The Metropolitan Museum of Art & The Met Breuer

The Metropolitan Museum of Art & The Met Breuer

September 4th, 2019:

I found The Met’s collection of modern and contemporary art and The Met Breuer’s exhibitions to be quite different from each other. Although The Met has been undergoing a process to diversify their collection of art so that it is not made up of solely white male artists, I found The Met Breuer’s exhibitions more engaging because of the incredibly diverse portfolio of artists and art mediums.

Phenomenal Nature

This exhibition made up of art by late Indian artist, Mrinalini Mukherjee was compelling to me because of Mukherjee’s use of fibers as a medium. Not only was her use of fiber as a medium modern, but also her interest in making feminist art. Mukherjee combined nature, feminism, and her Indian culture to create radical art. Personally, I liked the way she manipulated the fibers to create sculptures that allowed for a conversation about femininity, particularly in the Indian culture. Mukherjee’s ability to eroticize nature gives her work liveliness and emphasizes femininity. Although Mukherjee’s art was not well known to many people during her career, the late artist has been gaining more recognition because of her contemporary artistic practices.

Home is a Foreign Place: Recent Acquisitions in Context

This exhibition stood out to me because of its diverse collection of art from places such as Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. I have a strong interest in Latin American contemporary art because of my Latino heritage, but also because I believe it is important to address the fact that contemporary and modern art does not originate from a single place. The piece that stood out to me most was Coexistencia (Coexistence), a digital video by Donna Conlon. The artist films ants carrying symbols of peace and national flags as a comparison to human social structures. This piece was my favorite of the exhibition because it makes a strong political statement about the importance of coexistence to make peace, particularly during a time of war and conflict.

The work takes its title from a quote by the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru: “The only alternative to coexistence is codestruction.” (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Aranyani, 1996, Dyed hemp, 56 × 50 × 41 in (142 × 127 × 104 cm). Collection The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York © Mrinalini Mukherjee. Photo by Randhir Singh
Coexistencia (Coexistence), 2003, Single-channel digital video, color, sound, 5 min., 26 sec. Collection The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York © Donna Conlon.
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