Thursday, December 4, 2008

Friends at the Met

Elena in the Modern Art wing

Today, I had the chance to play tour guide for a friend from California, who had never been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. What a day! We covered a lot of ground, as you will see by the map. My friend Elena joined us about halfway through our visit — coincidentally, she was one of the people with whom I had my very first visit to the Met almost exactly a year ago.

The best thing about showing someone around is pointing out my favorite things, and discovering new spaces as I continue to do in my daily pilgrimage to the museum. We covered a lot of ground, almost every wing, but some of the highlights were Arms and Armor; The Temple of Dendur; the painting of the Palace at Versailles in the American Wing, which spans the circumference of a circular room; African and Oceanic Art, which always remind me of Dr. Seuss' characters; The Modern Art Wing, where we paused to enjoy two landscape paintings that, upon closer examination, actually have words written all over them. Then it was up the flight of stairs at the far end of the wing—where my favorite paintings of dolls wrapped in cellophane by James Rosenquist hang—to the mezzanine gallery with the most awesome Chuck Close self-portrait. Then we trekked through a Raqib Shaw special exhibition, up to the 19th-Century European Paintings wing. There we finished our day by visiting the beautiful Wisteria Dining Room from the Art Nouveau movement. It can be quite exhausting to take an all-encompassing trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art — but at the end of the day, it's well worth it.

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