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Three New Exhibitions at the Met

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This Spring, New York’s venerable institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is offering us an array of goodies – in addition to Schaparelli/Prada — to suit a variety of tastes.

Cloud City: Tomas Saraceno on the Roof. For those eager to enjoy the Met’s panoramic rooftop views of Central Park and New York City — always a great hit with visiting friends and family — we have another site-specific work, part architecture part-art object.

Cloud City opened to the press on, yes, a cloudy day. Two years in the making, it is one of a series by Tomas Saraceno, which he calls, Cloud Cities/Air Port City, and though grounded by steel cables, it looks like it could float off at any time. The 54 foot long Habitat-like structure links 16 see-through, multipolygonal modules and invites visitors to climb and take a dizzying stroll inside, a walk that provides breathtaking vistas of the park and city as well as confusing and disorienting experiences within. What is up? What is down? Distortions, reflections, inside and out, abound.

Saraceno, the Argentinean artist, who lives and works in Germany, was on hand for the unveiling, as were Tom Campbell, Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Anne L. Strauss, Associate Curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Saraceno, inspired by multiple phenomena from clouds and bubbles to bacteria and universes, sees his work as both a visionary model for living as well as an invitation to interact with others in alternative ways. You can decide in what way it inspires you.

Weather permitting, visitors will be able to access the structure for up to 20 minutes by obtaining timed-entry tickets, free with Museum admission. Wear rubber-soled shoes and avoid skirts. Full guidelines are posted on www.metmuseum.org/saraceno

Bellini, Titian, and Lotto. Tucked away in a single gallery on the Met’s second floor are 15 masterpieces of Northern Italian Painting (Bellini, Titian and Lotto) on loan from the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo, an Italian museum northeast of Milan. The artists were working in northern Italy between 1450 and 1550. They incorporate the color and brilliant style of the Venetians with the more naturalistic manner native to Lombardy. Two of my favorites are Lotto’s Portrait of the bejeweled Lucina Brembati as well as Moroni’s Portrait of a Little Girl of the Redetti Family.

The Printed Image in China. Finally, moving to a different Continent, there is The Printed Image in China, a sweeping overview of more than 130 works from the 8th to the 21st Century, on loan from the British Museum. In New York, the Exhibition was curated by Maxwell K. Hearn, Douglas Dillon Curator in charge of the Metropolitan Museum’s Department of Asian Art. Works on view begin with woodblock prints discovered in a Buddhist cave on the Silk Road, include the earliest example of multiple block color printing, as well as anti-war images from the Modern Woodcut Movement and exquisite contemporary prints. It’s a large, rich show full of universal themes and visual marvels.

Printing on paper is said to have been invented in China around 700 A.D. , which means that China is the country with the longest printing history in the world. The exhibition is organized in chronological order and, in addition to reflecting the history of China – from Buddhism to the Cultural Revolution and beyond — demonstrates the interaction of East and West – from the Jesuits to Kathe Kollwitz — along the way.

Photos by Eleanor Foa Dienstag

Cloud City: Tomas Saraceno on the Roof: May 15 – November 4th

Bellini, Titian, and Lotto: May 15 – September 3rd

The Printed Image in China: May 5th – July 29th

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