Jan Van Eyck,   15th Century
By Donato

This past weekend found me at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s newest extension, the Met Breuer.  Housed in the old Whitney Museum, the ghosts of those curators and aesthetics from the previous tenant still haunt the halls and have heavily influenced this exhibit. Nearly half of the show is dedicated to modern works of art which are unfinished.  The problem with this is that much of contemporary art already appears unfinished in its final, presented state. The education offered to the observer on artistic decisions and process is very little when perusing these contemporary works when the end game is all about process.

Albrecht Durer   16th Century

I think the truly insightful revelations of this exhibit comes on the third floor where half of the show is dedicated to the strength of the Met’s collection, figurative, traditional realism. It is here that we see the artistic process jarringly and abruptly fractured.  Not fractured for shock value as intended in modern works, but fractured for unknown reasons, exposing the true internal works of the artistic mind.

It is akin to comparing the examination of a real human cadaver to that of looking at a model of one.  The awareness that you are observing a process truly interrupted adds validity and integrity to the experience that no lights and mirrors of modernism can duplicate.

If you are in New York over the coming months, I highly recommend this show as a pilgrimage stop.  The diversity of work presented and the various levels of completion offer a wonderfully pluralistic presentation of the artistic creative process.

The Met Breuer
75th and Madison
Closed Monday
Tuesday and Wednesday: 10 am–5:30 pm
Thursday and Friday: 10 am–9 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10 am–5:30 pm
Closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25, and January 1
Gustave Klimt, 20th Century
Edgar Degas, 19th Century

Lucien Freud, 20th Century

 Portrait of Michelangelo, Daniele Ricciarelli, 16th Century

Joshua Reynolds,  18th Century

George Romney, 18th Century

J.M.W. Turner, 19th Century