Sunday, September 23, 2012

Notes on the NYC Metropolitan Museum of Art

The American Wing

In January 2012, the Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrated the completion of the third and final phase of the renovation of the new American Wing, a project that began in May 2009.  The Museum can present the extraordinary American collection in the clearest, most beautiful manner possible, showcasing many more treasures from the cast holdings of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts objects.

The area of sub-saharan West Africa that encompasses Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana has a long and complex history with gold.  Between about 1400 and 1900, the Akan peoples controlled lucrative gold mining and trading in the region.  In the 15th century, European navigators found this area so rich in gold that they named it the Gold Coast.  The Baule of Côte d’Ivoire, an Akan subgroup, continue to make gold jewelry today, and are noted for casting flat disc-shaped and rectangular beads, which are often quite elegant and abstract.

The renovated Greek and Roman galleries, with their expansive spaces and abundant natural light, allow curators to display the extraordinary collection to reflect the lived of the citizens of the Classical era.  More than 5,300 objects from a holdings of over 17,000, ranging from monumental sculptures to tiny engraved gemstones, organized by such themes as religion, funerary customs, civic life, and athletics. A walk through these galleries reveals Classical art in all its complexity and resonance, with McKim, Mead & White’s magnificent Beaux Arts designs providing a glorious backdrop against which the ancient world is richly illuminated.

The Museum’s collection of Ancient Egyptian art consists of approximately 26,000 objects of artistic, historical, and cultural importance, dating from the Paleolithic to the Roman period (ca. 300,000 B.C. – 4th century A.D.). Virtually the entire collection is on display in the Lila Acheson Wallace Galleries of Egyptian Art, with objects arranged chronologically over 39 rooms.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street)
Hours (Main Building)
Tuesday–Thursday: 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.*
Friday and Saturday: 9:30 a.m.–9:00 p.m.*
Sunday: 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.*
Closed Monday (except Holiday Mondays), Thanksgiving Day, December 25, and January 1
Saturday evenings are made possible by the William H. Kearns Foundation.
*Galleries are cleared fifteen minutes before closing.

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