New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art gets massive upgrade
One wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is undergoing a monumental update that will transform its galleries into modern and bright exhibition halls for art from sub-Saharan Africa, ancient America and Oceania.
By 2024, visitors to the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing will discover a whole new way of seeing his art with more light, more space and reconfigured galleries.
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Art galleries in Sub-Saharan Africa (Galleries 350, 351, 352), Ancient American Art (Galleries 356, 357, 358) and Oceanic Art (Galleries 353, 354, 355) have already closed in anticipation of the Renovation project which has heavily features a new glass wall and skylights that will allow better and more natural lighting of the artwork and a modern white background.
The wing, which opened in 1982, was a “radical expansion of cultural achievements recognized by the museum,” the Met said. “Since then, we have witnessed a wave of transformative and broad-based art history studies into the broad areas of global art that these galleries embrace. These advances of the last thirty-eight years have in turn prompted an overhaul of this global crossroads within the museum. “
Developed over the past four years with wHY Architects, the new wing will showcase artifacts and artwork in a more modern way.
Upon opening, the African Art Gallery will reconfigure the collection, which spans nearly 3,000 works from across sub-Saharan Africa and two millennia, several hundred distinct cultures and 39 contemporary nation states, chronologically and geographically. with major landmarks leading visitors through eras and places through four main spaces divided into small chapels. It will be updated with films, audio guides and prompts to online content to make Africa’s artistic dynamism more visible.
Monumental stone carvings, spiritual-charged wooden and ceramic vessels, shimmering gold and shell badges and exquisitely woven textiles and feathers from Latin American artists will be featured in Central’s new galleries. Park lit by day and in special spaces with low light. New stories from experts across the country and Latin America will also be added.
The Met’s Oceanic Art Collection, which contains more than 2,800 works including monumental architecture, richly sculpted ancestral figures and spectacular ritual insignia like towering slit drums, spiritually charged reliquaries and dazzling tortoiseshell masks turtle, will be rearranged in a diagonal format and will focus on the local and indigenous knowledge. At either end of the spectacular high-ceiling space, there will be a sweeping installation of Asmat art to the north and the iconic Kwoma ceiling, lit by natural light, to the south. The museum will add digital and audio functionality to provide contemporary perspectives of the region to provide a more complete context and a chance to appreciate the works even more.
All galleries in the Rockefeller Wing are expected to reopen by 2024.