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Thread: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

  1. #31


    A few pictures of the Met from my trip to NYC.

  2. #32

    Default 'Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy' Exhibition at the Met

    Power Dressing

    From left: Mystique “X-Men” costume, Alexander McQueen gold bodysuit, As Four nylon and rubber pants,
    Thierry Mugler corset ensemble. More photos >

    Published: May 9, 2008

    Superheroes exist for many reasons. Certainly in our time they exist to sell movie tickets and plastic action figures. (Somewhere in my basement is a box of X-Men that represents a period of desperate pleadings.) But superheroes, those crusading men and women in tights, allow us to believe that in a cape or magical second skin we can do the impossible. We can transform ourselves.

    Fashion thrives on the same expectation: Buy this hot dress or pair of Jimmy Choos, and see if you don’t feel curiously invincible at the next party. To an extent all superheroes, like some of the most flamboyant creatures in fashion, are playing a role inadvertently thrust on them by circumstance, their true identities and physical shortcomings concealed.

    What separates the nerdish Bruce Banner, who morphs into the Incredible Hulk, from the mousy Luisa Annan, who as the outlandish Marchesa Casati aspired to look like a wild animal and for one Belle Époque-era ball wore a necklace of live, writhing snakes?

    The answer is nothing. They each make their claim on the world by becoming Another. The ideas that dominate fashion — identity, performance, gender, body shapes, sexuality, logos and the quest for state-of-the-art materials — pretty well describe the world of the superhero.

    These two forces are brought together in “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy,” the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s playful look at comic book costumes and their influence on radical haute couture as well as high-tech sportswear. Organized by Andrew Bolton, curator of the Met’s Costume Institute, the exhibition is a departure from the museum’s lavish historical surveys. This is the lighter, more fantastical side of fashion, an industry that loves to talk about the genius of Balenciaga while clamoring to dress the body of Beyoncé. Yet inevitably fashion is pioneered by the young, by their daydreams and obsessions, and this exhibition may open one’s eyes to new modes of style as surely as a fur-lined teacup or a slashed punk T-shirt depicting the British queen.

    The notion of experiment is embodied in the design, which was done by Nathan Crowley, the production designer on two Batman films and the exhibition’s creative consultant. The 60 outfits, many from movies, are displayed in a sleek, white, brightly illuminated space that suggests a laboratory. All that clinical whiteness, along with three sections of mirrors arranged to create an endless reflection, helps to set off the extreme materials of the costumes and the vivid Gotham backdrops.

    Superheroes emerged in the late 1930s, the hinge years between the misery of the Great Depression and the start of World War II, and American utopianism literally colored the costumes and avenging exploits of the comic heroes as they hurled bowling balls and other objects at the heads of the Axis dictators.

    Wonder Woman, created by William Moulton Marston, first appeared against a patriotic Washington skyline in January 1942. The drawn version — unlike Lynda Carter’s television character with her 22-inch waist and ample bust — looks wholesome and cute in her flirty star-patterned skirt and bustier. Clark Kent, when trouble loomed, slipped out of his street clothes and into Superman’s sleek, empowering unitard. Since speed and flight were crucial to his mission, it’s possible that his attire owed something to circus acrobats’ costumes of the era. But the 1930s also marked the introduction of a streamlined modernity in interior design, automobiles and the fashion of couturiers like Madeleine Vionnet, whose dresses flowed like liquid over the skin. For contemporary designers like Jean Paul Gaultier, who did a printed version of the unitard in 1995, the attraction of a comic hero’s “second skin” may be that it looks modern.

    But as the writer Michael Chabon points out in a witty essay on the unitard in the “Superheroes” catalog, this minimal garment, for all its flash and novel materials, ultimately “takes its deepest meaning and serves its primary function in the depiction of the naked human form, unfettered, perfect and free.” Of course the body is the prime form of fashion. It also supplies the exhibition’s principal organizing theme — the Patriotic Body, the Armored Body and so forth.

    Quite a few of the fashion interpretations of superhero costumes here are fairly literal and do little to expand our knowledge of either form of expression. Bernhard Willhelm’s 2006 Superman-inspired dress features an S logo that appears to be dematerializing in drips of red, while a Moschino three-piece suit from 2006 sports a T-shirt emblazoned with a red M. But beyond commenting on the proliferation of logos and branding, what do these garments tell us?

    The suit worn by Tobey Maguire in “Spider-Man 3,” 2007. More Photos »

    In the Spider-Man display, which includes Tobey Maguire’s costume from “Spider-Man 3,” there are a number of cobweb knit and web-embroidered ensembles. Some of these show finesse and sly humor, like a 1990 Giorgio Armani gown traced in silk threads and crystal beads. But you can’t really know if this design springs from the natural world or a comic book, and you are left simply to marvel at its creepy beauty — which may be enough.

    The magnified, supercharged body runs through fashion, from the hyper-athlete (cleverly evoked by Alexander McQueen in a 2005 silk ensemble with pretty football pads) to the sexy pinup, and is well represented in the exhibition. An inflatable jacket by the Belgian designer Walter van Beirendonck adds instant bulk and musculature to a man, while Hussein Chalayan’s “Aeroplane Dress,” made from fiberglass and nylon, has moveable wing flaps and presents the body as a kind of flight capsule.

    If John Galliano’s spangled bodysuit and studded leather thong seems to be a comic take on a comic book heroine (Wonder Woman’s star-spangled television costume), the Armored Body section of the exhibition alludes to a fascination with machines, technology and extreme, often violent, sensibilities. In the late 1980s and early ’90s few other designers provoked as much outrage and feminist debate as Thierry Mugler with his metal and molded plastic armor suits. With openings for breasts and belly, they left the most vulnerable parts of the female body exposed. Meanwhile a metal and flame-enameled bustier, from 1992, seems to transform the gal into the front end of a Harley, complete with handlebars and side mirrors.

    It’s camp. But when these pieces were first shown on a Paris runway they were unfairly dismissed as crass, and Mr. Mugler’s motives were questioned. There was very little attempt to understand the themes of violence and eroticism conveyed in the style. Certainly these ideas are the basis for a lot of contemporary art and literature. You have to wonder if the reason Mr. Mugler didn’t receive serious consideration is that he was a dressmaker.

    Designers liberate themselves from the banal just as superheroes do. They do remarkable things with materials and craft. Dolce & Gabbana’s corseted minidress from 2007 looks as if it were molded from Tiffany silver. It is actually made of leather. Although it would have been nice to see more clothing examples from the 1960s and ’70s, and more abstract takes on transformation — where is Comme des Garçons, the avant-garde label of Rei Kawakubo? — Mr. Bolton intelligibly connects these two distinct worlds.

    And while it’s surprising that only two American designers are included in the exhibition — Rick Owens and As Four — it is also understandable.

    Superheroes are largely an American invention, and designers here are probably too close to Catwoman and the Flash to be inspired in a new or funny way. Their fantasies involve England or Rome, not Krypton.

    Copyright 2008 New York Times Company

  3. #33

    Thumbs up J.M.W. Turner at the Metropolitan Museum

    “Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps” by artist Joseph William Mallord Turner

    ”View of London from Greenwich” (circa 1825)

    "The Shipwreck"

    ”Fishermen at Sea”

    ”Light and Colour (Goethe's Theory) — The Morning after the Deluge — Moses
    writing the Book of Genesis.”

    “The Battle of Trafalgar” (1805)

    “The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons” (1834)

    “ Snow Storm—Steam Boat off a Harbor's Mouth Making Signals in Shallow Water, and Going by the Lead. The Author was in This Storm on the Night the Ariel Left Harwich” (1842)

    Turner’s best work lies somewhere in between tumultuous and placid. In “Peace
    — Burial at Sea” the sharp black silhouettes of the sails of a burning ship anchor
    the quavering depictions of sea, air, fire and smoke.

    In “Mortlake Terrace, the Seat of William Moffatt, Esq.; Summer’s Evening” the main action is the sun, sending its golden light shimmering across the Thames to give a row of trees long fingerlike shadows, while a spry little black dog (painted on paper stuck to the surface) barks at the passing boats.

    In the tiny watercolor “Shields, on the River Tyne,” workers load coal from a ship into smaller boats by the yellow light of torches; the rest of the river, shrouded in blue and overseen by a silvery moon, seems to be another world altogether.

    Turner never lost his connection to reality. One of the last, semiabstract paintings in the show’s final gallery is a sunrise view of Norham Castle, which is the subject of a Claudian watercolor in the first gallery. Amid its gorgeous smudges of blue castle, yellow sun and pale ochre shores are two cows, faint but definite, who have come for their morning drink.

    “Keelmen Heaving in Coals by Moonlight” (1835)

    Copyright 2008 New York Times Company

  4. #34
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    My favorite works in the Turner exhibition are a series of small watercolours that Turner painted to memorialize the conflagration in London in 1834 -- which he witnessed. He then used those studies as a basis for his magnificent “The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons” (1834)

  5. #35


    A few things:

    - The main steps are currently being restored so forget any good shots of the front of the museum during the summer.

    - The American wing is closed for the summer, very disappointing.

    - Two huge pieces by Stephen Hannock are on display near the Modern Art section. Amazing paintings combined with words and pictures. Worth seeing.

  6. #36


    Hannock's work is also hung in the Star Lounge at the Ritz (on Central Park South). Just beautiful.

  7. #37


    March 12, 2009 5:24 PM

    More cuts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

    The cultural institution faces difficult decisions as its funding is slashed.

    By Miriam Kreinin Souccar

    With the economic downturn deepening, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is cutting 27% of its full-time and 9% of its part-time staff in its merchandising department, for a total of 74 positions.

    The cuts, announced today, come on top of other recent cost-saving measures. The museum shuttered eight satellite museum stores around the country over the last few months, which resulted in 53 layoffs.

    The largest museum in the country also plans to reduce its overall workforce by about 10%, or 250 people, before the beginning of its next fiscal year, which starts July 1. Last month the museum instituted a hiring freeze and eliminated merit salary increases for the next fiscal year. The museum has not yet determined which positions will be cut.

    “The Metropolitan is so large and complex an organization, whose staff possess skill sets crucial to maintaining its buildings and collections successfully, such a contraction requires a deliberate and delicate process,” a statement said.

    Last year, the Met had a $3.2 million deficit on its $310 million operating budget, according to Artnet News. The museum’s $2.9 billion endowment has plunged to $2.1 billion, and the funding it receives from the city is being reduced by $1.7 million in 2009.

    © 2009 Crain Communications, Inc.

  8. #38

    Default The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Thanks very very much for all of the pictures of the Metropolitan Museum of Art inside of it and also outside of it.

  9. #39

    Default Roxy Paine on the Roof: Maelstrom

  10. #40


    Most-popular museums
    Taking in some culture
    May 4th 2009

    Where are the world's most-popular museums?

    FOR many tourists, a city break would be incomplete without visiting a musem or gallery to take in some culture. Last year, the Louvre in Paris attracted the highest number of visitors—8.5m people streamed through to peer at the Mona Lisa and the other treasures within. The French capital punches above its weight with another three museums high up on a list of favourites compiled by the Art Newspaper. Galleries in New York, London and Rome reap the benefits of high numbers of tourists. Free entry at London's galleries has also boosted visitors.

  11. #41
    Senior Member
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    This must be a list of most popular ART museums. The AMNH across the park from the Met gets only slightly fewer visitors.

    The problem with lists like this are the fake authority. There are probably a lot of institutions in non-western countries that should be on this list (no one goes to museums in Beijing? I doubt it). This should be really be called - most visited museums that the Economist knows of from an article reported by The Art Newspaper.

  12. #42


    Quote Originally Posted by Gregory Tenenbaum View Post

    Also in the British Museum I saw the Elgin Marbles. What's that you say? Well I was amazed when I saw it. It looked like the friggin roof of the Parthenon to me, you know, that building in Greece. It consists of the Pediments and Metopes and (the whole sides of the roof and the front and back triangular shaped parts)

    I dont know why they call it the Elgin Marbles when they should just name it "Here Lies The Roof of the Parthenon Which We Stole from the Roof of the Parthenon".
    Ah, yep!

    From the Guardian
    As Pandermalis is showing me around the gallery, the Greek minister of culture, Antonis Samaras, arrives. Samaras, a sleek, self-confident figure with a politician's firm handshake, is excited by a story playing in that day's Greek press that suggests the British Museum is willing to accept the possibility of a loan of its marbles to the new museum in Athens if Greece renounces ownership of them. Such a renunciation, he says, is unacceptable, but he still sees the offer as a constructive step. In the 1980s, when the film star Melina Mercouri was culture minister, the campaign for the return of the Elgin Marbles was based on tearful emotionalism; now, in the hands of professional politicians such as Samaras, it is about sharp-suited wheeler-dealing.
    Samaras says the Greek government would never accept such a precondition. "It would be tantamount to accepting that what Elgin did was right. It would be like legalising or sanctifying his deeds, and I don't think any Greek government would ever do that." He sees the suggestion as a tactic, designed to divert attention from the fact that the new museum has changed the terms of the debate. "The museum is creating huge momentum, a crescendo all over the world, including England, where public opinion favours the return of the marbles." But he also believes it may signal a change of mood in official circles in the UK. "It seems that, for the first time, the British are starting to see room for serious discussion."

  13. #43
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002


    Met Aims to Build Itself a Museum-Quality Plaza


    A rendering of the new plaza in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art,
    as envisioned by the Philadelphia design firm OLIN.

    [Rendering by OLIN via Bloomberg.]

    More than 40 years after its last makeover, the plaza in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is showing its age: the fountains are leaking, the sidewalk is crumbling, and the trees are dying. Overcrowding on the institution’s grand front steps — one of the most popular meeting places in Manhattan — often causes bottlenecks for visitors trying to get to the front door.

    Now an ambitious plan is in the works to transform this four-block-long stretch along Fifth Avenue, from 80th to 84th Street, into a more efficient, pleasing and environmentally friendly space, with new fountains, tree-shaded allées, seating areas, museum-run kiosks and softer, energy-efficient nighttime lighting.

    A meeting was held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday for officials from the Met to sit down with some 2,000 neighborhood residents to explain the project. If all goes as scheduled, and the institution receives approval from various city agencies — including the Public Design Commission, Landmarks Preservation Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Cultural Affairs and the Department of Transportation — construction will begin as early as this fall and is expected to be finished by the summer of 2014.

    “Our first priority is to create an appropriate entrance to the greatest encyclopedic museum in the world, one that is attractive and welcoming rather than austere and forbidding,” said Thomas P. Campbell, the Met’s director and chief executive. At the moment, he added, “the plaza is a frying pan in the summer and a wind tunnel in the winter.” The museum will stay open during construction, although parts of the sidewalk may be closed at times.

    OLIN, the Philadelphia landscape architecture and urban design firm behind the renewals of Bryant Park and Columbus Circle, has planned the project and will serve as its lead designer. David H. Koch, a Met trustee and the philanthropist who in 2008 pledged $100 million to renovate the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center — which was renamed for him — is providing $60 million to finance it. But the plaza will not be named after him.

    “It all began when I was invited to attend the restarting of the fountains on Lincoln Center’s plaza” in 2009, Mr. Koch said in a telephone interview. “When the water started shooting up and was so beautifully illuminated, it blew me away. That’s when I suddenly got the idea that it would be great if the Met did something similar with their crummy fountains.”

    He mentioned this to Emily K. Rafferty, the museum’s president, who told him that the institution had been thinking about a project like this for years but didn’t have the resources.

    Mr. Koch, a chemical engineer by training, said he was curious to see what could be done. Mr. Campbell recalled that when the museum started to investigate repairing its fountains, it “opened up a broad rethinking of the plaza as a whole.” One thing led to another, and the museum started a design competition.

    “OLIN’s design was as dramatic as anything I’d ever seen,” Mr. Koch said. “I fell in love with this project,” so much, he explained, that “I decided we should go for everything.”

    When the plaza was last redesigned, in 1968, attention was paid to vehicular access, leaving sidewalks wide enough for cars, but now, with the Met’s attendance having more than doubled and with it the amount of foot traffic around the plaza, the aim is to make the space more people-friendly. (Although, to be fair, most visitors even now are probably more impressed by the grandeur of the museum’s building and its entrance than bothered by the “austere and forbidding” nature of the plaza.)

    The plan calls for replacing the two long fountains that now flank the front steps with a pair of smaller square ones, made of granite, to be placed closer to the steps, thereby allowing clearer paths to the museum’s 81st and 83rd Street entrances, which are on street level and which many people don’t even know exist. Each fountain will be programmed by computer to provide a variety of water patterns during the warm months. In winter they will become reflecting pools, warmed by recycling steam to prevent freezing. Two sides of each fountain will serve as benches.

    The 44 ailing trees at either end of the plaza will be replaced with more than twice that number. There will be shaded allées of little-leaf linden trees to the north and south, clipped as topiaries, similarly to the trees at the Palais Royal in Paris. Outside the 81st and 83rd Street entrances, small groves of London plane trees will be planted to create paths that will guide visitors into the entrances. They will be pruned to maximize shade in the summer and sunlight in the winter. Together these plantings are also supposed to soften noise.

    Ornamental shrubs and herbaceous flowers will be placed along the base of the building on either side of the central staircase, resembling those seen in photographs of the museum taken in the early-to-mid 20th century.

    The new sidewalk will have two patterns of granite in shades of gray. In addition to the fountain seating, there will be permanent benches and red retractable parasols on the north and south parts of the plaza, as well as movable tables and chairs beneath the groves of trees.

    A pair of bronze kiosks are also part of the plan. One, near the 81st Street entrance, will provide visitors with information and expedited ticketing, and another, on 83rd Street, will sell light refreshments. The street vendors now in front of the museum will have designated places where they, too, can set up shop.

    Dennis McGlade, a landscape architect who is a partner at OLIN, said the firm had looked for inspiration to the Beaux-Arts architecture of the museum, including the central building designed by Richard Morris Hunt and Richard Howland Hunt, which opened in 1902, and the slightly newer wings on either side by McKim, Mead & White.

    “We studied the original McKim drawings and thought about this in a classical way,” Mr. McGlade explained. He and his partners also looked at other public places around Manhattan, including ones their firm had designed, like Bryant Park, Columbus Circle and the Fifth Avenue terrace in front of the New York Public Library.

    New LED lighting will make a striking difference in the plaza at night. The museum’s facade is currently illuminated by floodlights across the street, an approach that uses a great deal of power and makes for lighting that the architects describe as overly harsh. They will be replaced with energy-efficient lights mounted on the museum’s facade, as well as angled up-lights on the sidewalk. They will have dimmers and be programmed to enhance the architectural ornaments of the building.

    “Nothing gaudy,” Mr. Campbell said. “Just majestic.”

  14. #44
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Looks more like they want to build museum-financing eating space.

    The current long & low configuration of the fountains leaves the mass of the Met open and viewable, as the Fifth Avenue building has been since it was first built.

    Why hide it behind trees?

    Image ID: 805873

    The new façade of the Metropolitan Museum of Fifth Avenue, New York. (1901)

  15. #45
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    When the extensions were added the building was always kept visible ...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	MetMuseum_1920.jpg 
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    Image ID: 1508887

    Fifth Avenue - 80th Street, west side - looking north

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