No trip to New York is complete without a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET). Aside from being one of the world’s largest art galleries – with a permanent collection of more than 2-million works – the museum is set on the edge of the city’s famed Central Park making it the ideal pre or post stroll destination.
Since 1975 – the year the expansive 154 foot wide front steps were built – the entry to the museum has become a destination in itself. New Yorkers use it as a meeting space and in August of 2011, fashion fans gathered here for upwards of 5 hours hoping to get a glimpse of the McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibit. No matter what day of the week, the Met is a bustle of energy and excitement.
Opening its doors in 1872, the Met was originally located at 681 5th Avenue but a series of expansions over the years extended it almost 400 meters in length. Originally built as a High Victorian Gothic style red-brick and stone mausoleum, the building received great criticism sparking a redesign that took nearly 20 years with contributions by Richard Morris Hunt, Richard Howland Hunt, McKim, Mead & White and Roche-Dinkeloo. The 2-million square foot space carries works of art from classical antiquity and ancient Egypt, African, Asian, Oceanic, Byzantine, and Islamic art, an extensive collection of American and modern art along with paintings and sculptures from nearly all the European masters.
Notable works from the permanent collection include:
The Costume Institute
Housed within the MET is The Costume Institute, a collection of over thirty-five thousand costumes and accessories from around the world. Founded by costume designer, Aline Bernstein and Irene Lewisohn, the space has carried pieces from famous designers such as Cristóbal Balenciaga, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Gianni Versace and most notably Alexander McQueen. Each year the Institute holds a benefit gala co-chaired by Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour which is one of the biggest fashion events of the year and draws hundreds of designers, models and celebrities.
This summer, the MET has a roster of exciting exhibits including:
Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations
The latest installment at the Costume Institute explores the striking similarities between wartime designer Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada, namesake designer behind fashion houses Prada and Miu Miu. Inspired by Miguel Covarrubias’s “Impossible Interviews” for Vanity Fair in the 1930s, the exhibition features a series of pieces from each designer’s repertoire accompanied by Baz Luhrmann directed videos of the women discussing similar themes in their work despite different approaches. Running from May 10–August 19, 2012
Ellsworth Kelly Plant Drawings
Best known for his abstract paintings, American artist, Ellsworth Kelly also created a large series of figurative drawings over the last six decades. This is the first major museum exhibit that will showcase close to 80 works beginning in 1948 when Kelly was living in Paris to recent work made in upstate New York. Running from June 5–September 3, 2012
Tomás Saraceno on the Roof: Cloud City
While you’re taking in the amazing view from the rooftop garden, check out Tomás Saraceno’s installation Cloud City. Made with a collection of transparent and reflective materials, the series of geometric modules are stacked on top of one another allowing visitors to walk up and through the piece. Saraceno describes the work as a way of expanding the ways in which we inhabit and experience our environment. Running from May 15, 2012–Through November 4, 2012 (weather permitting)
For more information on the MET or to plan your visit, go to: www.metmuseum.org