Met Breuer opens – with a knockout museum shop

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s long-awaited expansion

Image: Ed Lederman

New York’s iconic Marcel Breuer-designed building at 75th and Madison Avenue will be reborn on March 18 as The Met Breuer (first picture), The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s long-awaited modern and contemporary art-programme expansion – a project overseen by Met director and CEO Thomas Campbell alongside the museum’s chairman for modern and contemporary art Sheena Wagstaff, formerly of Tate Modern.

The celebratory three-day launch will include the opening of Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible, a major survey comprised of over 190 unfinished artworks from the Renaissance to the present day, including drawings, paintings and sketches by Titian, Rembrandt, Turner, Picasso (such as Carafe and Candlestick, second picture) Cézanne, Andy Warhol (such as Do It Yourself, Violin, third picture), Alice Neel (such as James Hunter Black Draftee, fourth picture), Jackson Pollock and Robert Rauschenberg. Some works were left incomplete because they were studies, some due to death, and others purposely left undone so as to draw the viewer into the process of completion.


Also on view will be an exhibition of Indian Modernist Nasreen Mohamedi’s abstract works (sponsored by philanthropist Nita Ambani and her Reliance Foundation) including paintings, drawings, photographs and diaries – accompanied by immersive live musical performances and sonic installations created by artist in residence Vijay Iyer.

For those wanting to take home a little of this visual glory, the museum store is world class, and will give special attention to limited-edition artworks for sale. At opening, these will include Vito Acconci’s 5th Ave Give & Take, 1999 ($2,500; edition of 50), Chuck Close’s eight-colour etching Lyle, 2000 ($8,500; edition of 60) and Helen Frankenthaler’s exquisite Sunshine After Rain, 1986 (edition of 67; $28,000). Aquatints include David Hockney’s Sunflowers II, 1995 ($14,500; edition of 80) and Donald Judd’s graphic black and white Untitled (S.#91), 1978-79 ($7,500; edition of 175), while lithographs include Ellsworth Kelly’s Oranges, 1965 ($10,500; edition of 75). Lovers of photography and photo manipulation will be drawn to Glenn Ligon’s photogravure Warm Broad Glow(Reversed) ($6,500; edition of 35) and Ezra Stoller’s beautiful images of the granite and concrete Breuer building from 1966 ($6,500-$10,000).

And lastly, what of the museum café, a gastro genre increasingly attracting top chefs to cultural outposts around the globe? It’s also a top-notch offering: summer sees the opening of Estela Breuer, from celebrated restaurateur Thomas Carter and chef Ignacio Mattos of Estela downtown.


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