This week at the Met

This is another special post on the interesting free lectures and gallery talks at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Quite a number of interesting events this week as well, so make sure to visit if any topic catches your fancy.

There is a gallery talk titled “Medicine at the Metropolitan Museum-Egypt”, centering around the ancient Egyptian artifacts in collection of the museum and their uses and significance within ancient Egyptian medicine-culture. Since such ancient cultures usually give no specific distinction between the science of medicine, religious rituals, and philosophy/belief system, I suspect that this talk will cover a range of broad topics pertaining to all aspects of ancient Egyptian culture in general. The time is at eleven A.M. at the gallery talk stanchion in the Great Hall.

Another interesting event, this one a concert, at the Met on the same day. The official description of the event is as follows.

The viola d’amore is an unusual stringed instrument that most often has several sympathetic, or resonating strings underneath six or seven playing strings. But what does love have to do with—of all instruments—the viola? Between performances of baroque masterpieces for one and two viola d’amores, we will attempt to answer that question.

We will also have a rare opportunity to hear three of the Metropolitan Museum’s most beautiful eighteenth-century instruments, played by Paul Miller and Thomas Georgi, with Lucas Harris (theorbo) and Kate Bennett Haynes (‘cello).

The time is at three thirty P.M. I am definitely making some time to attend this one!

On Thursday, May 15th, another interesting gallery talk titled “A Sense of Place in American Modernism.” It will be an exploration of the American modernism and their stylistic formula in depicting/utilizing the concept of locale within their works. The time is at eleven A.M., at the gallery talk stanchion in the Great Hall.

On Friday, May 14th, there is a gallery talk titled  “Sir Anthony van Dyck: Court Painter to Charles I.” The title pretty much says everything. I am interested in some of the more classical paintings, so I think I’ll visit this one if I get the time. The time is at seven P.M., at the gallery talk stanchion in the Great Hall.

On Saturday, May 15th, a really interesting event regarding forms and functions of masks in African, Native American, and Precolumbian arts and cultures. I’ve always been fascinated by masks and their place within human history, an interest I gained while studying C.G. Jung a long time ago. I find that the logic and philosophy behind the concept and idea of masks are applicable even within the modern times, and they form ever present cultural presence underlying the general zeitgeist of any era in human history.

I certainly thank the museum for making such educational opportunities available for free. If only I could get some more free time…


Great things at the Met

I have been crazy busy lately, preparing papers for my discipline of choice (physics), brushing up on my synthetic biology, and catching up on some art related reading materials, centered around Jasper Johns. Will they all condense into some masterful singular post? Maybe… Maybe not. Regardless, I’ve been rather enjoying my new-ish vigorous lifestyle. All the intellectual stimulation really makes me feel alive!

Today I’m just going to make a note on some events at my favorite place in the NYC, the Met. As I am perpetually broke just like so many other students of science, all the events are free with museum admission. And as everyone who spent their teenage years in the city knows, the admission fee to the museum is negotiable. I’d suggest at least paying around five dollars though. Just to be polite.

Among the many things going on at the museum this week, I am particularly looking forward to the guided tour on Tuesday. Titled “A treasure hunt for book lovers”, they would guide me through the various galleries of the museum ranging from Mesopotamian to European while tracing the history and nature of books through the collections at the museum. As you might have guessed from the blog title and my alias, I am something of a bookworm, a bibliophile-in-training, so to speak. I’ve read them all, from Latin codex to Asiatic scrolls and ebooks… Though I lack the expertise to read the old tablets of ancient Middle Eastern origins, something I would mend soon enough. I am not particularly good with languages, but I’m still very fond of them. Beautiful phrases and imaginative stories hold certain profound depths and aesthetics that might as well be linked with the fundamental nature of mind and even the universe itself, I think. The time is at eleven in the morning, at the gallery talk stanchion in the Great Hall. This is at Tuesday folks!

On Friday, there will be a gallery talk about Gustave Courbet and his works at the Tisch galleries on the second floor of the museum. That’s where they are holding the special Gustave Courbet exhibits. While his works might not appeal as much to trained eyes of the modern popular culture, they still retain certain flair unique to the artist. The adventurous, and yet tragecomedic life of the artist himself lends certain spice to what might be a dull showing to some modern audience. The time will be seven in the evening.

The next gallery talk I am interested in is titled “A Closer look: Agnolo Bronzino’s Portrait of a Young Man.” The artist is from the 16th century, so this is not a modern exhibition. I was always fascinated by the refreshing and ingenious workmanship present in many of the Renaissance paintings, so this is a good chance to finally learn something of the era and one of its more prominent artists. The time is at seven in the evening, at the gallery talk stanchion in the Great hall.

The last, but not least, this event is series of professional lecture on Gustave Courbet’s work in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium on the first floor, starting at two in the afternoon. The topics range from the significance of the female dress in Courbet’s art, to the artist’s relation to the modern art. These fully featured lectures are also free with admission, so anyone interested should partake.

A lot of leisure activities this week. The real question is whether I would be able to make the time to get to those events… Since skipping my own lectures are out of the question, I’m in something of a tight spot. The fact that I am in position to need to study a discipline of science outside my own doesn’t really help things either. Of course, I do them because I enjoy them, so there’s no regret. I’m just hoping that I can get some free time this week…

Arts and sciences being separate from birth is an illusion dreamed up by the modern era. When will the world learn?

News from the Met

I copied this one from my other blog, since I think this is important enough to be heard around the net, especially Met going students like me.

I spent almost half the day browsing through the fine collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. One surprising change in museum policy new visitors should be aware of is that back packs are no longer allowed within museum galleries (since the whole museum is one giant gallery, this means no back pack allowed within the museum for all practical purposes). This caught me completely by surprise and I asked quite a few security guards regarding the specifics of the policy. Some of them were almost as surprised as I was, stating that backpacks were allowed as long as it wasn’t excessively large and in danger of toppling displays, while some others were wholly aggressive in telling backpacking visitors to hold their bags in their hands. Of course, all of them were very polite and cordial about the whole affair, and I dare say some of them actually showed genuine concern at forcing some people to carry their (obviously heavy) backpacks in their hands.

I was somewhat confused for a while regarding the precise policy with bags within the museum though, and the fifty people I’ve seen walking around with backpacks didn’t really help clarify the matter. I talked with one particular security guard at length about the issue, and he told me that some person with a backpack scratched a Rembrandt, a priceless artifact for the human civilization if I say so myself (although I can’t validate the truth of what he said, I do feel that there were certain grim accidents within the museum in recent days). So I must tell anyone thinking of visiting the Met to try not to bring a backpack into the place, or else check it in at the coat check-in, where they will be happy to hold onto your heavy coat and bag for you, free of charge. If a security guard asks you to hold your bag instead of wearing it, please don’t feel insulted, as you are not being singled out. The works in the Met aren’t pretty display pieces that can be restored or replaced when misfortune befalls them. They are singular heritage gathered over the course of human history, and we all should take a part in conserving them for future generations. In front of such an importance, mere discomfort at not being able to bring certain types of bag into the museum should not be a reason to threaten the priceless works of art.