The Met Breuer Opens to the Public on March 18, 2016 Expanding The Met’s Modern and Contemporary Program

Inaugural Season Features Mix of Visual Arts and Performance, Including:

  • Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible, major thematic survey featuring unfinished works of art from the Renaissance to the present day;
  • Monographic exhibition of Indian modernist artist Nasreen Mohamedi;
  • Continuous in-gallery performances by Artist in Residence Vijay Iyer (through March 31, 2016), a newly commissioned sonic experience by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams, and an all-day performance in The Met’s three locations of the U.S. premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s composition KLANG;
  • Forthcoming exhibitions in 2016 season include rarely seen, early photographs by Diane Arbus (opening July 2016);
  • Mid-career retrospective of the contemporary painter Kerry James Marshall (opening October 2016), with a complementary “artist’s choice” installation of works from The Met collection;
  • Inhabiting Marcel Breuer’s Architecture, an exhibition of newly commissioned architectural photographs of four iconic Marcel Breuer-designed buildings (opening November 2016)

Since it was founded in 1870, The Met has always aspired to be more than a treasury of rare and beautiful objects. Every day, art comes alive in the Museum’s galleries and through its exhibitions and events, revealing both new ideas and unexpected connections across time and across cultures. Furthermore, millions of people also take part in The Met experience online. The Met presents over 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy. The Museum now lives in three iconic sites in New York City—The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters.


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On March 18, 2016, The Metropolitan Museum of Art will launch its inaugural season at The Met Breuer, its new space dedicated to modern and contemporary art. Housed in the landmark building designed by the renowned Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer, The Met Breuer program invites visitors to engage with the art of the 20th and 21st centuries through a range of exhibitions, commissions, performances, and artist residencies all uniquely presented through the global breadth and historical reach of The Met’s unparalleled collection and resources.

The reopening of Marcel Breuer’s iconic building on Madison Avenue represents an important chapter in the cultural life of New York City,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Met.Whether frequent or first-time visitors to our Fifth Avenue building or The Met Cloisters, we look forward to welcoming everyone to The Met Breuer, which provides an unparalleled opportunity to experience modern and contemporary art through the lens of the global breadth and historical reach of The Met’s collection.


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Sheena Wagstaff, the Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of The Met’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, added: “With the launch of The Met Breuer, we are honoring the history of this beloved building and embracing its significance to the cultural landscape of our city as we infuse it with The Met’s curatorial spirit for the public to enjoy. For our inaugural season, we have developed a far-reaching program that explores themes that stretch across history, geography, and art forms. Great works of art can transcend both time and place, as our program powerfully demonstrates.”

Under the direction of Campbell, Wagstaf has developed the curatorial program at The Met Breuer in partnership with departments from across the Museum, including Photographs; European Paintings; European Sculpture and Decorative Arts; Drawings and Prints; Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; the American Wing; and Concerts & Lectures.

The Met Breuer’s program will spotlight modern and contemporary art in dialogue with historic works that encompass the full range of The Met’s vast collection. The building will host both monographic and thematic exhibitions, as well as new commissions and performances. The two inaugural exhibitions at The Met are Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible, a cross-departmental curatorial initiative that brings together works by some of the greatest artists of all time, from Titian to Louise Bourgeois, who experimented with a non finito style; and the largest exhibition to date dedicated to Indian modernist Nasreen Mohamedi. Additionally, a music installation by Artist in Residence Vijay Iyer will activate The Met Breuer’s Tony and Amie James Gallery in the lobby throughout March.

Photography is also a cornerstone of the program at The Met Breuer, including a presentation of early photographs by Diane Arbus, opening in July that will be drawn from The Met’s Diane Arbus Archive; and a series of commissioned architectural photographs that will document four seminal public buildings designed by Marcel Breuer, opening in the fall. Culminating The Met Breuer’s inaugural season, the first major survey in the United States of Kerry James Marshall, whose work asserts the place of the black figure within the narrative of Western painting, will go on view in October.

These programs will take place within an iconic building that has been restored with architect Marcel Breuer’s original vision in mind, supporting an integrated experience of art and architecture. Restoration work was completed under the guidance of Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners LLC to maintain the unique character of the building’s signature attributes—including the textured concrete surfaces, bluestone floors, and bronze fixtures—with special consideration given to respecting the patina of history within the space by preserving the aesthetic of weathered areas. In addition to undertaking this extensive cleaning and restoration work, The Met also collaborated with the Whitney Museum of American Art to upgrade the building’s infrastructure systems. To enhance the building’s sunken garden, The Met commissioned landscape architect Günther Vogt to create a site-specific design and installation that includes Quaking Aspen trees planted along the west perimeter.

The Met gratefully acknowledges the following lead contributors to The Met Breuer: Daniel and Estrellita Brodsky and Howard S. and Nancy Marks; The Carson Family Charitable Trust, Tony and Amie James, and Anthony W. and Lulu C. Wang; Cheryl and Blair Effron, Mark Fisch and Rachel Davidson, Mr. and Mrs. J. Tomilson Hill, Eliot C. and Wilson Nolen, Samantha Boardman Rosen and Aby J. Rosen, Bonnie J. Sacerdote, and Alejandro Santo Domingo; Stephanie and Peter Brant, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, Ann Cox Chambers, Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey W. Greenberg, Mary and Michael Jaharis, Michael B. Kim and Kyung Ah Park, Leonard A. Lauder, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee, The Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation, Barrie and Deedee Wigmore, and two anonymous donors.

Major corporate support for The Met Breuer is provided by Sotheby’s. A detailed history of the Breuer building is available on The Met’s website.

The Met Breuer Inaugural Season 2016 Exhibition Program

Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible, March 18–September 4, 2016

This exhibition examines a subject critical to artistic practice: the question of when a work of art is finished. Beginning with Renaissance masters, this scholarly and innovative exhibition examines the term “unfinished” in the broadest possible way, encompassing not only works left incomplete by their makers, which often give insight into the process of their creation, but also those that partake of a non finito—intentionally unfinished—aesthetic that embraces the unresolved and open-ended. Some of history’s greatest artists explored such an aesthetic, among them Titian, Rembrandt, Turner, and Cézanne. The unfinished has been taken in entirely new directions by modern and contemporary artists, including Janine Antoni, Lygia Clark, Jackson Pollock, and Robert Rauschenberg, who alternately blurred the distinction between making and un-making, extended the boundaries of art into both space and time, and recruited viewers to complete the objects they had begun.

With over 190 works dating from the Renaissance to the present—nearly 40 percent of which are drawn from The Met’s collection, supplemented with major national and international loans—this exhibition demonstrates The Met’s unique capacity to mine its rich collections and scholarly resources to present modern and contemporary art within a deep historical context.

The exhibition is co-curated at The Met by: Andrea Bayer, Jayne Wrightsman Curator in the Department of European Paintings, Kelly Baum, Curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, and Nicholas Cullinan, former Curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, under the direction of Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. The exhibition is accompanied by a publication that incorporates both scholarly texts and interviews with contemporary artists. The catalogue expands the subject to consider the “unfinished” in both literature and film, and the role of the conservator in elucidating a deeper understanding of artistic thought on the subject of the unfinished. It is published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.

A program featuring unfinished films accompanies the exhibition. Curated by Thomas Beard, co-founder and director of Light Industry, the films will be presented in The Met Breuer’s second floor audio-visual gallery, beginning on April 9 and extending through June 4.

The exhibition is made possible by Leonard A. Lauder and The Dr. Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Jane and Robert Carroll Fund, Howard I. Hoffen & Sandra Hoffen, Kenneth and Rosalind Landis, Ann M. Spruill and Daniel H. Cantwell, and Northern Trust. It is supported by an Indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. The catalogue is made possible by the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Inc. and the Roswell L. Gilpatric Publications Fund.

Nasreen Mohamedi, March 18–June 5, 2016

A singular artist to emerge in post-Independence India, Nasreen Mohamedi (1937–90) created a body of work vital to the evolution of international modernism and abstraction. The Met Breuer exhibition marks the largest presentation of Mohamedi’s work to date and explores the conceptual complexity and visual subtlety that made her practice unique in its time.

Mohamedi drew upon a range of inspirations in her work, from Paul Klee and Agnes Martin to Mughal architecture and Indian classical music to the architecture of Louis Kahn and Italian neorealist cinema. She experimented with organic lines, delicate grids, and hard-edged forms in her oeuvre, and this aesthetic informed and infused the photographs she took throughout her life. With more than 130 paintings, drawings, and photographs, the exhibition surveys the different stages of Mohamedi’s career and the development of her aesthetic approach, which made her one of the most significant artists of her generation.

The exhibition was initiated and curated for the Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, by Roobina Karode, Director of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi; the exhibition at The Met Breuer is curated by Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with assistance from Brinda Kumar, Research Associate in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. Nasreen Mohamedi is accompanied by a substantial catalogue with essays by international scholars, published by the Museo Reina Sofía.

The exhibition is made possible by Nita and Mukesh Ambani and the Reliance Foundation.

The exhibition is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, with the collaboration of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi.

Relation: A Performance Residency by Vijay Iyer, March 18–31, 2016

The Met’s 2015-16 Resident Artist, Vijay Iyer, occupies The Met Breuer’s Tony and Amie James Gallery in March, bringing his astonishing range of artistic practice to redefine what a residency can be. Iyer highlights his full body of work with continuous performances throughout Museum hours. He will perform solo as well as with other musicians, dancers, and poets, and will also curate performances by fellow musicians and performers. Additionally Iyer has created sound installations specifically for the space, resulting in full-day performance experiences. They include the film Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi by Prashant Bhargava and Vijay Iyer, and a new sound installation Fit (The Battle of Jericho) by Mendi + Keith Obadike. Throughout the spring season, Iyer will collaborate with performance artists including Wadada Leo Smith, Miranda Cuckson, Okkyung Lee, Michelle Boulé, Tyshawn Sorey, and Rajna and Anjna Swaminathan.

Vijay Iyer has also been commissioned by The Met to create a piece that accompanies and resonates with the exhibition Nasreen Mohamedi. In homage to Mohamedi’s devotion to Indian classical music and her improvisatory imagery that at times evokes an abstracted rhythmic notation, Iyer will present the world premiere of a new composition in honor of Mohamedi. A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke premieres on Wednesday, March 30, at 7 pm, followed by a performance on Thursday, March 31, at 7 pm. Tickets start at $50.

A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke is made possible through the Saroj Jhaveri Foundation, sponsored by the R. & S. Nanavati Charitable Trust No.2. The Vijay Iyer Artist Residency is made possible by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky, with additional support from the Chester Dale Fund.

diane arbus: in the beginning, July 12–November 27, 2016

Spotlighting the rarely seen early work of Diane Arbus (1923–71), this exhibition will explore the genesis of one of the most influential and controversial artists of the 20th century. The show focuses on Arbus’s first seven years working with the camera on the streets of New York City (1956–62), a dramatic era in American history and the period when the artist developed her idiosyncratic style and subject matter that was soon recognized, praised, criticized, and copied the world over.

The majority of the photographs will be drawn from The Met’s vast Diane Arbus Archive acquired in 2007 by gift and promised gift from the artist’s estate. More than two-thirds of the photographs have never been exhibited, or published, offering visitors and scholars alike a rare opportunity to see the formative work of this evocative and influential artist.&

diane arbus: in the beginning is curated by Jeff L. Rosenheim, Curator in Charge of The Met’s Department of Photographs. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.

Kerry James Marshall: Mastry, October 25, 2016–January 29, 2017

Marking the artist’s largest museum exhibition to date, this retrospective of paintings by Kerry James Marshall (b. 1955, Birmingham, Alabama) spans the artist’s remarkable 35-year career, to reveal the complex and compelling creative output of one of today’s most important living artists.

Marshall is a history painter whose work reflects and challenges the time and culture he inhabits. Driven by an examination of the historical dearth and relatively recent appearance of the black figure in the history of Western painting, he is immersed in the past and present of painting—particularly the century-long conflict between figuration and abstraction. He is also committed to a vision of American history that represents the narratives—triumphs and failures both—of individual African Americans as well as the concept of blackness as a whole. In the grand scale of the Old Masters, Marshall creates works that engage with themes of visibility and invisibility, portraiture and self-portraiture, religious iconography, the politics of Pan-Africanism and black militancy, and the ethics of painting.

The exhibition is accompanied by a selection of approximately 35 objects chosen by Kerry James Marshall from The Met collection.

The exhibition is co-curated by Ian Alteveer, Associate Curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Met; Helen Molesworth, Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Dieter Roelstraete, former Manilow Senior Curator; and Abigail Winograd, Research Associate, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. It is accompanied by a comprehensive and fully illustrated catalogue with essays by the curators, published by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and distributed by Skira Rizzoli.

The exhibition is made possible by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The exhibition is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Inhabiting Marcel Breuer’s Architecture: Four Public Buildings Photographed by Luisa Lambri and Bas Princen

Opening November 29, 2016

The Met is commissioning photographers Luisa Lambri and Bas Princen to document a central concern that defined Marcel Breuer’s architectural practice: the state of “post-occupancy,” a term architects use to describe the evolution of a building and its enduring architectural relevance. The exhibition will examine four key public buildings designed by Breuer, capturing the qualities and nuances of change the spaces have absorbed through the years. Depicting the passing of time and how the buildings are being activated in 2016, the exhibition highlights the role of modern architecture in today’s built environment and celebrates Breuer’s contributions to the field. The four public buildings by Breuer that were selected for this exhibition are the Headquarters of UNESCO (Paris, 1958); Saint Francis de Sales (Minneapolis, 1959); The Met Breuer (New York City, 1966); and his hotel and ski resort in Flaine, Geneva (1968).

Inhabiting Marcel Breuer’s Architecture: Four Public Buildings Photographed by Luisa Lambri and Bas Princen is curated by Beatrice Galilee, The Met’s Daniel Brodsky Associate Curator of Architecture and Design, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. The exhibition is made possible by The Daniel and Estrellita Brodsky Foundation.

Spring 2016 Performance

Soundwalk 9:09 by John Luther Adams

Commissioned to celebrate the launch of The Met Breuer, the aptly titled Soundwalk 9:09 by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams lasts nine minutes and nine seconds, the time it takes to walk between The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Breuer (from Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street to Madison Avenue and 75th Street). Offering listeners a unique sonic experience, it includes sounds recorded by the composer as well as some selected by him from submissions online. The composition in two parts, “Downtown” and “Uptown,” is available online to download to your mobile device at and at Q2 Music’s website (!/series/q2).

This program is made possible by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky.

KLANG by Karlheinz Stockhausen

U.S. Premiere

Karlheinz Stockhausen’s deftly original KLANG (meaning “sound” in German) is an acoustic and electronic work so massive that it requires all day and all three of The Met’s iconic buildings to stage. This 21-part, unfinished composition was originally envisioned by Stockhausen to consist of 24 individual compositions (one for each hour of the day), but the work was left unfinished at the time of his death. This performance marks the U.S. premiere of KLANG in its entirety, and will be performed at The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters.

This program is made possible by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and

Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel and Carl Spielvogel, with additional support from the New York State Council on the Arts and the Samuel White Patterson Lecture Fund.

It is presented in collaboration with Analog Arts.

Program Credits

Exhibition design by Brian Butterfield, Senior Exhibition Designer (Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible), and Zoe Florence, Exhibition Designer (Nasreen Mohamedi), in collaboration with the graphic design team, and under the direction of The Met’s Head of Design, Susan Sellers.

Restoration planning and oversight by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners.

Regular Hours for The Met Breuer (as of March 21)

Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 am–5:30 pm

Thursday and Friday, 10 am–9 pm

Saturday and Sunday, 10 am–5:30 pm

Closed Monday

Hours for The Met Breuer Inaugural Weekend, March 18–20

Friday, March 18, 10 am–10 pm

Saturday, March 19, 10am–10 pm

Sunday, March 20, 10 am–5:30 pm

The Met Breuer is featured on the Museum’s website at as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter via the hashtag #MetBreuer.