Posts Tagged ‘The Met’

The Met

In Manhattan on February 27, 2009 at 11:16 am

The Met could a blog all to itself, so I am just going to touch on some basics that people may or may not know. The Met is located on 5th Ave at 83rd street and is a huge structure with one of the most amazing art collections in the world. It is so big that I am often very overwhelmed by the whole thing. But I’ve just discovered one very crucial detail that makes the Met manageable – it’s FREE (well there is a suggested donation, but for all intents and purposes it’s free). You can see the Egyptian section, you can see the sculpture garden, you can see the Impressionist room but you don’t have to see them all in one trip. Especially if you live on the Upper East Side, this is a great way to see one of the best art collections in the world without devoting a whole day to the endeavor. 


Don’t let this museum scare you away. It is so well worth it – and you can’t take a trip to NYC without stopping by. 


The Cloisters

In Manhattan on January 28, 2009 at 10:29 am

The Cloisters are an offshoot of the Met but ALL the way up in Northern Manhattan right near the Hudson river on 190th St. Unless you have a car (or a gentle soul who will drive you up there) it can take an hour and a half or more with all the trains, buses and walking you’ll have to do to get there. But once you get there, it is well worth it. The Met has built a reproduction of a Medieval Church in which to house their medieval art collection including altarpieces, crucifixes and other churchly adornment. I know that medieval art isn’t the first thing to do on every tourist’s list of New York City To Do’s but this museum makes it all worth it. And even if you aren’t as interested by the art and gilded painting, the view of the Hudson from way up there is well worth it. I can imagine 100 years ago or so when the upper east side was suburbia – one day we’re going to be saying the same thing about 190th St. and the Cloisters. They will no doubt be smack in the middle of things like Mount Sinai Hospital (at 101st St.) or Tribeca is now. 

Oceanside Museum of Art

In California on January 26, 2009 at 12:39 pm

The Oceanside Museum of Art is a small regional museum in Oceanside, California about 30 minutes north of downtown San Diego. It has just been entirely refurbished with a giant addition to the original Irving Gill building. I think they are still in the middle of a massive capital campaign. The museum generally shows regional exhibits of regional artists with several juried exhibitions every year. I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with their newly hired curator while I was in Oceanside and she has very forward views about making the museum more than just a regional California museum but really making it a destination in a part of the world where you can’t hardly go two feet without stumbling upon another museum. She seemed very clever and certainly seemed to know her stuff, so I would watch out for the upcoming OMA! While I was there, there was a show called Quilt Visions. Quilt Visions is a juried exhibition of the best fabric and textile arts in Southern California. There is quite a bit of innovation going on in the fabric arts (or, if nothing else, I’d not paid much attention to what was going on and so what surprised by how interested I was by it all. It is certainly not limited to Amish-style quilts). I believe that the museum aims to put on four to five shows per year. This is quite the feat considering that the museum staff is limited to five paid employees. I have ABSOLUTELY no idea how a museum (and a pretty decent one at that) can run with only five employees. Think of it: the Met has over 130 curators alone, not to mention the development, education, and administrative staff, assistants, building and grounds crew, etc. There must be around 1,000 individuals working to make the Met the great museum that it is. It’s not wonder that it moves so smoothly. I am excited for what the future has in store for this museum. And if nothing else it is worth a visit merely for the fact that it is about two blocks from one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve been to!

The Brooklyn Museum

In Brooklyn on January 18, 2009 at 12:02 am

I have been to New York City countless times in my life but I’d never been to the Brooklyn Museum before. Maybe there is something about crossing the East River that lends a bit of inertia or maybe it just doesn’t have as high a profile as the Met or MOMA. Whatever it is, the Brooklyn Museum deserves better, much much better.

I saw the Judy Chicago “Dinner Party” there and it was spectacular. I can’t say that the exhibit was designed particularly well (my friend and I circled about three times before we found the entrance and the educational materials) but the show and the Feminist Art Center was spectacular. It far exceeded my narrow-minded Manhattanite expectations.

In total it was wonderful. There were few people there, the exhibits were well curated and not too jam packed with information and the grounds are great. I have a special place in my heart for Brooklyn and now the Brooklyn Museum only solidifies that place. After we’d seen the Dinner Party we finished up with the Feminist wing and then saw a ridiculously huge exhibit by Gilbert + George. It was far and perhaps even good, if that sort of art suits your fancy. Otherwise I was a bit underwhelmed by the remaining special exhibitions. I hope to return again soon and spend more than an hour or two perusing the offerings.

The best part: $8 (suggested, ha!) entrance fee. Why go to the Met and pay a $20 (suggested) fee when you can go to Brooklyn, bypass the crowds and see some fabulous art.