Met to Re-Open Galleries of American Paintings

image courtesy of the NYT

Mark your calendars!!

The Met’s four-year $100 million dollar renovation of their American Wing is about to reach completion. Many of those glorious paintings mounted on dreary pegboard in visible storage have been reinstalled in the new gallery, opening on January 16th.

Carol Vogel in the NYT reports:

Everything is now on one floor, and Mr. Heckscher [chairman of the American Wing], his curatorial team and the New York architects Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates gutted and reconfigured the space, adding 3,300 square feet and creating 26 galleries dedicated primarily to paintings and sculpture. The design is modern but not sterile, with either cove or vaulted ceilings and some skylighted spaces. Inspired by 19th-century Beaux-Arts proportions, the walls have simplified Classical cornices and dados, creating a sense of the grand, domestic proportions that were the original backdrop for many of these canvases decades ago.

The new galleries are organized both chronologically and thematically in a way that, as Mr. Heckscher explained it, “tells the story of American art and in the process American history.”

Can hardly wait to visit the Sargents in their new home!

If you’re interested in The Met’s many renovations, you should take the time to visit the Museum of the City of New York’s exhibition on the work of architect Kevin Roche (through Feb 5). He is not only a Pritzer Prize winner, but one of my personal favorites. Roche’s Ford Foundation Building is in my top 5 list of 20th century buildings.

But Roche is also responsible for three decades of expansion and renovation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. KRJD designed every expansion from the glass-fronted court for the Temple of Dendur to the controversial Robert Lehman wing. The MCNY exhibition has some fascinating diagrams of The Met’s various expansions and even if you think it’s become an unwieldy franken-seum (that’s a portmanteau of Frankestein and museum) seeing the building’s development is worth a visit.

 

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