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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The new Met logo (www.metmuseum.org)

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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The Met Breuer (www.metmuseum.org)

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. Continue reading

Art Exhibition: “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible” at The (New) Met Breuer, March 18–September 4, 2016

Exhibition Location: The Met Breuer, 3rd and 4th floors, Madison Avenue and 75th Street

Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible examines a subject that is critical to artistic practice: the question of when a work of art is finished. Opening March 18, 2016, this landmark exhibition inaugurates The Met Breuer, ushering in a new phase for the Met’s expanded engagement with modern and contemporary art, presented in Marcel Breuer’s iconic building on Madison Avenue (formerly the home of The Whitney Museum of American Art). With over 190 works dating from the Renaissance to the present—nearly forty percent of which are drawn from the Museum’s collection, supplemented with major national and international loans—the exhibition demonstrates the type of groundbreaking show that can result when the Museum mines its vast collection and curatorial resources to present modern and contemporary art within a deep historical context.

Alice Neel (American, 1900–1984). James Hunter Black Draftee, 1965. Oil on canvas_ 60 x 40 in. (152.4 x 101.6 cm). COMMA Foundation, Belgium. © The Estate of Alice Neel (1)

Alice Neel (American, 1900–1984). James Hunter Black Draftee, 1965. Oil on canvas_ 60 x 40 in. (152.4 x 101.6 cm). COMMA Foundation, Belgium. © The Estate of Alice Neel

The exhibition examines the term “unfinished” across the visual arts in the broadest possible way; it includes works left incomplete by their makers, a result that often provides insight into the artists’ creative process, as well as works that engage a non finito—intentionally unfinished—aesthetic that embraces the unresolved and open-ended. Featured artists who explored such an aesthetic include some of history’s greatest practitioners, among them Titian, Rembrandt, Turner, and Cézanne, as well as modern and contemporary artists, including Janine Antoni, Lygia Clark, Jackson Pollock, and Robert Rauschenberg, who have taken the unfinished in entirely new directions, alternately blurring the distinction between making and un-making, extending the boundaries of art into both space and time, and recruiting viewers to complete the objects they had begun.

Unfinished is a cornerstone of The Met Breuer’s inaugural program and a great example of the Met’s approach to presenting the art of today,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum. “Stretching across history and geography, the exhibition is the result of a cross-departmental collaboration, drawing on the expertise of the Met’s outstanding faculty of curators. We hope the exhibition will inspire audiences to reconsider the artistic process as they connect to experiences shared by artists over centuries.”

Using works of art as well as the words of artists and critics as a guide, Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible strives to answer four questions: When is a work of art finished? To what extent does an artist have latitude in making this decision? During which periods in the history of art since the Renaissance have artists experimented most boldly with the idea of the unfinished or non finito? What impact has this long trajectory had on modern and contemporary art?

The exhibition features works that fall into two categories. The first includes works of art that are literally unfinished—those whose completion was interrupted, usually because of an accident, such as the artist’s death. In some instances, notably Jan van Eyck’s Saint Barbara (1437), there is still debate about whether the artist meant the work to be a finished drawing, which would have been considered unusual at the time, or if it was meant to be a preparation for a painting. Because such works often leave visible the underlying skeleton and many changes normally effaced in the act of completion, they are prized for providing access to the artist’s thoughts, as well as to his or her working process.

The second category includes works that appear unfinished—open-ended, unresolved, imperfect—at the volition of the artist, such as Janine Antoni’s Lick and Lather (1993–1994). Antoni used a mold to create a series of self-portrait busts, half from chocolate and half from soap, fragile materials that tend to age quickly. After finishing the busts, she set to work unfinishing them, licking those in chocolate and bathing with those in soap, stopping once she had arrived at her distinctive physiognomy. Continue reading

Metropolitan Museum of Art Expands Modern and Contemporary Art Program with Launch of The Met Breuer in March 2016

Inaugural Season at Landmark Marcel Breuer-designed Building Will Feature: 
  • Thematic exhibition examining the fascination for unfinished works of art, from the Renaissance to the present day
  • One-person exhibitions highlighting the Indian modernist artist Nasreen Mohamedi, rarely seen early photographs by Diane Arbus, and a mid-career retrospective of the contemporary painter Kerry James Marshall 
  • New performance works by Artist in Residence Vijay Iyer, a newly commissioned sonic experience by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams, and an all-day staging in the Met’s three locations of the U.S. premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s massive, unfinished electro-acoustic composition Klang
  • Interactive, participatory programs for all audiences connecting people directly with art, architecture, and design, across time and cultures

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will launch its first season of programming in the landmark building by Marcel Breuer on Madison Avenue at 75th Street in New York, when The Met Breuer opens to the public on Thursday, March 10, 2016. Encompassing major monographic and thematic exhibitions, new commissions, performances, and an artist-in-residence series, the inaugural season at The Met Breuer will enable visitors to engage with the art of the 20th and 21st centuries through the global breadth and historical reach of the Met’s unparalleled collection and scholarly resources.

The Met will develop and present programming at The Met Breuer for a period of eight years, following a collaborative agreement between the Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art, which was formerly housed in the building and is relocating to its new museum facility in downtown Manhattan this May. In addition to exhibitions and performance, The Met Breuer will host a wide range of educational and public programming for visitors of all ages, connecting audiences with practicing artists through art-making, talks, and activities in the galleries. A dedicated page on the Met’s website—www.metmuseum.org/MetBreuer—will be updated regularly with detailed information on The Met Breuer’s exhibitions and programs.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world’s leading art museums, with a collection spanning more than 5,000 years of world culture, from prehistory to the present. It presents dozens of exhibitions each year, and thousands of events and programs including films, talks, performance, guided tours, and family programs at its main building at Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street, the modern and contemporary art-themed programming at The Met Breuer in spring 2016, and exhibitions and collection displays related to the art and architecture of the medieval world at The Cloisters museum and gardens, its branch in upper Manhattan. A center for art appreciation, scholarship, research, and conservation, the Met also maintains a vibrant program of publishing scholarly and popular catalogues, and utilizes new technologies to enhance the visitor experience and extend the reach and accessibility of its offerings globally.

The launch of The Met Breuer marks the start of an exciting new chapter for the Museum, allowing us additional space to expand our modern and contemporary visual and performing arts program, as we concurrently redesign and rebuild our Southwest Wing,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “We believe that contemporary art is best understood as an integral part of a broader continuum of creativity—spanning cultures, eras, and genres—and this perspective will continue to infuse our activities in all three of our locations: on Fifth Avenue, at The Cloisters, and at The Met Breuer.”

The two inaugural exhibitions at The Met Breuer will be: a major, cross-departmental curatorial initiative, Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible including works by some of the greatest artists of all time, ranging from Titian to Louise Bourgeois, who experimented with a non finito style; and the largest exhibition to date dedicated to Indian modernist Nasreen Mohamedi. The 2016 season will also feature an exhibition opening in July of early photographs (1956-1962) by Diane Arbus, primarily drawn from the Museum’s Diane Arbus Archive; and, in October, the first major survey in the U.S. of Kerry James Marshall, whose work asserts the place of the black figure within the narrative of Western painting.

The Met Breuer’s first season will also include performances and installations by Artist in Residence Vijay Iyer, the renowned musician and artistic collaborator. His projects will include a presentation of new work in an 18-day installation in the Lobby Gallery. Two additional contemporary performing art works will interweave visitor experiences across the Met’s three buildings: a newly commissioned sonic composition by John Luther Adams,Soundwalk 9:09, the title of which references the length of the walk between the Met’s main building at Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street and The Met Breuer at Madison Avenue and 75th Street; and the U.S. premiere of the massive, unfinished composition in 21 parts, Klang byKarlheinz Stockhausen, that visitors can hear in the course of a single day at the Museum’s three locations—its Fifth Avenue building, The Met Breuer, and The Cloisters museum and gardens. (See more detailed information on each exhibition and performances below.)

For our inaugural season at The Met Breuer, we have dug deeply into our own collection and created partnerships to stimulate new scholarship and explore themes that stretch across history, geography, and art forms. Great works of art can transcend both time and place, and our program will powerfully demonstrate that potential,” said Sheena Wagstaff, the Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of the Met’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. Continue reading