the met breuer // diane arbus + more

You know those people who were saddened to learn the Whitney was moving from its 75th St location a few years back? Yeah, those. Well, I was one of them. It wasn’t so much that I wanted the Whitney to stay on the Upper East Side (though I must admit, it was conveniently close to our house...), as much as the fact I couldn’t imagine the Whitney being the Whitney without the Marcel Breuer building that had been its home for so many years.

That said, I’m so relieved the Breuer building was bought by the Met instead of having become some pretentious hotel. Plus, the contemporary art exhibits in the main Met location were always so miserable - at least now they no longer seems like afterthoughts.

My first experience at the newly opened Met Breuer is a wonderful one. Sure, it’s a little unsettling to walk into the lobby and see the Met’s branding all over when you’re expecting the Whitney’s. But hey, at least I can use my beloved Met membership card and get free admission.

The most publicized exhibit is currently Diane Arbus: In the Beginning, a retrospective featuring over one hundred of the photographer’s earliest works. Some of her pieces - including the famous one of the twins, and most of the other works included in Arbus’ Box of Ten Photographs - are familiar to me, whereas others are pleasant discoveries. I rather appreciate the woman’s fascination for all things abnormal, as well as for the pariahs of American society. Amongst the latter are a series of beautiful stills of those Arbus called “female impersonators,” which today go by the more colloquial appellation of “drag queens.”

The two floors above are dedicated to an exhibit called Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible. The latter is a great collection of works that have been left unfinished - whether intentionally or not. There’s a full room of barely started Turners, a few other big names, and a shit-ton of nice, extravagant frames (just the way I like ‘em).

If you, like me, can spend hours in art bookshops, I recommend you refrain from going up to the fifth floor. JOKES. Who are we kidding here? Unless you’re in a rush, there’s no excuse to miss spending a few minutes at the Phaidon bookstore. There’s even a Blue Bottle Coffee up there for your pricey, quality caffeine fix. When you can no longer stand the tourists, head to the lower level terrasse and pull out your copy of Russell Brand’s fantastic Revolution.

You Might Also Like