Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Couple of Klimts

Mäda Primavesi (1903-2000), 1912
Serena Pulitzer Lederer (1867-1943), 1899

Paintings by Austrian Art Nouveau painter, Gustav Klimt, who is most famous for his painting, The Kiss.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The New American Wing

I couldn't help but be excited when I entered the American Wing (from the Temple of Dendur side) and found the space to my left open into a giftshop, with the Charles Engelhard Court beyond. This was uncharted territory for me, the final frontier. The sun poured in from the glass enclosing the entire ceiling and western wall, as my eyes darted from sculptures to Tiffany glass to live plants.

For more photos, check out the New York Times' slideshow.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Bawlmer" Museum of Art

Alexander Calder's '100 Yard Dash' in the sculpture garden at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

The Pictures Generation

The Pictures Generation 1974-1984, a massive exhibition featuring photos, videos, multimedia works by renown artists of that time. Not really my cup of tea. Though I found quite a few of the pieces interesting, I just wasn't all that intrigued by their presentation nor was I sure of their significance.

My favorite piece of all was one by David Salle entitled Bearding the Lion in His Den, featuring two black and white photographs on opposite walls of a dark room with a row of ten light bulbs running down the center of the floor.
Check out the great slideshow on ART.CULT.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Music of the Romantics

I apologize for being a major slacker and neglecting this post for so long. Earlier this month, the Musical Instruments department held another concert, called "Music of the Romantics," featuring the museum's 1838 Conrad Graf fortepiano. It didn't escape me that I was one of the youngest people there, by far, but I already know my interest in art and history is shared by more of my elders than peers.

Pianist Yi-heng Yang, who is concurrently pursuing her Masters degree in fortepiano in the early music department of the Amsterdam Conservatory and her doctoral degree in piano performance at The Julliard School. She played three beautiful pieces by Beethoven, Schumann and Chopin. The experience of listening to instrument that was made around the same time the music was composed was such a pleasure. I felt transported to a time when musical instruments served a more prominent role in our leisure activities, before the internet, TV and movies, before radio.

The musical instruments concerts are a unique feature at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, they offer an entertaining and informative look at the sometimes forgotten Musical Instruments Collection. This exquisite facet of the Met's diverse collection marries the worlds of visual and musical arts, and the superb craftsmanship of each and every instrument is remarkable.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mary Cassatt

Today is American Impressionist painter, Mary Cassatt's birthday (thanks again, Google). A contemporary of Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Pierre Auguste Renior and, most notably, Edgar Degas, Cassatt made most of her paintings in France, showing at salons with fellow Impressionists. The Metropolitan Museum of Art holds a vast collection of Cassatt's paintings. However, since the American Painting galleries are currently closed for renovation, the Met's online archive of her work will have to suffice.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

David Smith, Becca

Becca (1965) by David Smith now resides on the second floor of the Modern Art wing, but she once stood atop the roof (for the exhibition David Smith on the Roof), just like Maelstrom from my previous posts. Aside from recognizing the sculpture from photos I'd seen online as I passed it, I never paid any more attention to this big hunk of metal standing like a sign in the center of its respective space.

Today, however, something about the glowing lines of light on its surface reeled me in. I noticed that multiple layers of these reflections with different brightnesses give its shiny surface the appearance of depth, despite its flat surface. The reflecting lines move and dance as you view the piece from different angles. From the side, Becca is more waif-thin than Kate Moss in her heyday — a stark contrast to the width of the sculpture when viewed from the front. This interesting juxtaposition and the movement created by the burnished surface make Becca an exquisite piece.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Outside the Met

Saved the best for last: Boba Fett playing accordion!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Michelle Obama, American Wing Ribbon Cutting

Thank you, Morgan, for sharing this video link from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's website. I can't wait to see the newly renovated galleries and period rooms in the American Wing at the Met!

(P.S. Michelle Obama, you are fabulous!)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

More Maelstrom

Maelstrom, by Roxy Paine, makes a great reflection against the glass windows on the roof at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. With all those dark clouds, I felt like Maelstrom could be the world's biggest lightening rod — yet another reference to the theme of nature's relationship to the man-made.

The Met's YouTube channel has a video of the sculpture's installation on the roof.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hannock and the High Line

I was fortunate enough to be invited to artist Stephen Hannock's book signing to benefit the High Line project at celebrity chef, Tom Colicchio's, restaurant Craftsteak on 14th and 10th. On the back wall of the main dining room, hangs an expansive cityscape by Hannock, depicting the High Line neighborhood where restaurant is located. Chelsea Winter with Elevated Park; New York Highline (2006) incorporates Hannock's signature collage elements and handwriting to create a beautiful, deeply personal and visually interesting piece.

I am now the proud owner of the book, Stephen Hannock, by Hudson Hills publishing, which is truly a beautiful retrospective chronicling the artist's life and career achievements. I went straight to the Met after the event, to visit Hannock's paintings: Kaaterskill Falls for Frank Moore and Dan Hodermarsky and The Oxbow: After Church, after Cole, Flooded, Green Light, (his most famous, on the cover of the book).

Of course, the greatest part was meeting the artist himself! He's a really nice guy and for that, and many other reasons, I'll continue to follow his work which I enjoy a lot.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Nymph of Dampierre

Sculptural wall fountain just off Petrie Court.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Byzantine Animal Brooches

If you haven't already picked up on my love for tiny objects, here's yet another testament. Dating back to the Roman Empire (100-300AD), these were worn by both Roman soldiers and natives of Byzantium. Alright... I'm not gonna lie, the ones on the left in the compromising position are what really caught my eye!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Model As Muse Preview

After the glitz and glamour of the gala were gone, the Costume Institute's Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion opened for a member preview today. Incorporating photographs, magazine spreads, authentic costume pieces, a little paint, music and film, Model As Muse creates an informative chronology of the influence of models on fashion design in the last half-century.

I was greeted by the outstretched arms of a mannequin version of the famous Avedon photgraph with Dovima and two Elephants. Black-and-white photographs lead up to the actual Avedon print, which hangs at the end of the first corridor. Turn the corner, and you find early Vogue and Bazaar spreads beneath mannequins wearing Charles James on the right and Balenciaga and Dior day suits on the left. The dresses are set against an enlarged Cecil Beaton for Vogue photograph, while the suits supersede footage from Funny Face projected on the wall, that seems to coincide at times with music that fills the space.

photo from

Against a photo of the Cabine of Christian Dior, mannequins wore deconstructed gowns by John Galliano. Styled by Julien d’Ys, the mannequins with just one eye and eyebrow painted on were my favorites of all.

photo from

The exhibit continues through the decades to the sixties with a colorful lava-lamp motif undulating on the walls and reflecting off costumes from Qui etes-vous, Polly Maggoo?, a fashion-industry satire about a 20-year-old Brooklyn born model in Paris, while a clip plays on the wall. More mannequins represent fashions portrayed in magazine spreads at their feet, featuring the influential models like Twiggy and Donyale Luna (Yves Saint Laurent's Mondrian Dress among them).

It was around the next corner in the eighties that I happened upon a tour by none other than Kohle Yohannan, co-curator of the exhibition (with Costume Institute chief Harold Koda)! As I looked over Vogue covers of Renee Russo, Iman, and Brooke Shields (whose Calvin Klein jeans are displayed at the end of that corridor), Yohannan spoke of the controversy that arose from modeling and the beauty industry. He said, "fashion magazines are often criticized for championing the very ideas women have fought for," namely independence, success and even sexuality.

We continued to the late-eighties, early-nineties, where a gang war portrayed the tension between high/low street culture when the supermodel reached the height of her power. Designers either embraced supermodels like Linda Evangelista, Christie Turlington and Naomi Campbell; or they resisted for fear of being overshadowed.

photo from

The grunge movement was a direct reaction to the ideal of perfect supermodels, favoring girls with unusual, even sickly looks; beautiful nonetheless, but the term heroine-chic refers to the models of this time. Julien d’Ys brought the room to life with silver graffiti on the walls, while Nirvana played over the speakers.

As the fame of the supermodels themselves threatened to eclipse the industry that created them, Yohannan said, designers began to create more minimalist pieces, thereby selecting more homogeneous models over the standouts that came before.

from left, photos from,, and

Model As Muse comes to an end with big Dior by Galliano gowns and Louis Vuitton's nurses by Marc Jacobs in collaboration with Richard Prince, my single most favorite pieces because of their reference to contemporary art (which I saw last year at the Guggenheim). The postscript posits that though we have recently seen a few larger-than-life style and fashion icons like Victoria Beckham, the era of the supermodel has ended (with the exception of Gisele Bundchen).

Related References/Links:

New York Times review of Model As Muse

NY Mag has a great slideshow.

...and coincidentally, I came across this feature of Yohannan's remarkable and exquisite home from last year's NY Mag Interior design issue (this year's ran this week).

American Wing Reopens 5/19

The American Wing courtyard and period rooms will reopen on May 19th! Found this YouTube video on

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tibetan Arms and Armor

A 17th-18th century Tibetan saddle and bridle.

My Favorite El Greco

View of Toledo by El Greco.

Still-lifes by Odilon Redon

Pretty flowers by Odilon Redon, whose other dream-like paintings also appear in the 19th- 20th- Century European Painting.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Costume Institute Gala 2009

The Costume Institute held its annual gala tonight at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to celebrate the new exhibition opening this week — The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion. Unsurprisingly, the event drew incredible fashions donned by supermodels and celebrity elites. Here are my top three best and craziest ensembles:


Claudia Schiffer's dress was my favorite of the pics I've seen. The black cutout gown has an artistic quality while maintaining a beautiful silhouette.

Chanel Iman looks like a tall, exotic nymph in a beautiful leopard print Zac Posen gown.

Of course, mega-hot model Gisele Bundchen rocked it in this Versace micro-minidress.


(Disclaimer: I am not totally knocking these choices, since it is a "Costume" Institute gala, and who doesn't love a little avant garde? BUT these ladies take the cake for the most bizarre looks)

Ummm, we have a cray cray Shirley Temple on our hands. Leighton Meester's look leaves me speechless. I do like the bejeweled tights though... the pattern looks better with glitz and texture than it does on the dress itself. Maybe a bodysuit would have been an even bolder but more cohesive choice?

I don't know, Rhianna looks to me like a fembot gone masculine in this Dolce and Gabbana tuxedo.

If Carrie Bradshaw did it right, Madonna did it weird — the sculptural hairpiece is the crowning glory of her oddly hodge-podge Louis Vuitton ensemble that includes black thigh-high boots and fingerless gloves.

WELL, I would have loved to make it to the red carpet, but the workaholic in me ruled out and I had to live vicariously through other blogs/news sites. My new Twitter friend popwatch supplied the link to, where I got the photos. The New York Times also has a nice story and accompanying slideshow, as does Vanity Fair and E! Online.

Mellow Yellows

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dancing Lines

Terry Winters: Shadowgraphs, 2002 (one of 12 wood engravings with embossments on handmade paper).

Friday, May 1, 2009

Kentridge's Stereoscopes

The new Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection include five photogravures, three with stereoscopes by William Kentridge. For lack of a better description, I'll borrow from the accompanying description by the Metropolitan Museum of Art: "This series of prints reflects his most recent interest in optics and the construction of sight. Kentridge created three-dimensional models in his studio, which he then photographed and made into photogravures. The prints were split and paired together on a single sheet. When viewed under a stereoscope, the images reconstitute their dimensionality and become mini dioramas filled with fantastic imagery." In two of these works, Kentridge pays homage to the sixteenth-century artist Albrecht Dürer by referencing his famous prints Melencolia I and The Rhinoceros.

I remember learning about Kentridge's technique in a digital photography class I too in college, where we actually made our own photogravures. The best one I did was a depiction of a bicycle rack, with about 20 bikes all in a row. The three-dimensionality that results is really impressive.


Note from ME:
When I first started this blog, I made little maps detailing my course through the Met on each trip, and to show readers where they might find the artwork I highlighted. Though it mind seem like a small detail, it is actually somewhat time-consuming, so I regrettably stopped creating them. I still like the idea, but don't want to put in the effort if they're not useful, so I'm leaving it up to the readers. Please let me know if you like to see these little guys at the bottom of each post. Thanks!