With the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art comes changes in protocol and three major exhibitions
After nearly six months of being closed to the public, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will finally reopen Aug. 29.
Guests can expect changes. In addition to requirements for face coverings and social distancing, patrons will be required to purchase timed tickets and the museum will operate at 25% capacity, with reduced hours. Anticipating an uptick in visitors arriving by bicycle, the Met is also offering a complimentary bike valet service.
“This is one more way to make the museum accessible to visitors, as we know New Yorkers are eager to visit, and that many more are biking,” Kenneth Weine, vice president for external affairs at the Met, explained. “The bike valet will help make a visit to the Met that much easier.”
Before the museum closed, it was preparing to mount the exhibition “Making the Met, 1870–2020.” Billed as an institution-wide collaboration, the installation focuses on the museum’s 150-year history, charting pivotal moments and influential figures along the way.
Organized into 10 chronological sections, the anniversary exhibition opens in company with another major installation: “Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle.” Focused on the artist’s paintings of the American Revolution, the exhibition explores Lawrence’s “prescient visual reckoning with the nation’s complex history through iconic and folkloric narratives.”
“This exhibition celebrates one of the great modern artists through a stunning and important body of work,” Max Hollein, director of the Met, said in a statement. “Jacob Lawrence’s ‘Struggle’ series reflects on events in American history that were certainly poignant when they were created in the 1950s, and surely resonate today in the midst of the renewed national struggle and reckoning regarding racial justice and national identity.”
Also slated to be revealed Aug. 29 on the museum’s Cantor Roof Garden is Mexican artist Héctor Zamora’s commission, “Lattice Detour.” Backdropped by the city’s skyline and the verdant green of Central Park, the piece comprises a large terracotta brick wall that divides the space while allowing air and light to flow through the curved structure’s openings.
“Well known for his site-specific installations that re-articulate public spaces and the built environment, Zamora challenges and redirects our expectations of the Cantor Roof Garden as a social space, asking the visitor to navigate a barrier to the open view beyond the parapet,” Sheena Wagstaff, chairman for modern and contemporary art at the Met, said in a release about the piece.
“Constructed of bricks composed of Mexican earth, using local labor and traditional processes, Zamora’s lattice wall is a poetic metaphor writ large, and a critique of the social, political and economic considerations inherent in its making,” she continued.
Though the experience of waltzing through the city’s beloved cultural institutions may not be the same for a while, the reopening of the museum marks a major landmark for an industry shaken by the global pandemic and resulting economic fallout. (Earlier this year, the Met predicted $150 million in losses.)
“While much has changed at the Met and in the rest of our lives,” Hollein and Dan Weiss, the Met’s president and CEO, said in a joint message to visitors, “we hope you will find comfort in some of the things that have not changed: our world-class collection and wide-ranging exhibitions.”
Find more photos of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new exhibitions, set to open Aug. 29, below.
Top Image: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, days before reopening to the public. Photo: Maureen Coyle.