glass of the influential Italian architect Carlo Scarpa (1906–1978). Known primarily for his unique architectural designs, Scarpa’s abilities can be traced to an earlier stage in his career. In 1932 Scarpa was hired by Paolo Venini, founder of Venini Glassworks, to be an artistic consultant to the company. Until 1947, he worked closely with Venini master glass blowers and Mr. Venini himself to create over two dozen styles, in the process pioneering techniques, silhouettes, and colors that thoroughly modernized the ancient tradition of glass blowing. The exhibition will present the results of this unique collaboration, featuring nearly 300 carefully selected works that highlight the significant contribution that Scarpa made to the art of Venetian glass.

The exhibition is made possible in part by the Jane and Robert Carroll Fund. Accompanied by a catalogue.

Jewels by JAR        

November 20, 2013–March 9, 2014

This exhibition will feature more than 300 works by one of the most acclaimed jewelry designers of the last 35 years, Joel A. Rosenthal, who works in Paris under the name JAR. The exhibition will be the first retrospective of his work in America.  Rosenthal was born in New York, educated at Harvard University, and moved to Paris immediately after his graduation in 1966.  It was there that he began to experiment with jewelry making and quickly became well-known for his designs of vibrant colors and organic shapes.  Very early, Rosenthal revealed his special sensitivity to color, whether in the hue of an exotic violet sapphire, the shimmer of topaz and ruby, or the simple clarity of a perfect diamond.  He has focused on the pavé technique and most often uses a dark metal alloy for the settings to highlight the gem color.

The exhibition is made possible by Phaidon Press Limited, Nancy and Howard Marks, The Ronald and Jo Carole Lauder Foundation, and Mr. and Mrs. George S. Livanos. Accompanied by a catalogue.

Cleopatra’s Needle

December 3, 2013–June 8, 2014

The exhibition will celebrate the completion of an extensive program by the Central Park Conservancy to conserve the obelisk of Thutmose III, popularly known as “Cleopatra’s Needle.” Relying primarily on the Metropolitan’s own collection enhanced with several important loans from local museums and private lenders, the exhibition will explore the meaning of obelisks in ancient Egyptian divine and funerary cults and will consider how these massive monuments were created and erected. An equally important part of the presentation will show the importance of this ancient architectural form in western culture and how a long-standing fascination with obelisks ultimately led to the erection of the one in Central Park. This portion of the exhibition will be illustrated through a selection of paintings, prints, textiles, and other objects from the departments of European Paintings, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, Drawings and Prints, and the American Wing.

Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China

December 11, 2013–April 6, 2014

The exhibition will present 50-60 works by more than 30 contemporary artists active in China and abroad during the past three decades. Organized into three thematic groupings—the written word, new landscapes, and abstraction—the exhibition will demonstrate that China’s ancient cultural pattern of seeking renewal through the reinterpretation of past models remains a viable creative path. Much more than a continuation of earlier art forms, this process embraces radical abstractions, subversions, or reinterpretations of traditional idioms as viable ways to define artistic identity that are quintessentially Chinese. Although the artists considered have all transformed their sources through new modes of expression, one may recognize thematic, aesthetic, or technical attributes in their creations that have meaningful links to China’s artistic past.

Accompanied by a catalogue.

The American West in Bronze, 1850-1925

December 18, 2013–April 13, 2014

This exhibition of 65 bronze sculptures by 28 artists will be the first to examine broadly sculpture’s role in the socio-cultural transformation of the American West between the years 1850 and 1925. Representations of American Indians, cowboys and cavalry, pioneers and prospectors, and animals of the plains and mountains served as visual metaphors for the Old West and, as such, were collected eagerly by an urban clientele. The exhibition will explore the aesthetic and cultural impulses behind the creation of statuettes with American western themes based on historical fact, mythologized fiction, or, most often, something in between. Among the artists represented are Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell, and Paul Manship.

The exhibition is made possible by The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Terra Foundation for American Art, and the Enterprise Holdings Endowment.

It was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in collaboration with the Denver Art Museum. Accompanied by a catalogue.