I've been seeing a lot of art lately, some of which I thought was pretty good, but for some reason I haven't felt like writing about it. When this happens, I go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to recharge.
|The Met's David Koch plaza and fountains have been under construction for a year now. What's up?|
including this touching painting (below) from a private collection. There's no information about the painting on the Met's otherwise abundantly informative website, not even a reproduction of the painting – so a photo that I took will have to suffice.
|Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi), The Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist, oil on canvas, early 1600s.|
Another new small installation is a grouping of three 1920's paintings that Matisse made when he lived in Nice. It's located in the Modern and Contemporary wing, gallery 917. I'm familiar with The Three O'Clock Sitting, but I don't remember seeing the other two before. For all I know they could have been hanging in various places at the Met for years, but seeing them together, and in their own space, made me notice them.
|From left to right: The Three O'Clock Sitting, 1924; Girl by a Window, 1921; and The Goldfish Bowl, Winter, 1921-22.|
Not too far from the Matisses are the contemporary galleries.
Why do museums so often install contemporary art in these over-bright, over-large, over-dramatic spaces? Wouldn't this work look more substantial, less flashy, in a space like gallery 919, the Clyfford Still Room (below)?
|Gallery 919, the Clyfford Still room (which BTW, looks less crowded and busy since they removed the David Smith sculpture from the middle of the room).|
In the stairwell going from the second to the first floor of the Contemporary and Modern wing (Gallery 903) is a bizarre Kiki Smith sculpture, a crouching female figure hanging upside-down on the wall. I noticed, for the first time, that as you pass by you look right in the disturbingly realistic eyes of the figure.
|Installation view, Kiki Smith, Lilith, 1994, bronze with glass eyes, 31 1/2 x 27 x 17 1/2 inches.|
Finally, the Chinese wing is closed for "infrastructure upgrades" until December. But it's worth visiting the hallway leading to the Chinese wing (Gallery 207) because they recently added to their collection of ancient Chinese bronzes that were on display there. (What is it that's so profoundly strange, and even a bit creepy, about ancient Chinese bronzes?)
|Ancient Chinese bronzes located just inside the hallway leading to the Chinese wing.|